Indiana State University Newsroom

Marketing graduate named Orr Fellow

November 5, 2008

Indiana State University graduate Jessica May already received her diploma, but she hasn't stopped learning. A recipient of the Governor Bob Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship, the marketing major has started her career ahead of the learning curve.

"Hands-on experience is the key to understanding almost anything," May said.

A 2008 graduate of the ISU College of Business, May is spending two years working for Bloomington-based publishing company Author Solutions as an Orr Fellow. The fellowship program is designed for college students seeking their first full-time salaried position after graduation. It is named for the late Robert Orr, who served as Indiana's governor from 1981 to 1989. This year, 10 fellows were chosen from among thousands of applicants to join the 10 students chosen for the fellowship in the previous year.

Through its Author Services brands, Author Solutions works with authors to self-publish, promote and sell their books. May, a marketing analyst for the company, collects and analyzes data to evaluate existing and potential products and services. She also monitors competitors and keeps up to date on market changes that could affect sales. Most recently, she has been working on a new Web site for one of the company's brands.

That kind of versatility initially caused May, a graduate of South Spencer High School in Rockport to pursue to career in marketing. After starting classes at ISU's College of Business, she knew she had made the right decision.

"I chose marketing because of the many things I could do within the field," she said. "Working on the Web site is just one example of the many ways I've been able to use my degree."

She is putting her degree to use in a variety of tangible ways.

"The teamwork skills I gained as an undergraduate at ISU have helped me fit right in with the marketing team at Author Solutions," May said. "My marketing research class has helped me define my position here, as well. There are many technical things that I learned through my classes that have helped me begin my career."

While at ISU, May was among the first to graduate as a Networks Scholar. A program of Networks Financial Institute, the Networks Scholarship is a four-year program for qualified ISU students pursuing careers in the financial services industry. May was also a member of the professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and Student Government Association, as well as a resident assistant and College Mentor.

"Jessica built a solid set of skills in college through her coursework, as well as her extracurricular activities, that will ensure that her step-off into the professional world will not be as difficult," said Arthur Sherwood, professor of management at ISU. "I worked with her on marketing the Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility Conference here at ISU. This was a major undertaking and certainly gave her an experience that she learned from. It also acted as a solid precursor to the 'real world.'"

May heard about the fellowship after she was contacted by a former fellow who found her resume on the ISU Career Center's CAREER Link database. May quickly became interested in the opportunity. She successfully completed an initial interview and then took part in a full-day interview process with client companies.

\"I had five, 30-minute interviews with five of 10 companies that day," May said. "The process was intense, but I walked away with a better understanding of each company."

May was selected as an Orr Fellow and began her duties at Author Solutions in June. In addition to contributing to the company and learning from its executives, May participates in various other activities through the fellowship program including community service projects, professional development events and social activities with other fellows.

"The professional activities really encourage entrepreneurial thinking and business leadership," she said. "Having the opportunity to interact with business leaders and professionals, while hearing their stories and insight into the business world, has definitely helped spark my business thoughts for the future."

Staying connected with a group of likeminded peers has likewise helped ease the transition from college to the working world.

"The interaction with the other fellows is one of the best things about the experience thus far," May said. "We are all at very similar mile markers on the road of life. It is great to have a group of people who are encouraging and understand the things you are going through."

After her stint as an Orr Fellow is over, May is considering furthering her education to obtain a master of business administration degree. Her work at Author Solutions continues to help her redefine her goals and work toward the future.

"My long-term goals consist of working in a position through which I can make a positive difference with whatever I am doing," she said. "I would like to either own my own business or play a major role in the company I work for."

More information on the Orr Fellowship is available online.


Writer: Emily Taylor, assistant director of media relations, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or