With a paramedic mother and police sergeant father, Victoria Middlebrooks grew up with an eye on public service. In high school, this took the form of fundraising and charity-event planning. Things like hair drives and hunger banquets became a focal point.
As a freshman at Northern, Victoria knew that the University was the right choice for her, but she began to have second thoughts about her original major. A visit with her academic advisor changed all that.
“He asked me about my career goals, and I explained to him what I did in high school (which was primarily event planning), and how if I could make a career out of it, I would,” she says.
In response, Victoria’s advisor introduced her to Dr. Alisa (Dentinger) Agozzino, BA ’01, assistant professor of public relations (PR), who in turn taught her about ONU’s public relations program and the different career paths available to its graduates.
“Deciding to switch over to PR has helped me grow because it was a decision I made on my own; there was no persuasion from the school or from back home that motivated me to become a PR major. It helped me learn to trust myself and to be confident in what I want out of life.”
Once enrolled in the degree program she was truly comfortable with, Victoria put her passion for helping others to work as a member of ONU’s Phonathon, a University fundraising program that involves current students calling alumni for donations.
“I’ve gained a lot of experience by working at the Phonathon. I’ve learned how to talk with alumni. I’ve learned how to manage my time between being a full-time student, working and having a social life. And I learned how important it is to be true to myself. I found out that you will not be successful unless you have passion for what you are doing.”
Her passion for Phonathon led to a very successful year – a record-breaking one at that. During the 2015-16 academic year, she single-handedly raised more than $95,000 for the University. This is the most money raised in a single school year by any student Phonathon caller.
“Phonathon has lead me down such a great path, and it has opened up so many opportunities for me. I can’t wait to see what future career as a caller holds.”
Victoria’s immediate future involves a summer internship with the group sales department at the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.
“I received the Cedar Point marketing internship because of my success with Phonathon. This summer, I will be expanding my knowledge as a caller. I will be doing outbound calling and training others on how to do outbound calling.”
Once the summer is over, Victoria plans to return to ONU’s Phonathon with her eyes set on breaking a certain record.
“Next year, I plan to break $120,000,” she says.
We’re calling it now: That record doesn’t stand a chance.