Where They Are Now – Cailin Pachter, Muhlenberg College
Director of Pre-Professional Advising, Muhlenberg College
Cailin has a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a minor in Psychology from Lehigh University and a Master’s in Community Counseling from Eastern Kentucky University. She is currently working on a certificate in English from Muhlenberg (expected this month), just for fun! Cailin has been in her current role for one year and with the Muhlenberg College for 14 years.
What was your career path to get your current role? Student Services Counselor at Somerset Community College, Somerset, KY; Counselor, Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), Louisville, KY; Undergraduate Student Counselor, University of Maryland University College, College Park, MD; Career Counselor, Career Center, University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD; Career Counselor, Career Center, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA; Assistant Director, Career Center, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA; Associate Director, Career Center, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA; Interim Director, Career Center, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA; Director, Career Center, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA and current role
What was your first job? My very first job out of college was a waitress in a bookstore/cafe in Elkins, WV. My first professional job was in Student Services for a branch campus of a community college in Kentucky.
Why did you choose this career? I sort of fell into a career in higher education. I was working on my Masters in Counseling and a neighbor who worked for the local community college told me about a job opening there. When I moved to Louisville, Kentucky, I found a job with a TRIO program that helped people get enrolled in college. My favorite part of that job was the career counseling – especially the assessments like the Strong and the MBTI. When I later moved to Maryland, and then Pennsylvania, I chose to concentrate in career development. Last year I was given the opportunity to move into a position at Muhlenberg that focuses on pre-professional advising. I work with pre-law students and also those going into the health professions. As I begin my college education as “pre-med”, I feel I have come full-circle.
What is the skill that is most important in your current role? Knowledge – As an advisor, I am expected to be knowledgeable regarding what it takes to be admitted into professional school. I need to know what classes they should take, what experiences they should have, what the admissions committees are “looking for”, etc. Communication – Not only do I need to be knowledgeable, I need to be able to convey this knowledge appropriately. I meet regularly with every student to get to know them and answer their questions. Writing – I must write a letter of evaluation for every student who is applying to medical, dental, podiatry and optometry school. This requires me to be reflective, thorough, and honest.
How did you develop this skill and how do you fine-tune it regularly? Knowledge – I read as much as I can about my field and confer with my colleagues when I have questions. I also attend annual meetings and conferences. Communication – I meet regularly with all students and practice the active listening skills I learned in graduate school. Writing – For the past number of years I have been taking writing-intensive courses in the English Department at Muhlenberg. I believe this has enhanced my writing skills.
What is your biggest career accomplishment? Wow – this is a tough one! Perhaps it was making my way from a part-time career counselor in 1999 up to the Career Center Director in 2008. I didn’t necessarily have aspirations of being a director when I started, but one thing led to another. It was a terrific journey!
How many years were you a member of EACE?: About 15 years
Did you serve on the Board of Directors or as a Committee Chair? I served on and then co-chaired the Awards and Grants Committee. I served on and then co-Chaired the Annual Conference Program Committee. I co-chaired the Annual Conference in Hunt Valley, MD. I co-chaired the Professional Development Committee. I ran for the Board a few times but never won – I was asked to step in for a board member who was taking a leave of absence, but that was right when I learned I would be leaving Career Development.
How did EACE help you in your personal career development? It definitely taught me a lot about networking. I met a lot of great people in EACE and continue to keep in touch as much as possible.
Did you have an EACE Mentor or another member of EACE serve as your unofficial mentor? Helen Brown was a great help to me, as was Deborah D’Atillio – especially during my time as conference co-chair. John Fracchia was a huge supporter as well.
What is your advice to current EACE members who aspire to your current or a similar role to yours? I’m not sure any of them are aspiring to be a pre-professional advisor, but the best thing they can do to advance their careers is to get to know lots of people and be willing to help in any way they can. You never know when you might need something in return some day. In the meantime, you will learn lots!
Cailin did not visit her career center when in college.