Qualities worth pursuing

February 16, 2015

by Melissa Smith, class of 2003

It’s the most frequently asked question of college seniors: What are you going to do after you graduate? Some seniors are secure in their answer, while others fumble for a response that will satisfy the question without giving away their personal uncertainty. Still others just wish someone would give them a crystal ball to see the future. For NNU students in each of these categories, there’s good news! Regardless of the degree title on your diploma, your class ranking, or even the type of job you land (and there will be jobs landed), employers like what they see from NNU graduates.

The main attributes that top the list of what employers truly value and how NNU graduates deliver are experience, ethics and attitude, and passion.


Industry-specific experience is key. It’s not enough to have a degree; graduates must also possess portfolios, products or recorded hours to prove they can produce the desired outcomes a position requires.

Phil Balisciano, interactive producer at Curious Media, a design agency that creates educational games and websites for clients such as Disney and PBS Kids, shares: “The top quality we look for in a candidate is a portfolio that shows they really care about what they produce—everything from the presentation and format of the portfolio to the pieces themselves.”

Having worked with NNU graduates both as interns and employees of Curious Media, Balisciano believes NNU’s student portfolios are of a quality worth pursuing.

It’s not just NNU’s graphic design students that are leaving college prepared—nursing and social work majors clock hundreds of clinical and field hours, music performance majors present personal junior and senior recitals, business majors produce a business plan and hold multiple internships, education majors spend a full year student teaching, and mass communication majors produce a portfolio of films.

Ethics & attitude

Integrity is a rare and valued trait in employees. Some employers say it’s the first quality they look for in a potential candidate, while others have seen it so infrequently in their employees they’re pleasantly surprised to encounter it in an NNU graduate.

the NNU students I've met exert a unique degree of honesty, integrity and friendliness
Tim Rosandick, superintendent of schools for the Caldwell (Idaho) School District, says, “Graduates from NNU tend to have personal values that align with the professional values they will have to teach in the classroom, making it much easier to do their job.” He also stresses the importance of employees’ having encouraging interactions with their colleagues, indicating those can be the make-or-break factor in career longevity.

Employees who treat others with respect and have a positive attitude make it easy and desirable to work with them. Balisciano says the NNU students he’s met “exert a unique degree of honesty, integrity and friendliness. These traits make it far easier to hire and work with an individual on a daily basis.”

Observations such as these make us proud of our alumni—proud of the choices they make and the spirit in which they make them. They’re living out the mission of the university wherever they serve.


People who love what they do make great employees. “There are employees who truly care about the work they do, and it shows,” says Balisciano.

“We really don’t want to just be a day job. The type of content we produce really calls for a lot of love and passion of the craft.” And an employee’s love for her or his work doesn’t just help the business; “we want to be a place that 

allows people to flourish creatively or technically,” something that can easily happen when you’re pursuing a passion.

NNU’s liberal arts education creates an environment of exploration and discovery, an atmosphere that encourages students to find their passion, even if it requires five changes of major in the process. With professors in every department who are passionate about their field, students often find themselves excited about subjects they never would have thought twice about.

So for all the seniors (and their parents) who are worried about what is next, rest assured that every class, every group project, every chapel service, every failure and every success at NNU contributes to developing people with the confidence, skills, talents and integrity needed to thrive in their passions and vocations.

Photo caption: James Synder (’10) is one of the NNU alums 
making an impression at Curious Media.