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Stewart '88 gives "The Most" advice

While making copies at an MTV office, a researcher complained aloud that she did not graduate from Wesleyan University to do such menial work. Alison Stewart '88 looked at her and demanded 60 copies.

Emmy Award-winner Stewart, currently anchor of the MSNBC show "The Most," delivered the keynote speech of Career Week Saturday. She has anchored for or contributed to the news divisions of ABC, CBS and MTV. She reported on the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, covered Hurricane Katrina and traveled with actor Tom Cruise on his worldwide publicity tour for the movie "War of the Worlds."

After graduating from Brown, Stewart worked stuffing promotion packets for A&M Records. She earned $75 for each of her three-day workweeks.

Stewart cautioned students that they might be dissatisfied with their first jobs.

"At some point, around day eight, you're going to feel that this is beneath you," she said. She had a simple response to that sense of frustration: "Tough."

Stewart also said women face challenges in any career field. She said women must "be really good" at what they do to be competitive employees and that they also must resist shyness. "If you want a job, make sure somebody notices it," she said.

Stewart admitted that she had been a workaholic for about a decade. "I missed birthdays. I missed friends' kids being born," she said.

She advised students to remember their childhood ambitions for guidance on their career path. "I apparently used to sit with a tape recorder and interview myself when I was a child," Stewart said, recalling stories from her parents.

While a student at Brown, Stewart was the programming director for WBRU. Growing up in a "small bedroom community," she was eager to get involved with radio broadcasting when she arrived on College Hill, she said. She said the most valuable part of her Brown education was learning to write well.

Her years at the University helped her to overcome her timidity, Stewart said. "It gave me a great deal of confidence, my undergraduate experience."

In its sixth year, Career Week took place last Wednesday to Saturday. About one hundred alumni panelists and 1,200 students were registered to participate in the event, according to Career Week 2007 co-director Eve Formisano.


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