Student Spotlight: Megan Howes
Hometown: Hermon, ME
Majors: Marketing, Management
Minor: Graphic Design
Graduate: May 2019
Meet the unstoppable Megan Howes. From running a photography business, double majoring, staying active in Greek life, and working as an Innovate for Maine Fellow and L.L. Bean brand ambassador, Megan will leave no stone unturned when she walks the stage at graduation in May.
After graduating from Hermon High School and starting her Freshman year at UMaine, Megan immediately got involved on campus. She started working as a student employee in the Office of Innovation and Economic Development where she began to learn about all the opportunities UMaine had to offer.
It was during her sophomore year that she was accepted as an Innovate for Maine Fellow. She was placed in a marketing position with Happy Endings Martini, Tapas & Dessert Bar in Bangor, ME. In this position she honed her skills as a graphic designer creating a wide variety of digital and print materials.
Megan was accepted as a Fellow for the second time the follow year. This time, Megan was placed with Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Bangor, ME, also in a marketing position. However, in this role, she focused less on tactical marketing needs and more on the strategic marketing plan as Wilcox had just announced their plans to expand through a franchise model. At the end of the program, Wilcox hired Megan to stay on as an employee for the upcoming year.
In the midst of all this, Megan also followed her passion for photography. She also loved taking photos of people and telling unique stories with each photo she takes. While working as an Innovate for Maine Fellow, she decided to start a photography business and has been steadily booking clients for the last two years.
As Megan’s time at UMaine comes to an end, she has accepted a position with L.L. Bean in their 3-month long management training Summit Program.
How did you get hooked up with the Innovation Center and why did you become involved? Innovate for Maine?
I worked in the Department of Industrial Cooperation on campus during my freshman and sophomore years of college. This department works with the Foster Center for Student Innovation (FCSI) on various projects and I started attending some of the speakers at the FCSI as well as some networking events. These events showed me that the FCSI was really a beneficial place to be a part of because of all the connections it can provide you with, both within UMaine and externally. In the spring of my sophomore year, I learned about Innovate for Maine through social media and applied for the internship that summer. The program seemed super interesting to me and gave me a sigh of relief when I found out that I would be matched with a company and wouldn’t have to stress about finding an internship through any one particular company on my own.
What was the most valuable part of your experience with the Innovation Center and Innovate for Maine?
Everyone at the Innovation Center is so great to work with, and they all truly care about each person’s successes. I don’t know if I can narrow down only one most valuable experience with the Innovation Center, but they have always been so supportive with my own entrepreneurial pursuits (starting a photography business the summer before my junior year), but also by pushing me to exceed. I made some amazing friends through Innovate for Maine. The best part about the other fellows was that these were people with similar goals to grow their resume through internship experience, but also who had slightly different aspirations for after graduation, so we inspired and learned from each other. Innovate for Maine has a week of boot camp built into the program, so you don’t need to have any prior Innovation Engineering knowledge ahead of time. This boot camp week was something I was super nervous about going into the program, but this ended up being so much fun! So much bonding with peers takes place, and we all came out of our comfort zones. It’s amazing how fast you can develop professional skills and learn so much new information throughout this one week.
What do you want to do when you graduate?
I am so excited for my future career, wherever it will take me. In the beginning of February, I accepted a position with L.L.Bean at their New York location on Long Island. I will be taking part in a 3-month summer management training program called the Summit Program, and after successful completion will be placed at one of their over 50 locations across the country. When going about my job hunt, I was really searching for a rewarding job in a company that has a strong culture and is very involved with the community. I was looking to get involved with a company whose values align with my personal values, and for me, L.L.Bean was a perfect fit. After going through their campus ambassador program this past Fall, I was very involved with the company and the amazing employees and people I had the pleasure of working with throughout the program really encouraged me to continue working with the brand. I will be graduating in May with a marketing and management double major, a minor in graphic design, and concentration in entrepreneurship.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting a business?
If you’re thinking about starting a business, I would say DO IT. Definitely do your research ahead of time to get a grasp of critical market information, but once you’ve determined that your product or service will solve a problem people have, and be a value adding, profitable endeavor, it’s then time to put it to the test! The Innovation Center is a great place to go if you’re searching for a place to surround yourself with entrepreneurial minded individuals who can help you with pretty much any aspect of starting a business! Good luck!
Finally, what advice would you give to new students just starting out at UMaine?
Hello new college students! 🙂 If you’re just starting out at UMaine, I will first tell you that it’s an A M A Z I N G place to be. There are so many resources on campus, and everyone is on your side. Professors, students, faculty (and your family!) all want to see you succeed, and they will gladly help you along the way, you just have to ask. UMaine is such a strong community, and I love that about the campus. Looking back, I was pretty involved, but there was always something else I could’ve done along the way or been a part of. As far as some advice, I’d say to just get involved and be yourself. Join clubs and organizations that interest YOU. It’s okay to not be a part of all the same things that your best friend is a part of. These experiences in different groups will make you unique and show that you are a valuable hire in the future because you are versatile and have many interests. Companies look for well-rounded people, who have great social, communication, and technical skills. Pay attention in class, say hi to that random stranger next to you, be kind, and STUDY… It will all be worth it in the end. Time flies by faster than you think. Make the best of these years- they are so much fun and will set the foundation for your life in the future.