Southwestern Adventist University kicked off October with its annual Career Emphasis Week. Focused on advancing students’ preparedness in building their portfolios and gaining valuable experience, this year’s Career Emphasis Week featured several speakers and workshops aimed at preparing students for the transition from college to career.
In previous years, the Center for Academic Success & Advising (CASA), along with the Office of Student Services, has organized a half-day Paths Expo that takes place in the gym and features a variety of companies and graduate programs with recruiting booths as well as professional development activities. Due to the global pandemic, CASA, Student Services and the newly formed Office of Student Services teamed up and creatively found a way to still provide a meaningful experience for the students.
“Although the pandemic interfered with our plans, we were convinced that we still needed to give students an opportunity to strengthen their interview skills and assist in preparing them for their future careers,” shares Renata Ocampo, Director of The Center for Academic Success and Advising.
Rather than hosting a large event, a Paths Assembly was held with five breakout sessions followed by a week of career-focused popup events. The updated format prioritized social distancing guidelines and allowed students to attend events most relevant to them. Breakout sessions featured campus experts and professional guests who provided valuable content and resources on a range of topics.
Representing California-based Adventist Health were Timothy Olaore, Program Manager for the Leadership Residency program, and Steve Chen, Regional CFO for Central California and SWAU alum. They presented on the adjustments they have made during the pandemic as well as the company’s philosophy. They consider Adventist Health to be a health and wellness business rather than a healthcare business. Following the session, students had the opportunity to interview for summer internships and residencies.
“Dear Starving Artist, Get Something to Eat,” was the title of Ransford Doherty’s presentation. Doherty is an actor, educator and motivational speaker. He shared about the struggles he faced when he began to pursue an acting career and encouraged students to view themselves as a business but to choose a career that they love.
The Enactus session introduced a new program that invites student entrepreneurs to pitch innovative business ideas. Ryan Dye, executive director for CoLab, introduced the LaunchU competition, which SWAU students will be able to take part in during a spring pitch event where they will compete for $5,000 in prize money. He shared five myths about entrepreneurs and debunked them, sharing how even students from anywhere in the world have been able to build their own businesses from the ground up.
Ann Jobity, Associate Dean of Women, spoke about the impact that attire can have on first impressions and why it is important to dress well when going into a job interview. She also explained the differences between different categories of attire.
Finally, “How do I write who I am and sell myself?” was the question that Jean Carlo Fernandez, resume writer from RiseSmart, answered as he shared tips on resume writing and cover letter writing. He provided tips on what needs to be included in a resume.
Matthew Elkins, one SWAU student who attended this session shared that he really liked it and found it to be very helpful. “I had needed assistance in doing my resume, so I’m glad I chose to come to this session in particular. Now I have more of a clear understanding of which steps to take,” he shared.
Following an engaging Paths Assembly was a week of resource-filled events focused on providing students with tools to pursue their professional future. From professional portfolio headshot sessions to additional seminars on successful resume writing, financial stability and dressing for success, students were able to gain practical resources and advice.
Career readiness is a priority for Southwestern Adventist University. The Office of Student Success, formed with funding received through a $2.5M Grant from the US Department of Education, plans to expand resources available, including hosting an additional Career Emphasis Week each year concluding with a PATHS Expo. CASA and the Office of Student Success will provide workshops and expand internship opportunities as well, equipping every student to successfully transition from college to career.
Click here to read more about “Pathways to Student Success.”
Click here to learn more about the Center for Academic Success & Advising.