Attending and Working at a University Simultaneously: Annika Bruce ’23

At times it seems intimidating figuring out what you will do career-wise after Denison. Typically you will work a job after college that you didn’t expect to work when you had first started college. Annika Bruce studied educational studies and English (writing) at Denison. After graduating in May of 2023 she moved close to home to work in education and to continue her own education. 

Annika currently works at Marshall University as a College Access Advisor at the Heart of Appalachia Talent Search (HATS) Program: A TRIO Program. Annika doesn’t just work at Marshall University, she also is enrolled in their Master’s in English program. Annika can continue her education while working making it easier to stay in contact with her professors and to not have to deal with a long commute from work to class. 

“I work with the HATS Program where I serve first-generation and low-income middle and high school students in Mason and Wayne County, WV. I visit around six schools monthly to teach about career exploration and college preparation,” Annika said about the work that she does. She is able to stay connected with her community from home and give back. 

The job Annika has now is not what she expected to have when she first started classes at Denison. “I thought I was going to be a teacher or an education policy analyst,” she said. What changed Annika’s mind was the work she did as an educational studies major. Annika was a student worker for the Education Department. She always enjoyed helping Denison students plan their course schedules. When she found out about the job at Marshall University, she knew she would do well. “I’ve always had a passion for Appalachia and helping students. My job is a fantastic fit for me,” Annika said about her current job with the HATS program. 

For current students at Denison, Annika’s advice deals with following your dreams and taking risks, “I advise students to dream bigger and have more confidence in their abilities. I would also tell students to take courses that they are interested in, even if the courses seem difficult. I was worried about hurting my GPA while at Denison but, looking back, I wish I would’ve taken those courses,” she said. Annika believed in herself and now is working towards furthering her education while working a job that she loves by helping other students.

By Sarah Wuellner
Sarah Wuellner Peer Career Fellow: Social Impact, Education and Government