Abbey Brown

Abbey BrownK-State graduation year: May 2013
Degree: BS Human Resource Management and Entrepreneurship
Current employer: Cerner
Position: Web Designer

How many times, if any, did you change your major during college?

I started out as a Pre-Dental student. But after a couple of semesters I found that I really enjoyed business classes and was exceling in that area. I ended up dual majoring in Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Management. 

Describe the process of choosing your major:

I took many different classes early on and asked for advice from professors, family and other students. I ended up taking classes that I was passionate about and they lead me to my majors.

What activities/organizations were you involved in while in college?

Student Foundation
K-State Proud
Alpha Delta Pi
Quest Freshman Honorary
Blue Key Senior Honorary

Did you complete an internship or have related work experience prior to receiving your job? If so, please give a brief description of your experience.

Yes, I had an internship every summer of my college career. I was an intern at the KSU Foundation and learned a lot about non-profit business and annual giving. The summer between my Junior and Senior year I was an intern at Cerner where I learned about the healthcare industry and how to design web applications that help the business.

Describe the process of finding your first job:

The process of finding my first job was exciting and a little nerve racking. I talked to a lot of my K-State professors, advisors about possible job opportunities. I went to the K-State Career Fair and networked with the many companies that attended. I also did a lot of research on my own online to find job openings in the location and area of business I was wanting. I provided my resume to many companies and went through their interview process. After many interviews and company tours I ended up liking the culture and job opportunity that Cerner provided. 

Briefly describe a typical day at your job:

There is never a typical day at my job which is what I love! As a designer I talk with stakeholders (people in the business) who have ideas about new applications that they want designed or created. I gather functional requirements from them, what they want the site to do/look like/function, and then work with the development team to actually create the website. Once the site is created, I test the site thoroughly and then release it to production. I also own the marketing imperative for the team and do presentations about the websites we create.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy the challenging work and the amazingly talented people I get to work with.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

It is a very demanding job with a lot of pressure and deadlines.

Has your career path taken any unconventional turns that you never would have expected?  If you’ve made a complete career change, what has the journey been like?

I never thought I would be doing web design. In college I never thought I would work with computers and IT. I liked the idea of working with people, talking, and starting my own company. But what I have found in my job is that the technical world needs people with communication skills and there are a LOT of brilliant people at Cerner to work and learn from. I also found that I can use my Entrepreneurship degree to take ownership in my work and truly make my projects my own.

Think back to the first year you were out of college.  What were the major lifestyle changes in the transition from college to the world of work? How did you adapt?

The biggest change I have found is the schedule. In college I had weird hours, late nights, and random naps but in the “real world” I must be at work from 8-5 every day. This means that I must get personal things such as shopping, laundry, and workouts in before or after work. I enjoy getting up super early so I have the evenings to relax.

What was the one thing you did in college that has had the most impact on your life or career?

The two things that have had the most impact on my life and career are starting a company through the Entrepreneurship program and being a part of the K-State Proud campaign. Both opportunities taught me about time management and being passionate about your work.

Was there one specific person in college who had a significant impact on your life or career? Who was it, and how did they affect you?

Chad Jackson and Mindy Weixelman both impacted not only my career but my life. Chad was the professor who challenged me to start my own company. This was a great learning experience and was a time where I was out of my comfort zone. His support and advice helped me face challenges and learn about the business industry. Mindy was my advisor for Student Foundation and a true mentor. Her passion for people and K-State is outstanding. Her hard work and tenacity is something I try to mirror.

Do you keep in touch with your college classmates?  If so, how have those relationships influenced your career?

Yes I have stayed in touch with classmates and actually work with many of them. I have found these connections have served me well at Cerner. There are a lot of different organizations within the company so it is nice to have a point of contact if I have any questions.