Would you work for your school? Elizabethtown College graduate Megan Bell ’14 currently works as a study abroad advisor at the Etown Study Abroad Office.
While at Etown, Bell majored in corporate communications with a minor in professional writing. She swam on the swim team all four years and was a captain her senior year. Currently, she is an assistant swim coach for the team.
Bell also had a variety of jobs while at Etown. She was a student intern for the Office of Marketing and Communications and a student assistant for the communications department.
Bell was involved in clubs and student activities, as well. She was a marketing coordinator for Into the Streets and helped with Scouting University, which was an event when boy scouts and girl scouts in the Elizabethtown area visited the College.
Bell likes all the Etown traditions, such as the Thanksgiving dinner, tree lighting ceremony and the marshmallow game against Messiah College. She especially enjoys the Thank Goodness It’s Spring (TGIS) event.
Bell met her husband at her senior TGIS. She was the publicity chairperson for Relay for Life that year. She belonged to the Colleges against Cancer club and participated in Relay for Life each year.
Her husband’s company worked on the sound system for Relay for Life, and she met him for the first time. They officially met again about a month later at T.J. Rockwell’s during TGIS and started dating soon after that. Her husband proposed at Rockwell’s, as well.
“I’m a little partial to TGIS now and Rockwell’s,” Bell said.
After graduation, Bell worked as a smallwares content writer for the WebstaurantStore, which is associated with Clarks Associates and based out of Lititz, Pennsylvania. She wrote web content about plates, napkins, cups and other products for nine months.
Bell was not looking for a new job, but noticed that Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA) Study Abroad had an opening for an admissions counselor at Etown. Bell applied and got the job.
She wanted to work with prospective students. The job also included some marketing, such as running a Facebook campaign.
“It combined a lot of my interests,” Bell said.
After almost two years as an admissions counselor, Bell transitioned from that job to her new position as a study abroad advisor. She started the new job shortly after the Fourth of July holiday.
“This is my school. Would I want to work for Etown and exclusively work with Etown students and help them go abroad?” Bell remembered thinking before she took the job.
While working for BCA Study Abroad, Bell had worked closely with former study abroad director Sabina Post, so it was a smooth transition. Bell’s first task was moving the Study Abroad Office from the Baugher Student Center (BSC) to Nicarry 117.
“It was interesting because I got to go through everything that was in the office, but it was also exciting because I got to make the space my own. It’s not like I’m walking into someone else’s office.”
Bell has decorated the office with travel-themed objects, such as a scarf she bought at a football (soccer) game while studying abroad in Cheltenham, England for a semester her junior year at Etown.
Next to the scarf are her Etown graduation sash with the British flag on it, the Ecuadorian flag and a scarf from Mexico. Bell also plans to hang up a world map, so that she can put pushpins where Etown students are currently studying abroad to have a visual representation of where students are.
Bell has also helped launch a new website for the Study Abroad office. Now, students can make appointments with her through the website.
She is available from 2 to 4 p.m. every weekday. The meetings are for 15 minutes each.
“This had proven to be really helpful. Students can just push a button,” Bell said.
There are also new Study Abroad 101 sessions Mondays at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at noon.
The sessions started Oct. 30 and will run until the last week of classes. They are designed to provide interested students with the basics about study abroad.
They cover the steps of study abroad, the difference between affiliated and nonaffiliated programs and common myths of study abroad, such as not being able to graduate on time. Three student assistants work with Bell and share their experiences from studying abroad. They also lead the sessions.
Bell also wants to increase the Study Abroad Office’s presence online and on campus, so that more students are aware that study abroad is an option. She shares Etown students’ stories, and their adventures and experiences on Facebook and Instagram.
Her goal is to excite students about study abroad and then work with them on the logistics of how to make it happen.
“We want to better paint the picture of what study abroad is and what it could look like for prospective students,” Bell said.