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Around the Water Cooler

EACE contribution by Susan E. Chappell, M.Ed., Employer Engagement Coordinator at Penn State University

Entrepreneurship is playing a much larger role on our campuses these days. I am not referring to our own actions as Career Center staff, although I think that by nature, many of us operate within the realm of innovation and entrepreneurship quite naturally. But rather, discussion has been heating up around our water cooler regarding how many of our students are taking a less traditional route to employment these days and instead, launching businesses – some while still undergraduates – and quite successfully too. Many of these businesses are taking shape on a state, national, and even global stage.

As a part of our university’s planning for the annual system-wide career services conference, this topic has emerged as one of our focal points along with several questions. How are we supporting the entrepreneurial student? Are we even seeing these innovative career builders in our offices? And if not, how can we create better pathways for our students to key resources that will help them incubate a business? This is a new arena for many career services professionals, and we are excited to explore this topic in greater detail this spring with those who know it best: our entrepreneurial alumni.

We look forward to inviting them into the career development conversation to learn more about the catalysts that drew them into the entrepreneurial world. We want to know about the resources that they wished they had known about sooner or that didn’t exist but should have. And as we incorporate what we learn into the framework of our most recent strategic plan, how should we be accounting for these elements in career development programming and engaged scholarship initiatives?

So, as you gather around your own water cooler this spring, we invite you to join us in the conversation. How are you supporting the entrepreneurial student?

Susan Chappell

Susan Chappell

Susan Chappell, M.Ed., is a Penn State alumnae and the Eastern Region Employer Engagement Coordinator for Penn State University’s Career Services team. During her time at Penn State, she has worked within the Division of Undergraduate Studies, Alumni Relations, Corporate Engagement, and Outreach and Continuing Education before joining Career Services.

Sue currently sits on the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers (PennACE), Employer Relations Committee, the Penn State University Career Services Advisory Board at University Park, and the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE), Professional Exchange Committee.

Sue Chappell can be reached at or

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