At The Career Center, A New Two-Day Conference To Explore Potential Jobs

This January, the Career Center is launching a new, two-day career exploration program. “Endeavor: The Liberal Arts Advantage for Sophomores” will take place on campus from Jan. 14 to 15 during the last week of Winter Break and will accommodate 200 students.

The immersive, zero-cost experience is designed to give second-year students an array of tools to discover their passions, as well as explore career paths that are of interest to them. The program is open to any student in the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences, as well as students majoring in Psychology and Human Development in the Lynch School of Education.

“We want to inspire students to pursue what they want to study.”

“The natural question many students ask is, ‘What can I do with a liberal arts degree?’” said Joseph Du Pont, associate vice president for Student Affairs and director of the Career Center. “Students should feel comfortable pursuing majors that excite them. A Boston College degree is a powerful asset that can allow you to go into many areas professionally.”

Participants will arrive back on campus on Wednesday, Jan. 13 for an opening dinner. The following morning, students will listen to Career Cluster talks by alumni, participate in skills workshops, and engage in reflective conversation. Students will choose which Career Clusters they attend based on their interests.

The keynote speaker will be Stephen Joseph Pemberton, BC ’89, vice president and chief diversity officer at Walgreens and best-selling author. Fortune magazine has named him one of the top 20 professionals in his field. Pemberton was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration by the University at the 2015 Commencement this past spring.

Over 40 alumni will serve as Career Coaches for the program, mentoring three to five students each. The low ratio of coaches to mentees will allow each participant to develop a close relationship with his or her coach. Career Coaches will offer advice based on their own career experiences, and will work with their mentees to develop their own plans for the future. Once students realize their strengths, they will work with their coaches to learn how to connect to future opportunities.

On the second day of the program, students will embark on Career Treks in downtown Boston. They will have the chance to explore various workplaces and meet alumni working in a variety of industries. The hope is that by showing students successful outcomes of liberal arts graduates, they will be empowered to major in a subject that excites them.

“We want to inspire students to pursue what they want to study,” Du Pont said.

Endeavor was designed by the Career Center with three learning objectives. First, that participants identify one career field that they wish to explore in the future. Second, that students will come to recognize two to three skills they already possess that are transferrable to the workplace. Third, that participants will be able to practice interpersonal skills and develop relationships with alumni, faculty, and staff.

“Sophomores are at the stage where they should begin to think about their skills and interests, as well as what they would like to do beyond BC,” said Rachel Greenberg, Career Center associate director.

Endeavor is intended for sophomores because of the unique developmental standing of second-year students.The program encourages reflection of one’s academic focus, and the idea that it is never too early to start exploring career paths and professional opportunities.

Endeavor also marks an ambitious collaboration between many offices on-campus.

“We are partnering with the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, the Alumni Association, and the Office of Student Affairs, among others,” Greenberg said. “We make an effort reach out to the academic departments as well, to see how we can best work with them to make our graduates successful.”

Although Endeavor is a program available only to sophomores, the Career Center has taken care to make similar workshops available to all BC students.

The Career Exploration Team works with students who have not yet declared a major or who are uncertain of what they would like to do professionally.

The team helps students identify skills, values, and interests, as well as investigate a variety of career paths. Meanwhile, the Career Engagement Team is designed to work with students who have an idea of what industry they would like to work in after graduation. Students who work with this team are often searching for a full-time job or internship, applying to graduate school, or preparing for an interview.

“Sophomore year is a great time to participate in a workshop like this, because you still have time left at BC, but you have some significant college experience,” Greenberg said.

Featured Image by Kemeng Fan / Heights Staff

November 9, 2015