Wednesday, October 24, 2018

COST Pathways Event

Exercise Science faculty, panelists and students. Photo credit: Andrea O'Neill
Two BU colleges organized career events during Homecoming weekend to help their majors get a handle on the transition from college to career. Pathways in Science and Technology, hosted by the College of Science and Technology, and the Liberal Arts Symposium, hosted by the College of Liberal Arts, both welcomed alumni back to campus to serve on professional panels, provided information sessions on internships, study abroad opportunities, financial literacy and graduate school, and invited inspirational keynote speakers, faculty and staff as a way to help students navigate their way from student to professional. More than 2600 BU students attended the programs collectively, and the two colleges welcomed over 170 alumni.

“We wanted to allow students to explore the liberal arts in a setting that expands their understanding of the value of such a degree” explained Joyce Bielen, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, and coordinator of the symposium “We’ve invited alumni to share how they have used their liberal arts degrees to find jobs and give students the opportunity to network with alumni who share their interests.”

Alumni played a major role in both events as they returned to share stories and advice on working in their field, how they obtained their current positions, and how the skills they learned within their major have translated into other professions.

“It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas for a traditional family” said Dr. Scott Inch, Professor in the Department of Mathematical and Digital Sciences who said that the event is his yearly favorite, as it brings former students “home” to BU and provides invaluable industry insight to current students. “I appreciate how willing our graduates are to go out of their way to be helpful to the program and to our current students” said Inch “They all generously donate their time and are so happy to help.”

The alumni panels for both events were enhanced by presentations on various career topics such as the importance of study abroad experiences for cultural understanding and language, confidence in interviewing, preparing for the world of work through job shadowing and searches, internships and other career experiences, as well as how to apply one’s major in an unrelated career field, such as using a music degree to advance toward an MBA.

“This is a great way to help prepare for the job market, internships or graduate schools” said Angela Ciucci, Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the College of Science and Technology, and organizer of the Pathways event “It’s a great opportunity to interact with alumni, businesses, and professionals who work in the field of science and technology.”

The Pathways program involved a networking luncheon among returning alumni, current student and faculty/staff, as well as a Dean’s Reception later in the evening. A Communication Studies networking reception was also held in another part of campus where alums, students and faculty shared some food and drink, a few BU stories, and some business cards.

“The networking luncheon is a great opportunity for these upperclassmen to directly network with alumni working in prospective career fields” explained Dr. Ellen Kehres, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry “It is a great way to help prepare for the job market, internships or graduate school.”

Kehres added that while Pathways may have been seen as something for upperclassmen closing in on graduation, it was also an opportunity for students, especially freshman and sophomores, to gain insight on making the most of their college experience and thinking about career fields they may not have thought about before.

~ from Bloomsburg University Alumni and Professional Engagement

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