Maria Storaci is a student at Stockton University who is working while pursuing her degree! She is a Career Ambassador for Stockton University, helping other students find their place in the working world.
Stockton is a public university in New Jersey, one hour from Philadelphia. “As a public university, Stockton provides an environment for excellence to a diverse student body, including those from underrepresented populations, through an interdisciplinary approach to liberal arts, sciences and professional education. Founded in 1969, Stockton held its first classes in 1971. The University’s commitment to cultural diversity and its welcoming and vibrant community makes Stockton a great place to learn and work!”
Campus Philly got to talk to Maria about her experience finding her major and discovering her path, and how other students can get involved on their campuses to find their own passions, too.
It’s great to talk with you! To start, tell us a little bit about yourself: What do you do outside of the classroom? What are some of your favorite things to do?
Outside of the classroom, I love hanging out with my friends and going on fun adventures with them—checking out flea markets around my college town, or finding cool places to explore and take pictures. Some of my other hobbies include reading, shopping, and doing fun arts and crafts with my friends, like making thread bracelets or making coasters for our apartment!
What has been your favorite part of going to Stockton?
Honestly, I love how interconnected the community at Stockton is, and how we support one another when it comes to pursuing our prospective careers, or trying to make a difference within our community.
We support and have so much pride for one another, it’s crazy—people remember one another because the school is on a smaller scale. Plus, you see each other thriving on LinkedIn! Stockton actually gives shout-outs to students, and it’s not just an accomplishment for the individual, but everyone at Stockton—which I think is beautiful.
Tell us about your major! What kinds of things have you learned that you think have been important?
I am a Communication Studies major with a concentration in Public Relations & Advertising at Stockton, and I have learned so much within my four years that it’s hard to narrow down one important lesson.
But I think that something I really want to highlight, that not just applies to my major but to any student, is you can practice as many concepts as you can in class or read the lessons in your textbook, but nothing can replace experience.
I learned the most about Public Relations by going after internships that would push me and challenge me, and I’m so grateful I did because some lessons just cannot be learned in a classroom.
I’d encourage other students to really push themselves to try to get as much experience that you can manage while you’re in school—it will give you an edge when applying for jobs within your career later on. I have shocked so many employers with the amount of experience I have within my field and I haven’t even graduated yet!
What kind of extracurriculars have you been involved in? How have they shaped your college and professional experience?
In my time at Stockton, I’ve been in the Stockton Honors Program, the National Society of Leadership and Success, a member of Alpha Zeta Rho Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the Public Relations Chairperson of Stockton’s Student Senate, and this year for my senior year, I became the Secretary of Stockton’s Public Relations Student Society of America organization.
I have learned and met so many amazing people through these organizations that are eager and so passionate about their careers, which I think has felt like I’m around like-minded individuals who want to thrive as much as me; we encourage each other to reach for the stars professionally, which is something I really needed when I came to college.
I feel like I’ve helped the most people in PRSSA, and I love being able to give career advice or help people better understand PR and the different career avenues that you can explore within your degree.
Do you have any advice for students thinking about which major and extracurriculars to pursue?
One thing that I want to advise: don’t pick a major because of the potential big salary, and don’t pick extracurriculars that you think would look good on a resume. Instead, be true to your own passion and interests.
I came into Stockton as a political science major with a concentration in pre-law, thinking I wanted to be a lawyer, but in reality I didn’t like it and I was just doing that because that’s what I thought I had to do in order to be considered successful.
Stay true to who you are and what you’re interested in, because that is more valuable. You’re going to have a genuine, great time at college if you just follow your heart—instead of listening to what your family, friends, or society wants you to do (within reason, of course).
What other advice do you have for other students?
My piece of advice would be to advocate for yourself and to take advantage of the different opportunities around campus, such as clubs or offices on campus, that can help you with career or school development.
I researched and obtained all my internships by utilizing Stockton’s job board, HandShake, and when I got interviews I told my prospective employers why I was the perfect fit for the position. I didn’t stay quiet and hope they picked me—I told them what my skill-set was and how I can go above and beyond the job requirements and descriptions of the position.
You have to fight for what you want—no one else is going to do it for you.