Jared Knotts went to Ball State University and completed a dual degree with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and German. He also completed his master’s program at Ball State University, where he studied Public Administration with a concentration in Homeland Security.
What did you study while you were at Ball State?
I started at Ball State as a music major in 2010 but changed my career plans after taking two years off of school to serve as a missionary in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although I had struggled in my foreign language classes in school, I learned Portuguese during my time in Brazil, and language learning became a big part of my life. I returned from Brazil and double majored in Spanish and German. Part of my German program included an intensive language course at Ball State where I finished 4 semesters of German classes in only 10 weeks. I later studied abroad in Regensburg, Germany for 5 months.
I also completed my master’s program at Ball State and graduated in 2018. I studied Public Administration with a focus on Homeland Security. I chose this course of study because I loved learning languages and I wanted a career where I would be able to work with the international community.
What is your career now?
I work as an Immigration Specialist where I manage the work authorization and visa sponsorship of international employees working and living in the US. I am an HR professional and I partner with HR managers and recruiters nationwide to help our company’s employees. I help a wide variety of foreign workers including international students after they graduate, high-skilled H-1B workers, international transfers from my company abroad, and other immigrants living in the US.
What does a typical week in your position look like?
My two main responsibilities are: 1) I work with recruiters when we interview and hire new employees that require visa sponsorship and 2) I work with our HR managers to maintain work sponsorship for our foreign workers through visa renewals, Green Card sponsorship, international travel, and much more.
I spend time each week working with our recruiters and guiding them through the process of hiring foreign workers. It can be hard to explain many of the technical parts of my role but it is an HR and employee focused role where I work one on one with individuals every day.
What are the most valuable skills you learned in your major?
One of the most important things I learned during my time at Ball State was how to perform detailed research on a wide variety of topics. When I don’t have the answers, I can quickly research, study, and learn so that I can help my coworkers and the employees that we help. As important as being able to research and learn quickly, I also learned how to better write and communicate with others. It can be challenging to take a very complicated topic and be able to explain that information to someone else. I do this every day at work when I train and teach my coworkers about complex immigration processes and government requirements.
How did/do your language studies influence or contribute to your current occupation?
In my previous role, also as an Immigration Specialist, I worked with a high population of people from Latin America and Europe. I spoke in Portuguese and Spanish almost every day in that role. Not only was I able to better answer many questions that the employees had but I was able to use the common language that we spoke to build a relationship of trust and mutual respect with them.
How does it contribute to your life outside of work as well?
I love speaking with friends and acquaintances in Spanish whenever I get the chance. I have had the opportunity to speak in Spanish with friends at church and at work. The main reason that I studied foreign languages is because I wanted to be able to communicate with and help more people.
What is your advice to other Humanities students?
Find a topic or area of specialty that you are passionate about and then search for a role that aligns with your passion. I love learning languages and working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I needed to find a profession where I could work with people, use my language skills, and help others by providing meaningful service. Working with immigrants has helped me to combine my passion with skills that I gained in school and from living abroad.
You can connect with Jared Knotts on LinkedIn.