Career Services Facilitates Discovery and Connection

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This fall, Colgate Career Services has hosted a pair of initiatives for first- and second-year students, capitalizing on one of the University’s key strengths: a supportive alumni network.

During Career Exploration Week, Oct. 4–8, 296 students engaged in 409 career exploration experiences, speaking directly with University graduates, who were eager to help them learn about possible career paths. Panel topics included education, medicine, media and communications, real estate, finance, applied science, health and wellness, sustainability, consulting, public policy, and technology and computing.

“The purpose of the event was to help students start to see the breadth of ways Colgate alumni put their liberal arts education into action and to give students a starting point to differentiate between the nuances that exist between career areas they are exploring,” says Teresa Olsen, assistant vice president for career initiatives.

The Communications and Media Panel, on Oct. 5, featured panelists Laura Clark ’08, Meredith Dowling ’17, and Abigail Hahn ’15, who spoke about their everyday lives both in the office and at Colgate, relaying advice based on their experiences. Additionally, the panelists offered tips on gaining experience within the field as a college student.

“At a liberal arts school, taking varied classes allowed me to be agile,” Hahn says.    

Career Exploration Week marked the beginning stages of Colgate’s new approach to four-year professional development. 

“In concert with Career Exploration Week, students were encouraged to catalog their strengths, values, interests, and aspects of their identity,” Olsen says. “Having a better sense of a student’s own uniqueness will give both them and our career advisers a great starting point to begin their work together.” 

It also set them up for a second stage of the exploration process: Alumni Career Conversations. In the weeks ahead, nearly 500 students will apply what they learned through Career Exploration Week and their self-reflection processes to one-on-one career exploration conversations with alumni in their fields of interest. Matched by career services, the program makes networking less daunting because students already know that the alumni volunteers are eager to help.

“Career Services at Colgate has allowed me to develop some of the most valuable skills: initiative and self-advocacy,” says Mehri Hamrokulova ’24. “With Colgate’s huge alumni network, I was able to receive mentorship and guidance from Colgate graduates who had already spent years in the fields that I was interested in exploring.”