hollyPEAK Performance- Holly Deffenbaugh

Holly didn’t go the ‘traditional’ route. After graduating from Ashland High School, she worked as a hair stylist.  “I worked and lived in Ashland and then realized that I had a passion for writing and there was a university in town.  Why not utilize it and change the direction I was going?  So that’s what I did.”  Eight years after graduating high school, Holly enrolled in SOU’s English program for Professional and Technical Writing.  She also opted to pursue a certificate in Non-Profit Management with the goal of working in development for a non-profit organization.

When the PEAK job program launched in 2013, an opportunity became available in the Office of Development and SOU Foundation. Holly saw a chance to apply her education in a non-profit setting, creating monthly newsletters and helping with donor outreach.

The PEAK position freed her to have time to be a student.  Rather than working night shifts at a restaurant to make ends meet, Holly was able to save her evenings for homework.  “PEAK jobs are helpful for students.  No matter what PEAK position they seek out, they will learn work ethic, responsibility, what it means to show up and be on time, and to live up to the responsibilities of your job.  To have that before you graduate, really helps students get employed faster.”

After graduating in June 2014, Holly got a job in marketing with Darex Industrial Tool Sharpeners. In part, she credits her experience as a PEAK student with the SOU Office of Development for giving her the marketing experience that helped her land her job.  “It’s amazing how having that [PEAK job] on my resume got attention.” While it’s not the non-profit or writing career that Holly had originally planned for, she is very happy with her new career. “This is not what I planned at all when I graduated and yet I’m really stoked about the job I have.  I feel like I’m being challenged in a way I wouldn’t necessarily have been.”