Career Exploration Week Leverages Alumni Network

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Oct. 19–23, Career Services hosted Career Exploration Week, a large-scale virtual program connecting more than 500 current students with 575 alumni volunteers for career panels and one-on-one career exploration conversations. A reimagination of A Day in the Life — the traditional job shadowing program — Career Exploration Week inspired students to cultivate their curiosity while expanding their professional networks. 

Career Services designed Career Exploration Week to teach students how to interact within the Colgate network, explained Assistant Vice President for Career Initiatives Teresa Olsen. The program empowered students to prepare for the next steps of their careers.

“Our alumni are known for how graciously they share their time and wisdom to support students,” she said. “Students who learn how to appropriately and consistently build relationships with professionals will find great support for their path forward. Our team is here to be that bridge, to provide both the opportunity and the support for this learning process.”

Alumni participants showcased how a liberal arts degree provides a strong starting point for a wide scope of career options. Ten panels represented a number of industries — marketing and communications; education and social services; law, government, and policy; business industries; math and computer science; and others.

Nancy Goldstein ’80 participated in the health and wellness industry panel. “Colgate’s liberal arts education provided me with the foundation from which to do meaningful work that enriches my life and the life of others,” she said. “I hope to support Colgate students to pursue rewarding careers that contribute to healing ourselves and our society.”

For Laynie Dratch ’17, the program allowed for further engagement within the Colgate community. “I would not be in the position I am today without the support of Career Services,” she said. “The financial support through summer funding coupled with the advising support that Career Services provided was integral to my learning about the genetic counseling profession and building the résumé I would need to become a competitive candidate for graduate school admission.”

Career Services offers students the opportunity to learn from alumni who represent a range of identities, job titles, industries, and workplaces, Olsen noted. “It’s important for exploring and deciding students to gain as much information about the professional world as they can before they begin to narrow their sites on a specific career field,” she said. “We want students to understand the differences and nuances between industries so they can make better decisions about which career path will best fit them.”