Newest Personal Resource for Students
Paul Jensen is the new aid for students in the J-MC School. But he is not there for financial, legal or educational aid. He is there for occupational aid as the new Internship and Assessment Coordinator. The goal of this position is to serve as a guide for students by helping them prepare for the working world.
Whether it is helping students find an internship or a job, Jensen will help students in multiple ways. He has all the experience needed to make this once-dispersed-among-many role into a clear, concise position under the direction of one person.
Jensen explained that his role is to “help students network and become aware of internship and job opportunities.” He helps guide them with résumés, cover letters and helps them market themselves to potential employers.
A long-time photographer for The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jensen left in June 2009, wanting to embark on something new. He mentioned this job opportunity at Iowa sounded enticing, an opportunity he came across in a newspaper ad – in The Gazette.
“During my time at The Gazette, I had gone through about 85 interns, so I knew the connection would be there. I took pride in my interns,” Jensen said.
Currently, he partners with Amy A’Hearn, a graduate of the J-MC School (B.A. 2001), from the Career Center to learn about career opportunities for students.
“I’m like a coach, ‘cause I can’t score the basket or dribble the ball for [students], but I can help them with the right tools to get there,” Jensen said.
But Jensen wasn’t always interested in photojournalism and helping students get internships. As a child, he wanted to be an engineer. It wasn’t until high school and college at The University of Missouri - Columbia, that he gained a heavy influence in photojournalism.
During his spring break senior year at UM, Jensen visited a friend at The Gazette, who introduced him to the photo editor. Finding his niche and determined to find a job before graduation, he returned with his portfolio to show the editor. To his disappointment, he was only offered an internship and had to promise to stay all summer.
“I agreed. Of course, I was offered a job at another paper my first week [at The Gazette], but I turned it down because I kept my word,” Jensen said, laughing at himself and adjusting his glasses.
And so began his longtime career at The Gazette.
After sticking it out for the summer, a series of opportunities came his way, and working his way up, he reached the top; director of the photography department.
Perhaps his most esteemed accomplishment was a book he collaborated on with The Gazette — Epic Surge: Eastern Iowa’s Unstoppable Flood of 2008. $100,000 of the book’s revenues were donated to flood relief charities.
Photos from his team were also part of the exhibition The Year of the River: Flood Photography from The Gazette, at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, which drew in the second biggest crowd there ever (only behind Grant Wood’s American Gothic). Jensen even submitted the book project to the Pulitzer Committee.
“I take a lot of pride in what we did. I had a great team,” he said.
Jensen said that when leaving The Gazette, “it was great to have a feeling of accomplishment.”
He has also freelanced for Sports Illustrated, TIME, The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune.
While Jensen’s position is still being developed and is only part-time, he has many goals in mind. He would like to hold workshops on résumé building, interviewing and networking. Also, he simply would like more students to know about his presence and stop by.
With helping J-MC students so much outside the classroom, he is sure to bring more success their way.