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Chasing Dreams

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Albright senior Tiara Willis is interning for a digital platform that helps people achieve their dream jobs. It's a perfect gig for a student intent on gaining as many real-world experiences, and making as many connections, as possible on her own path to success.

By Hilary Bentman

Tiara Willis' dream job is to work in politics or diplomacy.

Spend a few minutes with the Albright College senior or take a quick glance at her resume – overflowing with impressive internships, a semester abroad in Dubai, attendance at national leadership conferences, winning big on a game show – and there's little doubt she'll get there.

While she's steadfastly chasing her own dreams, the international business major is also helping others reach theirs.

Willis is serving as a college ambassador for a new digital platform called DreamJobbing, which, according to its website, was "created to inspire people by giving them once in a lifetime opportunities and a chance to change their story."

DreamJobbing posts unique employment opportunities – such as serving as a producer for CBS television or helping endangered elephants in Thailand – and asks interested people to upload a 60-second video explaining why they are perfect for the gig.

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During a semster abroad in the United Arab Emirates, Willis took in the sights, from all angles. Here she skydives over one of the artificial islands of the Palm Islands archipelago

Call it a 21st century job search.

Using social media and other means, Willis' role is to help create buzz about the concept and encourage people to apply.

Most DreamJobbing jobs last only a week or two, but some, like working as a writer for the SiriusXM radio show Dirty Pop with Lance Bass, are permanent.

Applicants deploy their own social networks to boost support. Contestants are chosen based on their video, public input and an interview. Winners then share their experience on DreamJobbing.com, while some will be filmed for future episodes of a television show, to air on the AXS TV cable network.

Through social media, blogging, word-of-mouth, and the media, Willis helps recruit contestants, especially college students, not just at Albright, but across the country. She also assists with their video submissions.

"I have to convince people it's legit," said Willis, when she first explains the concept. "But it's an amazing experience. What DreamJobbing does is to take ordinary people – college students, stay-at-home moms, teachers, anyone – and help them achieve their dream job."

DreamJobbing is just the latest in a series of opportunities Willis has forged for herself while at Albright.

A Philadelphia native, she spent summer 2014 interning with the Philadelphia Eagles Youth Partnership, a charitable arm of the football franchise that focuses on health and education programming for low-income children.

Willis hopes to use this connection to add an Eagles coaching job to DreamJobbing's growing list of employment opportunities.

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Willis poses in front of the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates during her semester abroad

In spring 2014, Willis studied abroad in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, taking international business and Arabic language courses, and working with autistic children.

Willis received the prestigious federal Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and Albright's own Beall Scholarship for Study Abroad to use toward her studies at the American University in Dubai.

In summer 2013, Willis interned in the leadership office of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, attending events and conferences.

She also participated in the highly selective Blacks in Government Future Leaders in America’s Government program, held in Dallas, which provides guidance, mentorship and networking opportunities.

Willis attributes her successes to the support of her Albright professors, especially the faculty members in the business and international relations departments, and the extracurricular programs on campus, including Experience events and career programs.

She has even taken the time to read the books that Albright's Experiential Learning and Career Development Center owns on networking, careers and success.

"The career events that the ELCDC puts together are so helpful and super important," said Willis. "Too often they get overlooked. But I feel like I have an advantage when I hear about what employers want and participate in mock interviews."

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Willis (foreground) spent winter break in Thailand

Karen Evans, assistant dean of experiential learning and director of career development, said Willis will be able to build on these experiences and will benefit from "an instant network of colleagues, mentors or possible clients."

Willis has already found herself a mentor. Lisa Hennessy, co-founder of DreamJobbing, was so impressed by Willis that she agreed to take on the role.

"It is a privilege to have her part of the college ambassador program, and it is a privilege for me to mentor such an amazing young woman," said Hennessy, who recently served as executive producer for NBC's The Biggest Loser.  

"I cannot wait to see what incredible things Tiara will accomplish throughout her career," said Hennessy.

Willis' work for DreamJobbing was borne out of her love for game shows. She had tried to get picked as a contestant on ABC's Wipe Out.

It didn't pan out.

But her name was placed on a game show mailing list. That's how she found out about DreamJobbing.

"I wanted to apply for a dream job," said Willis, "but I knew that it would interfere with school. So I decided to wait."

Soon, she received an email about DreamJobbing's college ambassador internship, decided to apply and was quickly accepted.

Although Willis never made it on Wipe Out, she didn't give up on her game show quest.

Over winter break, while in Los Angeles on a layover from a trip to Thailand, Willis decided to try her luck with CBS' The Price is Right. As an audience member, she was eligible to be called as a contestant, and the third name announced instructed Willis to "come on down."

Not only did Willis make it on stage to play a game with host Drew Carey, she made it all the way to the final round – the showcase showdown – and won.

Actually she won big.

Willis walked away with trips to Toronto and Nashville, a guitar, a kayak… and a new car.

The 2015 Kia Forte will be shipped to her soon.

After Carey announced she had won, Willis ran to see her new car as family members stormed the stage. Willis couldn't get the car door open, so she took matters into her own hands and leapt through the open window.

As the episode ends, viewers can see Willis' feet dangling out of the car, waving excitedly.

The whole experience has yet to sink in, she said.

"Maybe not until the car gets here."

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