Amanda Jayska Alumni Blog

Amanda Jayska Alumni Blog

College may seem like what happens after high school, but it's also what happens at the  beginning of a career.  Northern alumni share their stories in a monthly series of blogs. Click here to view previous alumni bloggers.

Amanda's Alumni Blog

Amanda JayskaAmanda Jayska graduated in '05 with a MA in Political Science, and '03 with a BS Public Relations. She is married to Joshua Cross '05 BS Math/Secondary Ed. and Phys Ed./Secondary Ed.


If you had to do college over again, what would you make sure you did the same and what would you do differently?  Some things I would do the same would continue to get involved with activities at the beginning. I joined WUPX from the start and I met some wonderful friends who I still continue to talk to throughout the years. Also, playing in intramurals and getting involved in Hall activities allowed me to meet many people throughout campus.  Some things that I would do differently is travel more and potentially do a study abroad. I wish I would have been able to see other places of the world prior to starting work and life full-time.


When you tell people that you graduated from (or are attending) NMU, did they know anything about Northern?  When I was in Florida, a lot of people first didn’t know there was an “Upper” Michigan. I would show them where it was on a map and talk about how beautiful it was there year-round and then I would get, “doesn’t it snow a lot there?” – of course it does, but that’s the best part!!! With my move back to the Midwest, people have stories all the time of NMU grads or knowing someone else who went there and I even see NMU gear places I go.


If you had to pick a college again, would you pick Northern? Why or why not? NMU was great. I loved every moment of it. I am so fortunate for my opportunities I had at NMU. Marquette is a great town and I enjoyed it year round.


What is your best college memory and why? It would have to be meeting my best friends and my future husband.


Did you end up working in the field of your major/minor? If not, did not majoring in your professional field hinder you in any way?Indirectly I did. After my Bachelors, I stayed at Northern to do my MA in with a focus on public and financial administration. I ended up working in finance for governments and I love it!


How did you get into your professional field?When I was finishing up my MA, I applied and was accepted into Miami-Dade County’s Management Trainee internship program through the Office of the County Manager. This one-year executive program allowed me to work in several departments throughout the County at the Administrator’s level to gain extensive management experience in urban County government. I worked in several County departments, including Communications, Animal Services and General Services Administration, gaining experiences of media, standard operating procedures, assisting in the establishment of the County’s green building programs, implementation of fleet management programs, developing communication plans for emergency situations and the establishment of procedures for a new department. I found my niche when I went to the Office of Management and Budget and assisted with the development and financial management of departmental budgets. I stayed there for five years before moving into my current position with the Federal Government as a Budget Officer.

What skills are needed to do what you do? An accounting and financial background is really helpful for my work, but also having strong communications skills is vital as you work with a realm of people throughout the organization. Understanding how to communicate with different levels of people who might not understand finance as well as you is very important to get your job done.


What do you like/dislike about your job? Finance and budgeting requires long hours, especially during close out of fiscal years and preparations for new fiscal years. This can become a toll personally as well as professionally; so you need to be strong and know that there is always light at the end of the tunnel (and it always helps to have very supportive friends and family members)


How did you decide on your major/minor? I originally went to NMU as a pre-medicine major with a minor in public relations. I thought a doctor who knew how to communicate with people was something the world needed J But after my first class in communications and from working at WUPX, I fell in love with PR and changed to PR and business administration. After my undergrad, I stayed at Northern for my MA.

Does a degree from NMU compare equally to a degree from other schools? The smaller class sizes and availability of professors at any time, really allowed me a better education and more opportunities for additional assistance.

Do you have any advice on what’s important to keep in mind when choosing a

university? Choose a university that you feel connected to and comfortable. Just because all your friends go somewhere, it does not mean it is the place for you. A university with the educational environment and locality with those things you like to do will make you a happy person! This is the time in your life where you make a decision for you and no one else.