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EACE Niagara Through the Eyes of a Newcomer

By Mary Edwin, M.S., NCC

It all began with an email. I’m usually one of those people who deletes promotional emails without reading them – I’ll read the subject line and if it doesn’t seem pertinent, well, delete. I also hate having unread emails in my inbox, so I’m frequently in there, reading and deleting. I don’t know what it was about this particular email; actually, I do. I think it said scholarship in the subject line. Who doesn’t stop to read an email if something free is involved? I remember receiving the email for the EACE scholarship from my supervisor and doubting my qualifications for the scholarship.

After much thought, I realized that I definitely qualified and was eager to network with come career services professionals. After all, my previous conference experiences have either been with school counselors or counselor educators. I recognized that the EACE conference would be an amazing growth opportunity and I quickly began gathering my application materials for the scholarship.

I was happy when I received the EACE Diversity and Inclusion scholarship but if I knew what was in store for me at Niagara Falls, I think happy would have been more along the lines of excited or ecstatic. My Niagara experience began with me driving straight from the airport to the Newcomers Lunch and that event set the tone for the whole conference.

I had lunch with some great people who made me feel welcome. I think knowing that we were all newcomers made it easier to talk to people and get to know one another without feeling left out or awkward. The semi-formal atmosphere of the Newcomers Lunch made it easy to talk about professional and personal lives with colleagues, plus, the food was kind of awesome!

The rest of the weekend seemed like a whirlwind from this point. The Make Them love You keynote by Jodi Glickman was absolutely enlightening—she totally changed the way I craft my professional and personal emails. My biggest takeaway was the value of respecting other people’s time and how the way we communicate with others conveys how much we respect their time. Next was the exhibitor showcase where I discovered great apps, software and tools that I planned to recommend to my department.

Thursday morning began with a coffee date with my mentor which was awesome. Being set up with a mentor was one of my favorite aspects of the scholarship. It was great to have someone to answer questions about the organization, the conference and various opportunities. Breakfast with other EACE members was equally awesome—I had the opportunity to talk to some employers about their perspective on the job search process and picked up some tips for my future clients. Through breakout sessions I gathered resources for my students, new ideas for programs and events and built new connections.

If I had to describe the EACE atmosphere in a  few words, it would be “warm and welcoming”. Each time I spoke to a colleague, there were words of wisdom, tips for career and professional growth and making plans for social gatherings! It certainly didn’t hurt that the conference was in gorgeous Niagara. I learned so much from this experience and I can’t wait to be in Virginia next year!

Mary Edwin is a Ph.D. candidate and a Graduate Career Counselor at the Bank of America Career Services Center at Penn State.


Big Changes Ahead Thanks to EACE

By Joanna Craig, Eastern University

Entering my first summer as Assistant Director for Talent and Career Development at Eastern University, I had a head full of ideas and a to-do list a couple pages long. I was looking forward to attending the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, an opportunity only available to me thanks to receiving an EACE Professional Development Grant, to network with colleagues and learn strategies to more effectively accomplish my goals. Imagine my surprise when I left EACE having scrapped pretty much that entire to-do list. Instead, the conference was the catalyst for a major shift in the way our office will function, and I left with a whole new set of ambitious, but attainable, objectives and a concrete plan for moving ahead.

My office is small – just two full-time career development staff and an administrative assistant we share with two other departments. We service the entire university, including current students and recent alumni. With limited resources but no shortage of creativity and devotion to our students’ success, my Director Sarah Todd and I are always looking for ways to do more with less. We were thrilled to see a session on the schedule called “Digital Disruption: Designing a Scalable Service Delivery Model” presented by Kevin Monahan, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Carnegie Mellon University. The description shared that Carnegie Mellon had found itself struggling with “growing demand for services and no additional funding or staffing planned” — sounds familiar!

Joanna 2I grabbed a seat in the Red Jacket room and listened as Kevin described the very same challenges that I was experiencing in my own school. Was it really the best use of my time to discuss resume margin size with each student one-on-one day after day? And in an age where even your banking can be done from an app on your phone 24 hours a day, how do we best provide information to our students in a way they will actually access? Kevin explained how their career office increased its digital presence providing short videos that students could watch at their own convenience (including the middle of the night!) to support the career education provided by their counselors. Requiring students to come to meetings already armed with the basics optimizes counselors’ time with students by advancing the conversations to higher-ordered topics. Hearing how successful this strategy had been for Carnegie Mellon was incredibly motivating, and just a month after EACE, we have already started planning and preparing our own videos!

With a new plan in place to better use technology and increase our digital presence, my Director and I stopped by the exhibitor room to see what products might be in our budget to further our efforts. We already had Symplicity but had heard great things about the relatively new platform, Handshake. We had the opportunity to talk to representatives from Handshake that shared with us ways that we could streamline and improve our employer relations, reaching Fortune 500 companies we would not otherwise be able to reach with such a small staff. The all-in-one system would also simplify our appointment scheduling and first destination survey distribution. And perhaps most importantly, the user-friendly system has been shown to increase student engagement with the job board. After taking another critical look at our budget and a little negotiating, we were able to find a way to allocate funds for Handshake; we signed the contract shortly after returning from EACE.

Thanks to the sharing of ideas and connections I made at EACE, I am confident our office is going to see incredible improvements in efficiency, student engagement and customer satisfaction. I am so incredibly grateful to have received a Professional Development Grant to make the trip possible. I should mention that EACE wasn’t all work, though. I had the opportunity to meet new people, get to know colleagues better, and network with so many interesting people – the EACE crew was so friendly and welcoming! We tried out local restaurants together, watched fireworks over the falls and enjoyed letting loose on the dance floor at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. EACE was both incredibly productive and fun and I hope I get the opportunity to attend in 2018!

Joanna Craig was awarded a Professional Development Grant to attend the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.  She is the Assistant Director for Talent & Career Development at Eastern University.

EACE: Friendly, Helpful Professionals

By Carol Youngs

I discovered EACE while researching professional development organizations as part of a segment during an internship course while enrolled at Buffalo State’s Higher Education Student Affairs Administration Master’s program.  Our assignment was to find organizations which aligned with our goals.  Coming from a business management, human resources, adult programming background with interest and experience in career counseling and events management, EACE seemed a good fit.  Attendance at the Niagara Falls June 2017 conference only reinforced that belief.

Reading through the various topics offered at the June conference, I was like a kid in a candy store.  Which one to attend?  They all sounded great.  Each session I attended had something to offer and the networking seemed effortless as each professional I encountered had an interesting story to share and helpful suggestions.  A theme found in many of the break-out sessions was the need for innovative career programming.  We learned that many of the housekeeping initiatives (resume review, talks on career topics) can now happen online, accessed at student convenience.  Happily, another trend stipulates the value of student exposure to the career center from day one of their undergraduate college experience.  As colleges are being held more accountable for student outcomes, working cross-silo to help student’s discover their vocational passion has never been more important and ideas to enhance this relationship were discussed.

I particularly enjoyed meeting others during mealtimes, exchanging stories and ideas.  And, in a perfect example of experiencing work / life balance, the final night with a DJ was a particular treat.  Line dancing to music from a scene in a favorite movie, 1999’s The Best Man Wedding, ( was a lot of fun.

I could not have attended the conference without the Professional Development Grant; much thanks to the EACE Board and leadership team for allowing me this valuable opportunity.

I graduated May 2017 and have interest and experience in career counseling / advisement initiatives and seek a higher education position on the East Coast.   Once settled, I look forward to exploring EACE service opportunities.

Carol Youngs was a recipient of a 2017 Professional Development Grant.  She attended the EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY in June 2017.

Cheers to 20 Years!

By Tracey Hanton, Community College of Philadelphia


It was a great opportunity to attend this year’s conference and being awarded a grant to do so. My department rarely has any funds for professional development so when my former Dean made it possible for me to attend last year in Philadelphia, it seemed that in order for me to go applying for the grant would be the best way to defray the cost since it was such a distance. When I informed my new Director, that I had received the grant she was pleased with my initiative and located monies to assist as well. What motivated me to want to attend again? First, I had met such fantastic colleagues the year before and I wanted to see them again. Second, I have never been to Niagara Falls and it seemed like an opportune time to go! Third, since it was my first time serving on a committee, it seemed like I should be there.  I was glad to have been awarded the scholarship to attend.

I arrived on the 20th so that I could be relaxed for our early morning community service at Worksource. The early arrival gave me an opportunity to walk around the area beforehand and scout out places to eat!

On Wednesday, I participated in the community service project. It was a great experience being at WorkSource in Niagara! I got to work with colleagues from various colleges and universities, most were new to the conference. I recommend to anyone who can participate to do so, it is a great way to meet conference attendees and also help the community that you are visiting. Even though it’s only a couple of hours, I think it is impactful to the attendees. We facilitated a workshop on Networking; helped participants develop elevator pitches and answered career related questions. I assisted a gentleman on developing his own brand for a company/organization that he wanted to launch.

Jodi Glickman kicked off the conference with a new perspective and energized us to continue moving forward. I even had an opportunity to chat with her a bit during the networking reception.

Niagara RapidsThursday was an educationally packed day. But before the day got started many of us took a nice walk to the Falls! Simply breathtaking! What a way to get charged up for the many workshops that would await us. The topics ranged from working with international students to tips on how to become a Director. There was something for everyone! Even things that one may not have been thinking about. It was also a chance to gather with like-minded professionals and exchange some best practices with each other.

It surely was not all work- because we got to tour the Culinary Institute! What a fabulous place and of course, we danced into the night while eating pastries made by the students. It was a great way to unwind after the jam packed day we had in sessions.  I had an opportunity to tour the area with some other colleagues. Our tour guide was fun and energetic and we met a lovely couple from Australia and even though it was a rain soaked day we enjoyed the tour!

I have already begun implementing some of the information that I gathered from the conference. I cannot possibly put everything that I learned in this blog but I hope that I gave you a picture of what to expect from this conference. I am excited about Reston, VA 2018!!

Tracey Hanton is a recipient of a 2017 EACE Professional Development Grant.  She was able to attend the 2017 EACE Annual Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.

Niagara Fall-ing for EACE, the Gift That Keeps on Giving

By Ally Strang, M.Ed.

Just before my last semester of graduate school, I spoke with one of the co-chairs of the Diversity & Inclusion committee to discuss my interest in getting involved. Eventually, our conversation turned to the 2017 EACE Conference. Despite my desire to attend, I knew that it wasn’t realistic to expect to be able to do so this year. After graduating, I knew I would be leaving my two GA positions, thus losing a major source of income. I painfully admitted that I couldn’t afford it, and then she shared a magical idea: the Professional Development Grant. My outlook became cautiously optimistic, but I was also ready for a break after a hectic semester. I decided I would apply “later” and promptly forgot as I began to make holiday plans.

On Christmas Eve, I was sitting in front of the Christmas tree at my overnight job, where I work with youth in a residential setting. As I sat there, I was lost in thought until I suddenly remembered the grant. I wasn’t sure if it was too late, but I quickly pulled together my application and sent it in anyway. Perhaps it would be a Christmas miracle, I reasoned.

By the time my final semester was in full swing, the grant was far from my mind. I was so busy with my capstone e-portfolio that I could think of nothing else. However, one day when I was on my way home from my GA position, it was unseasonably warm. Despite the stress I was feeling about homework, the upcoming Career Fair, job searching, and graduation, this put me in good spirits. The traffic was terrible, so I decided to check Ally EACEmy email before I left the parking lot. I was shocked to see an email with “Professional Development Grant” in the subject line. I held my breath as I opened it. When I learned that I had received the grant, I had to re-read the email a few more times. I was speechless. The impossible had just happened and I was going to Niagara Falls for the EACE Conference!

Before I knew it, it was June and my suitcase was packed for my 480-mile journey to Niagara Falls. The views were beautiful, there was no traffic, and my excitement made the trip fly by. When I arrived, my first order of business was a walk to the Falls. Everything until then had been surreal, but I was struck with awe as I looked over the railing. At that moment, I fully absorbed that I was actually going to begin my conference experience within 24 hours at the Newcomer’s Lunch.

EACE NewcomerThe next three days were a blur. I was stunned by the generosity of the professionals I connected with and I couldn’t wait to start using the ideas I learned from the breakout sessions. The keynote with Jodi Glickman was a great fit for me and I learned specific ways to become indispensable in a new position. My favorite breakout session “So, You Want To Be A Director?” supplemented the ideas of the keynote perfectly, helping me envision my long-term path to a leadership role. In addition to clarifying strategies for my prof  essional development, I learned about creating value for employer partners, best practices in assessment, and diversity initiatives. By participating in the conference’s planned networking activities, I was directly referred to several positions that weren’t even posted onNiagara topline yet. As a result, my job search was completely re-energized.

On top of all the great conference activities, I enjoyed fireworks over the Falls, ate delicious food, and explored the Niagara Falls area. The Professional Development Grant made it possible for me to launch my career on a high note, preparing me with connections, best practices, and positivity. My Christmas Eve application had turned into the ultimate holiday gift. I am truly grateful for the wonderful folks at EACE for helping me to have this career-changing experience. Thank you, EACE!

Ally Strang is one of the recipients of the Professional Development Grant for 2017.  She used the grant to attend the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY. 

My Niagara Experience with EACE

By Noelle Brown

I have happily been a part of EACE for the past 3 years! My journey with EACE started in Pittsburgh 3 years ago, when my director at the time, Sarah Todd, thought it might be a good idea to submit a presentation to speak at the annual conference. Our presentation was accepted as a speed learning session, and we got to present about our digital badge online class that we created for Eastern University. I left that conference feeling totally refreshed and energized, and it was easily one of the BEST conferences I had ever been to! From the interesting speakers and presentations, to the exciting new exhibitors I hadn’t heard of before, to all the networking activities throughout the 3 days that we were in Pittsburgh, I knew then that I would be returning as an EACE member the following year!

Fast forward to this 2017 conference year, I had made a career transition from working in career development in higher education, to working in Human Resources in a more corporate role. The transition wasn’t an easy one, and I found that it ended up complicating my membership with EACE. I knew without a doubt that I still wanted to be involved with this year’s conference even after making a career move, especially because I had the opportunity this year to co-chair the Newcomer’s/Hospitality committee! With all that being said, I have to give a HUGE thank you to the EACE Board and leadership team for selecting me to receive the Professional Development Grant! It would have been much more difficult for me to get to Niagara this year had it not been for you all!

I truly think this year’s conference was the best one yet! Niagara Falls was the perfect location, and allowed for me to visit a new location I’d never been before! From hosting the Newcomer’s Lunch, to leading the pack for the Walk to the Falls program, to listening to Ali Joyce’s presentation about the Chaos Theory, and of course dancing the night away for Entertainment night at the Culinary Institute with the BEST DJ in the biz -(shout out ‘007!) I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite EACE conferences yet, and I cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store!

For next year’s 2018 conference in Reston, VA (my hometown!!!!!) I plan on being involved again in any professional development opportunities offered through EACE, and would like to co-chair another committee! 2018’s conference will be a special one for me, as I was born and raised in Reston, VA and am excited for all the EACE members to get to explore the beautiful city of Reston. There are ample opportunities for employer partnerships, sponsorships, and awesome keynote speakers! Cheers to 20 years one more time, and see you all next year in Virginia!

Noelle Brown was a recipient of a 2017 Professional Development Grant.  She attended the EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY in June 2017.

A Year in Employer Relations: What I’ve Learned

By Kerry Spitze, Assistant Director for Alumni and Employer Relations, Ithica College

In July 2016, I accepted a position as the Assistant Director for Alumni & Employer Relations at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. The world of Employer Relations was completely new territory for me, and I knew I had to do my research.  I learned that understanding unique recruiting needs, methods of facilitating connections between multiple parties, and ensuring quality accommodations are all essential ingredients to successful employer engagement.

So how could I best apply this knowledge? Below are two particular strategies that were the most effective over the past year.

1) Employer Spotlight. With there being so many job/internship opportunities available in Handshake, I wanted to boost student awareness of the organizations recruiting with us as well as provide a low investment opportunity for employers to build their brand on campus. What better way to do this than showcase the organization’s logo? Using a content page on our website, I spotlight multiple logos at a time, rotating them based on when postings expire. This iteration came from trial and error…the most recent campaign in June has been the most successful: a mass email inviting trusted employers in Handshake to participate. To date, there have been 263 Spotlight requests, and more continue to come in each day. A free service, this initiative has resulted in positive feedback and opportunities to further develop employer partnerships.

2) Employer Onsite Visits Quite honestly, stepping into the world of employer relations was overwhelming at first. After a few months, I realized I needed to focus locally. I contacted 37 organizations, requesting an onsite meeting to review recruiting needs and collaboration. I received responses from over half, resulting in 18 total onsite visits (48.6% of the total outreach). Nearly each employer I met with expressed gratitude and genuine excitement that our office had reached out. As a result, there have been meaningful faculty/employer connections made and increased opportunities provided.

Conclusion Even though I was initially a bit timid in reaching out to employers to ask if they would be open to talking about collaboration and partnership, I found the responses to be overwhelmingly positive. Employers want to connect with college students. So, I share my own journey in this field in the effort to provide new employer relations professionals with some practical insight into what I have found to be effective. I invite you to take what is meaningful and apply it within the context of your office/institution, and don’t be afraid to tap into your creativity, experience, and insight to find your own unique stride. You’ll be really pleased with the results!

Read the full article:


Contomanolis, M. (2014). Thriving in the brave new world of career services: 10 essential strategies. LinkedIn Pulse. Retrieved from

Hanover Research (2014). 21st Century recruiting and placement strategies. Retrieved from

Student Affairs Leadership Council (SALC). (2012). Developing Next Generation Career Services: Strategies for Increasing Alumni and Employer Engagement. Washington, DC: The Advisory Board Company.


In addition to career development, a key focus of Kerry’s role involves building relationships with key stakeholders to facilitate opportunities.

Rejuvenation! A Reflection on my EACE Experience

By Brittany Duncan, York College of Pennsylvania

As I walked to the falls at 6:05 Thursday morning, I was feeling tired (I hadn’t had my coffee yet!), and overwhelmed by all of the thoughts running through my mind – still reflecting on the end of the academic year, ways to improve, and how I was going to manage to soak up all of the information EACE was going to provide!

Upon arriving at the falls a few minutes later, I had a pause in all of my jumbled thoughts as I stood and took in the scenery.  I had a moment of peace, clarity, and reflection.  I felt invigorated and excited to be standing there, taking in the beauty, and feeling lucky that I had been given the opportunity to travel to Niagara Falls as a recipient of the Professional Development Grant EACE awarded me.  Conference-going is not new to me, but something felt different about EACE.  It was a feeling of connectedness, an excitement that I hadn’t felt at previous large-scale conferences.

Niagara DayOn my walk back (with a lot less noise going in in my head), I was refreshed and ready to take on the day.  I think that’s one of the most important takeaways from the EACE experience as I reflect my walk to the falls and the rest EACE – REJUVENATION!  Starting my position less than a year ago at York College in PA, I was excited to transition back in to the world of career development.   It was a whirlwind fall semester, and an even faster spring semester – I was exhausted by the end!  And not unlike my morning walk to the falls, with all of the chatter in my head, I had a revolving door of ideas in my brain on how I could do better, how I could make more impactful and meaningful connections with my students and YCP, and was I actually doing a good job?  I was in search of some clarity, refreshing ideas, and the need to step outside of my own box. What better way to do that than attend EACE?

EACE provided me with sessions that challenged me to consider my approach to working with students, how I/we deliver our services, that how we advertise matters, and that it’s incredibly easy to fall in to our routines and traditional practices – and that it’s okay to do that, but it’s also okay to try new things!  Also- shout out to Emily Merritt of the University of Connecticut for her “Top Ten Activities for your Career Counseling Toolkit” session!  This fresh perspective on a variety of ways to engage and interact with my students will be extremely helpful moving forward, and made me even more excited for the year to come!

Progressing through the conference, my mind filled with possibility – but instead of feeling overwhelmed, I continued to feel rejuvenatNiagara Nighted (a few more walks to the falls didn’t hurt, either)!  As I left EACE with some new connections and my color-coded conference notes, I think about how I can give back to EACE and how excited I am to be a part of the committees I signed up for.  I’m looking forward to where this organization can take me, and how I can contribute.  The ability to become immediately involved and pursue not only my professional development, but the development of EACE excites me.  I’m ready to take my end of year reflections, the wealth of information I’ve gained, the connections I’ve made – and weave them all together to in my own unique way in order to continue to do the work that I enjoy and appreciate even more after attending EACE.  So now, if I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll take a look at one of my many pictures of the falls and feel ready to accomplish great things.  With a hot cup of coffee in hand, of course.

Brittany Duncan is an Assistant Director at York College of Pennsylvania’s Career Development Center.  Brittany received an EACE Professional Development Grant to attend the 2017 EACE Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.

Top 10 Ways to Get the Most from Your Summer Internship

By Kate Szumanski, Villanova University, Director of Professional Development and Internships

Congratulations! You’ve secured a summer internship! Perhaps you already have worked one, two, or three weeks on the job. You’re adapting to your new routine and schedule, applying your knowledge, exploring career paths, and growing your expertise in the “real world.”

This is terrific, right? We pat ourselves on the back for a job well done.

But now what? What’s next?

You can maximize your summer internship by following my #TopTen tips for success on the job. If you follow this advice, I promise that you’ll gain huge benefits from your summer work experience that will extend well into the new academic year and beyond. These healthy approaches to work will become lifelong healthy habits if you commit to them now.

  1. Arrive on Time. It’s a given, right? Get to work on time. Be punctual. And if the bus or train is late, or if there is a massive traffic jam on the highway, alert your co-workers when you safely can. Your thoughtfulness will be noticed. #Professionalism
  2. Dress for Success. Be clean, neat, and appropriate in attire, and if you have questions about appropriate dress, feel free to ask someone on your team. Again, your thoughtfulness will be noticed. #Professionalism
  3. Bring a Can-Do, Positive Attitude. Everyone gravitates toward the person in the office who is resourceful and motivated, and who creatively and collaboratively solves problems. Be this person. Be the person who everyone else says is a joy to work with. You know this person, and if it is you, all the better. #Professionalism
  4. Show Initiative. Complete your assignments early? Identify a mundane task that needs attention in the workplace? Be the person who says, “May I devote a bit of time to organizing the supply closet?” I can almost guarantee that this type of initiative will get you out of the supply closet and onto a more enriching and meaningful assignment. (But never underestimate the value of a tidy supply closet. Harmonious workplaces are built — in part — on clean and neat shared spaces. It reflects respect for others.) #Professionalism
  5. Meet or Exceed Deadlines. Complete your work accurately and on time. Ensure that the quality of your work is top notch. Don’t sacrifice quality for speed. Don’t rush but don’t dillydally, either. #Professionalism
  6. Communicate Wisely. This is a tricky one. Maybe you initially don’t have questions about your assignments, but as you dive into them, important questions emerge. You might feel embarrassed to ask clarifying questions. On the other hand, maybe you freely ask questions without first doing some smart investigating on your own. (True confession: One of my workplace pet peeves is when I’m asked questions that easily can be answered by some quick Web surfing.) Don’t be “that intern” who either never asks questions or who asks waaaaaay too many. Communicate wisely at the right times. Maybe you have a standing meeting with your supervisor. That’s a good time.Maybe you can e-mail back and forth comfortably. That’s a good strategy. Maybe you can stop by his or her office. That’s another good strategy. Read your supervisor and try to pick up on subtle cues that reveal his or her preferred communication style. Don’t under-communicate, but don’t overdo it, either. #Professionalism
  7. Lunch With Co-Workers. It’s tempting to eat alone or to run errands at lunchtime, and you certainly can spend your lunch hour this way. You also can commit yourself to a professional lunch date once or twice a week. Get to know people in and out of your department. Why did they gravitate to their roles and to this particular organization? What advice do they have for emerging young professionals like you who seek to enter the field? These opportunities allow you to practice the art of networking and science of small talk. You’ll also learn how to talk about yourself in meaningful ways that resonate positively and memorably with others. A HUGE tangential benefit of getting to know your co-workers better is improved teamwork. (See above photo.) We don’t work in isolation, alone in a vacuum. We collaborate with others. Be the intern who both recognizes and values the importance of a high-functioning team! Cultivate team by reaching out and communicating. #Professionalism
  8. Connect on Linked In. Professional relationships can extend well beyond your 10-week summer internship if you remain connected. The social media platform, Linked In, allows you to remain connected to individuals you’ve met on the job. (And while you’re actively connecting on Linked In, be sure to update your Linked In profile with your summer internship.) #Professionalism
  9. Be the Intern Who Says, “YES!” When your boss presents an either challenging or seemingly un-fun project, be the intern who says, “Yes, I’ll do it.” Initiative and positive attitude demonstrated? Check! Face time with the boss? Check! Will this lead to bigger and better things? Potentially a check! A risk worth taking? Yes, you bet it is! #Professionalism
  10. Always, Always Be Professional. If you’ve read this far, you’ve noticed a recurring theme and hashtag: #Professionalism. This concept is described in detail on the Mind Tools Web site, and I’ll quote from it here:

Professionalism is a trait that’s highly valued in the workforce. It has many attributes, including:

  1. Specialized knowledge.
  2. Competency.
  3. Honesty and integrity.
  4. Accountability.
  5. Self-regulation.
  6. Looking the part.

To improve your own professionalism, focus on improving in each of these areas.

Your summer internship will help you develop these areas and understand each more fully.

I’ll leave you with a question that we ask our summer interns at Villanova University in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who are earning academic credit for their summer internships: What does professionalism mean to you?


Kate Szumanski, ’95, ’97, is the director of internships and professional development in the Office for Undergraduate Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Villanova University. Follow her on Twitter @KateSzumanski.

Cranky Director’s Corner – A Word on Work

Let’s get philosophical for a moment, shall we? While perusing the NACE Journal’s May issue I naturally gravitated to the article on what Princeton University has done to reimagine career services. Generally visionary, the piece got me thinking about the nature of work and our relationship to it, both personally and professionally. What exactly do I mean by that? Simply this: we live and operate in a society that views work as a necessary evil, or at least an inconvenience, yet our own professional activities center on helping others acquire jobs and navigate careers. Even Princeton’s use of a three tiered framework – job, career, calling – belies this underlying sense that work must be dressed up to be made palatable. Further evidence lies in how we talk about work and our jobs: TGIF, dreading Mondays, working for the weekend, the threat of delayed retirement. Of course, there is a distinction to be made in the work in our jobs and the frictions, usually with people, that can lead us to desire a break; but there remains an underlying longing to move on to leisure. Why IS binge watching on Netflix so appealing rather than appalling?

Much of this stems from ancient Greek thinking that exalted leisure and reviled labor. Apparently Olympus was filled with gods living the life of Riley while humans had been tricked or trapped into working. Plato, Aristotle, and the rest of the thinking class perpetuated and reinforced this concept. Clearly we have inherited that thinking. And by we I mean all cultures influenced by the ancient Greeks, including those “visited” by Alexander. Follow your passion/calling/love and you will never work a day in your life, right? The subtext is clear, work is to be avoided.

We can attempt a biological explanation. Physical and mental labor burns energy and we naturally want to conserve energy for survival. We also tend to avoid discomfort, and physical work can leave us sore, stiff, or even injured. That said, some of us then go to the gym, run marathons, tackle challenging puzzles, or write poetry as leisure activities. We look forward to and will expend time and energy on something we designate leisure more readily than something we designate work. While the matter offers more complexity than this, the point remains.

By reinforcing this way of thinking embedded in our culture we perpetrate at least two harms. First, we create a hierarchy of labor which leads to a hierarchy of laborers. The poor shlub on the back of the garbage truck (job) compared to career development directors (career, hopefully calling). Second, we ignore or devalue the intrinsic value of work. You could point out we in fact value hard work and speak highly of those with a strong work ethic, but we usually apply that to work with a goal, as opposed to valuing the work itself. Work is the way to get the payoff, as opposed to being the payoff.

I challenge all of us as we tip into summer to take time to rethink our relationship to work – how we think about it, talk about it, teach about it – and bring a new, countercultural notion to the activities we expend energy on. Can we effect such radical change? Maybe, maybe not. Resistance will be high. But who is better positioned to introduce and advocate for a new way of relating to work?

The cranky director will deliver rants on the economy, technology, social engineering, lack of a really good nearby regional BBQ place (falafel solved!), and idiot politicians (broadly defined)  to your computer desktop of preferred mobile device the fourth Friday of every month.

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