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Women of Color in Career Services: Research Findings and Recommendations for Practitioners

By Espie Santiago, CollegeNET & Larry Jackson, Northwestern University

Women of color (WOC) represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. workforce (Catalyst, 2018). Additional research from Catalyst (2018) and recent articles from USA Today (2017) and Forbes (2015) discuss the employment landscape and woes for WOC. Yet, little research has addressed the professional aspirations and challenges of WOC in higher education, let alone career services. According to statistics that were collected from NACE for a recent study/presentation, WOC are the least likely to attain senior leadership roles compared to white men and women, and men of color.

 These findings prompted us to investigate the barriers impacting career advancement for WOC in career services, especially since their presence is expected to increase within the field. We spearheaded a study interviewing 15 WOC staff and 21 senior administrators within career services across 30 U.S. institutions. A majority of the participants represented centralized career services offices at four-year institutions with a relatively equal representation of private and public institutions. In addition to collecting demographic information (e.g., gender, ethnicity), respondents shared their work history and challenges they experienced throughout their career. Participants were also asked to give their perceptions on issues impacting WOC in the workplace and to provide suggestions on how the career services field could offer better support. From these discussions, three key findings emerged to bring greater insight to this topic:


  1. WOC staff in career services experience similar challenges as WOC in other industries. Implicit/explicit bias, stereotyping, and tokenism were frequently reported throughout the study, just as these practices have been reported by WOC in other fields by various sources and articles. These negative experiences left lasting impressions on WOC staff within career services resulting in self-image concerns, including imposter syndrome. Some felt the need to minimize their identities to be accepted by colleagues and managers, while questioning their self-efficacy within the workplace.
  2. WOC staff report having many professional strengths beneficial to senior roles within career services. Strong management skills, along with being strategic, inclusive, passionate and relational, were common attributes cited during the interviews. Additionally, having a strong work ethic stood out as one of their greatest characteristics. Yet, WOC believed the latter quality commonly got overlooked by colleagues.
  3. There is a disparity between the obstacles white administrators faced with advancing their careers compared to people of color (POC) in senior administrator positions.   

One-third of the senior administrators interviewed identified as white/Caucasian. When asked about the challenges they experienced with career advancement, many reported that the application process was their greatest hurdle. Concerns over educational requirements, sufficient professional experience, and position availability delayed their ascension to senior level roles. This discovery demonstrated a stark contrast from POC who had to face stereotyping and imposter syndrome along with navigating application requirements.

With these findings revealed, it is important to consider, “What can the career services field do to better support WOC in their professional ambitions?” Below are recommendations to assist staff, administrators, and institutions with creating a more inclusive space for WOC to succeed in their vocational goals:

  1. Provide encouragement and professional support regarding career aspirations. Strive to understand the experiences, goals, and apprehensions of WOC. Verbally affirm their strengths, articulating how they have been an asset to the work of the office, institution, and field. Additionally, support opportunities for WOC to undertake additional projects or responsibilities within or outside the office to enhance their skills. Permitting WOC to have an outlet to grow their skills and experiences shows that you have confidence in their abilities to make a meaningful impact in the workplace.
  2. Establish a mentorship ecosystem. Connect WOC to experienced leaders within higher education to provide greater exposure and knowledge of the administrative landscape and strengthen their professional network. Many WOC staff from the study reported having difficulty with finding professional mentors on their own. Therefore, it is essential that experienced leaders take an active role in introducing WOC to colleagues within the field so they become more informed, visible, and connected as they pursue advancement opportunities.
  3. Actively engage in dismantling systemic barriers within career services to create pathways for career advancement. Vocalize opposition to policies and practices that limit inclusion and equity for WOC within the workplace. Evaluate and enhance the recruitment of WOC into our field and senior roles.


Supporting WOC will be an ongoing conversation as the U.S. workforce becomes more diverse. Yet, with enough knowledge, passion, and purpose to initiate change, we are confident that the career services profession can be a leading force in creating opportunities for WOC to thrive professionally and shine brightly within the field.


Guynn, J. (2017, April 27) Here’s Why Women, Blacks and Hispanics are Leaving Tech. USA Today. Retrieved from

Quick Take: Women of Color in the United States (2018). Retrieved from

Travis, D.J., & Thorpe-Moscon, J. (2018) Day-to-day Experiences of Emotional Tax Among Women and Men of Color in the Workplace. Retrieved from

Tulshyan, R. (2015, Feb. 10) Speaking Up as a Woman of Color at Work. Forbes. Retrieved from


Larry Jackson – Assistant Director for Student Career Advising, Northwestern Career Advancement

Larry Jackson is a career adviser at Northwestern Career Advancement. Throughout his time at Northwestern, Larry has contributed to numerous initiatives on-campus to create inclusive spaces for staff and students within different affinity groups. Larry is actively involved in the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE) and the Hire Big 10+ Consortium through leadership positions and committee work. Larry is also a NACE/Spelman Johnson Rising Star Award Winner and has presented at Midwest ACE and NASPA regional and national conferences.

Espie Santiago, Director of Employer Relationships, CollegeNET

Espie is passionate about developing an inclusive leadership pipeline for the career services profession. After fifteen years in career education at Stanford University, she joined CollegeNET as Director of Employer Relationships for StandOut®, a video recruitment platform. At Stanford, Espie was Assistant Dean of Career Ventures, overseeing recruiting programs, and Assistant Dean of Career Communities, leading career coaches. She served as NACE 2016-2017 Inclusion Awareness Committee co-chair. Her presentations include, “Women of Color in Career Services – Creating Pathways for Career Advancement” (Midwest ACE 2018) and “Navigating the Culture of Whiteness & Patriarchy: Women of Color in Higher Education Leadership” (NASPA: 2018).



Meet Cheresa Fewell – EACE Member Spotlight

Cheresa Fewell

Career and Internship Advisor, St. John’s University,

Cheresa Fewell

Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

Queens, NY

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I enjoy watching football and basketball when they are in season, cooking, trying and finding new restaurants, going to the beach, and catching up with friends.

Why do you do what you do?

I enjoy helping individuals to find their career or job based on their passion and desire. Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Sometimes I like to call myself the job whisperer.

What is your educational background?

AA in Psychology, BA in Psychology, & MS in Human Resource Management

What was your first job?

For my first job in my career, I was a Work Readiness Instructor/Youth Advocate at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.

What is the best advice you ever received?

When there is no path, go and create one!

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to you, that will allow you to succeed in this business.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I like would like to race cars one day; I have a need for speed. LOL

Want to be featured as an EACE member on the EACE Trending Blog? Just fill out this form here. Thank you!

Get on Board!



The process of selecting future EACE leaders through board nomination is vital for the growth of our organization. What better way to learn about the board then from hearing from some current board members!

“Being on the board helps develop leadership skills and gives you the chance to grow professionally outside of your day to day job responsibilities.”

Craig Single, President-Elect


“Joining the EACE Board will expand your network so you can meet more motivated leaders who will help you continue your career journey!”

Stacy McClelland, Past President


“Advance your career and professional development through epic networking and recruitment opportunities!”

Terri Morris, Director of Employer Member Services


“Being on the EACE Board is one of the greatest professional development decisions I’ve ever made. Having the chance to shape the future of an organization whose mission I live every day has been incredibly rewarding, and working with wonderful professionals that I’m lucky to now call friends has made leadership downright fun!”

Amy Smith, Director of Technology & Information Management


“When an opportunity comes along to make a difference and potentially do something great, you should grab it!  Becoming a member of the EACE Board affords you the opportunity to build connections, stay current in your field, learn from EACE leaders, expand your network and knowledge outside of your place of employment, share your talents and skills, make an impact on something bigger than you, and overall grow as a professional.”

Jennifer Grauso, Director of Professional Development


Educate yourself on the latest happenings in the field.

Ample opportunities to develop leadership and managerial skills.

Create new initiatives to help grow the organization for the future.

Expand your network with leaders throughout the region.

Christine Cervelli, Director of Membership Recruitment & Retention


Educate yourself and others on industry trends.

Accelerate your leadership skills.

Connect with outstanding colleagues across the East Coast!

Enlarge your vision of what’s possible in recruitment and career development.

Zachary Saeva, Director of Public Relations and Communication


Meet Amanda Chase – EACE Member Spotlight

Amanda Chase

Career Counselor & Internship Coordinator, University of Vermont,

AmandaChase - Amanda Chase

What do you do in your current position?

I wear a few different hats: I counsel students and alumni as they apply for internships, jobs, and other opportunities. I also consult with employers on internship best practices and help them find promising UVM interns. Lastly, I collaborate with UVM faculty and staff to create and administer internship programs and policies across our campus.

Where are you originally from?

I grew up about 30 miles from New York City in a town called Chappaqua, NY.

Where do you live now?

Burlington, Vermont

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

I love being outside, so you can often find me mountain biking and skiing. I also enjoy working with my hands and tinkering away on DIY projects.

Why do you do what you do?

Some of my own most significant career training has happened through experiential learning (that is, learning by doing), which is why I love my position as the Internship Coordinator. Internships are a great way that students can gain experience, make connections to future employers, narrow career goals and focus, and develop important on-the-job skills.

What is your educational background?

My educational and career interests have all related to working with students in times of transition. For my undergraduate work. I studied Psychology at Hamilton College and conducted research on the impacts of a wilderness pre-orientation program and how it helped first-year students adjust to college. After that, I relocated to Vermont to earn my Master’s degree in Counseling at UVM. I worked as a high school counselor and in college admissions before arriving at the UVM Career Center. I’m currently a doctoral candidate in the Ed.D program at UVM and researching the ways that cultural, social, and economic capital impact access to internship opportunities.

What was your first job?

A lifeguard at a Girl Scout camp. I loved it.

What is the best advice you ever received?

Someone once told me that you often don’t realize what your values are until they have been breached. In that way, even the worst experiences can help you clarify your values and learn about what’s most important to you.

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Connect with other people doing this work, and always be opening to learning new things. This field is ever-changing, and you must keep learning to keep up and improve what you do.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I love puns and competed in a pun-off event last year. I lost to an eleven-year-old, which was humbling. I wanted to be like Punder Woman, but I was more Attila the Pun.

Want to be featured as an EACE member on the EACE Trending Blog? Just fill out this form here. Thank you!


by Lisa Hansinger, Saint Joseph’s University

Looking for Board Nominations for the 2019/2020 Year!  Time to Get Involved to “Paint” Your Future!

Everyone knows someone – jump into the New Year by nominating a colleague (or yourself!) who has something valuable to contribute to the profession.  The following positions are available:

  1. President-Elect
  2. Director of Finance
  3. Director of Diversity and Inclusion
  4. Director of PR & Communications

Simply log in to your EACE account and go to the to submit your nomination – it will take less than 5 minutes to complete the form – and can make a world of difference to our members!  Thank you for your active participation in EACE! Visit the website for details:

Know Someone Who is Making an Impact in Our Profession?  Or Someone Who is Deserving of Recognition for Past Service?  Nominations for 2019 Awards Open on January 22!

We all have colleagues who either have already contributed to our profession in a significant way  AND/OR are doing creative and cutting edge programming – be among the first to “shine a light” on them for an award to be presented at the 2019 Conference in Hartford, CT!  Award categories include:

  • Innovation and Leadership Awards
    • Distinguished Leadership Award
    • Innovation in Assessment Award
    • Innovation in Program Development Award
    • Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion Award
  • Service Awards
    • Tribute Award
    • Outstanding Member Award
    • Rising Star Award

Be on the lookout for an email with a link to nominate a deserving and hard-working colleague – it will take less than 5 minutes to complete the form – and can bring some well-deserved recognition to another member.  Thank you for your active participation in EACE! Visit the website for details:

Lisa is a Career Counselor at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. She currently sits on the Leadership and Recognition Committee and has been an EACE member for 3 years. She has attended two previous EACE Conferences and looks forward to making a more active contribution to the association and profession moving forward!

Promoting Career Readiness at Community Colleges

By Nadine Verna, Montclair State University

As community college becomes increasingly attractive to cost-conscious high school graduates and nontraditional learners, preparing students for the workforce has become a major priority for career services staff at these institutions.  The timing for enhanced community college career development couldn’t be better, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 17.6% growth in jobs that require an associate’s degree by 2022.  However, with varying student abilities and limited departmental budgets challenging progress, the selection of career services can vary greatly from institution to institution.


Helen Boyke*, who helped launch the Career Readiness Initiative, a program at Norwalk Community College that promotes NACE’s career readiness competencies, got to see first-hand the impact of customizing career programs to meet community college students’ needs.  Below are her suggestions for successfully preparing community college students for the job market:


Share the good news.  There is a growing market for professionals at the associate’s degree level, including well-paying positions like Dental Hygienists, Registered Nurses, Legal Assistants, Construction Managers, Physical therapy assistants and Web developers.  Meanwhile the average salary for associate’s degree grads is $52,830, as opposed to $36,100 for high school graduates.  Students should be exposed to such statistics and provided opportunities to explore career possibilities through educational programs, on-campus employer information sessions, and site visits such as those provided through EACE’s Road Trips to the Real World program to generate excitement about and motivation for professional development.


Meet students where they are.  Be sure to connect with students early in their academic careers, sending introductory emails and participating in new student orientation.  Message to students that career services provides an opportunity to grow – they need not have their careers figured out before seeking support from the office.  Meanwhile, challenge them to take ownership of their career journey.


Keep it simple.  Recognizing that anxiety often accompanies career-related discussions and that community college students are a diverse group with different backgrounds and levels of college readiness, develop a plan or design a program that is easy for them to follow and promote self-care along the way.  Also, prepare checklists and/or timelines that will keep students on track and allow you to hold them accountable.  Free templates for career readiness program materials are available.


Partner with others. Once you assess students and determine areas that need support and development (see EACE’s Assessment Resource Center for tools), identify and refer them to the appropriate offices, academic departments, and organizations.  Also, develop relationships with staff at those entities to cross-promote programs and collaborate on new initiatives.  Consider partnering with other campuses that have similar missions and populations as well.

*Helen Boyke recently transitioned to a new role at Sacred Heart University


Nadine Verna currently serves as the Director of Career Development for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University. She also heads Membership Outreach Campaigns for the EACE PR and Marketing Committee. In addition to career services, Nadine has held posts in admissions, academic advising, and multicultural affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, journaling and traveling.

Meet Danielle Fine! EACE Member Spotlight

Danielle Fine

Campus Recruiting, Baker Tilly,

Danielle Fine

Where are you originally from?


Where do you live now?

Arlington, VA

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

Paddleboard, spend time with friends, family, and my dogs.

Why do you do what you do?

I enjoy connecting with students early on in their college careers and guiding them down a path that offers so many opportunities

What is your educational background?

I graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management

What was your first job?

Event Coordinator for a trade association

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Understand that it typically takes a year for someone to get acquainted with their role, the key players and ownership of responsibilities.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I barely passed my accounting class in undergrad, and now work for a public accounting firm.

Want to be featured as an EACE member on the EACE Trending Blog? Just fill out this form here. Thank you!

Meet Steven Patrick Wilt! EACE Member Spotlight

Steven Patrick Wilt

Career Services Coordinator, Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus,


Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania

Outside of work, what are some of your favorite things to do?

Outside of work, I enjoy gaming in all its various forms – video games, board games, card games, as well as tabletop games such as Dungeons & Dragons. The individuals I have met through gaming-related experiences have been some of the most interesting people I have ever encountered. They have rich backgrounds filled with fascinating stories and countless adventures. They also have a unique way of looking at world, the problems that exist within it, and arrive at some of the most creative solutions you will ever hear. Beyond gaming, I can often be found walking my dog on the trail near my home, visiting family out of state, or spending an evening out with my partner.

Why do you do what you do?

I believe everyone can passionately pursue purpose but cannot always easily recognize or define what that purpose may be. I was fortunate enough to find mine because of mentorship I received through graduate school. I want others to have that opportunity – to find meaning and purpose in all that they do.

What is your educational background?

I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus and a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the California University of Pennsylvania.

What was your first job?

My very first paying job was a babysitter. I come from a very large family, so there were plenty of opportunities to make and save money as I was growing up. My four older siblings have 3+ kids each so I learned a lot of valuable skills from those experiences.

What is the best advice you ever received?

“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” This is a quote by Kobi Yamada, but my mentor Gina Watts used it often when talking to me about fear, doubt, and taking risks.

For someone starting in your field, what advice would you give?

Don’t be too hard on yourself. The amount of information out there regarding job trends, best practices, and everything related to career development and coaching is overwhelming. You will probably never learn it all – and that’s okay. Allow yourself to be human.

What is something that might surprise us about you?

I am able to solve a Rubik’s Cube. It is something I learned from a fellow intern many years ago.

Want to be featured on the EACE Trending blog as an EACE member? Just fill out the Google form here. Thank you! 

Ask the Recruiter Series! Submit now!

Although many of us give great job search advice to students on a daily basis, we all know the value for students to hear that advice directly from a recruiter. As a result, the EACE Trending Blog is excited to announce the start of a new series called “Ask the Recruiter.”

two person in formal attire doing shakehands

Photo by on

The goal of this series is to have recruiters share their expertise and advice on the internship and job search process so that career development professionals can better address students’ concerns. Some questions may include, “Do you actually read cover letters?” or “What do want to hear in the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question?” We aim to feature a different industry recruiter each month to showcase a breadth of industry-specific advice as well as general job search advice.

If you’re a recruiter interested in sharing your expertise with us, please fill out this and we’ll be able to feature your advice in the coming months!

5 Reasons You Should Visit HubSpot for EACE Road Trips to the Real World!

5 Reasons You Should Register to Visit HubSpot for RTRW by December 7th, 2018

Hi, we’re HubSpot!

Founded in 2006, we provide marketing, sales and customer service software that helps businesses attract, engage and delight customers on the web. Through this road trip, we’re excited to open our offices to you to share more about what we do and what it’s like to work here.

For example, here are 5 things that we’re looking forward to talking about during this road trip:

1) It’s a great place to work.

Hubspot 1

We’re proud of our strong commitment to employee culture, especially as we continue to scale globally. Recently, HubSpot was named a Best Place to Work in 2019 thanks to employee reviews on Glassdoor, a Top Place to Work in Massachusetts by the Boston Globe, and also a Best Workplace for Women by Great Place to Work and Fortune.

2) For students, we’re a great place to start your career.

Hubspot 2

We offer career opportunities just for students in the form of internships, co-ops, and entry-level positions across HubSpot. We’re growing fast and that means there’s endless opportunity for you to do the same. We’re invested in helping you build a career you love from day one and have the culture to prove it.

3) You can have a big impact here and give you complete autonomy to do so.

Hubspot 3

From marketing to engineering, there are big challenges yet to be solved at HubSpot. Because we care more about curiosity than experience, you’ll work on tasks alongside experienced team members that directly impact our customers, business, and employees. Additionally, transparency is at the heart of HubSpot culture. You’ll have access to all the resources and information you need to take ownership and make key decisions.

4) We’re passionate about creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity.

Hubspot 4At HubSpot, we’re proud to have employee-led resource groups (ERGs) that help create safe, open environments for personal and professional growth for everyone. In addition, we also are passionate about promoting diversity not just at HubSpot, but within our global community. Through our ERGs, we host programming in our offices to provide a forum to have a dialogue around current issues impacting individuals in our communities and the workplace.

For example, McKinsey’s recent Women in the Workplace 2018 report revealed that women continue to be underrepresented in leadership – and that gap is even larger for women of color. That’s why HubSpot and female leaders of color from different industries are coming together for a candid talk about why this gap in leadership exists and how businesses can support and advance the careers of women of color. (Want to join the conversation? You’re invited to! Learn more and register for a spot here.)

5) HubSpot is in an exciting period of incredible growth.

Hubspot 5

As we help businesses grow better, we’re also growing with them all over the the world.

We currently have offices all over the globe in the US (Cambridge, MA and Portsmouth, NH), Dublin, Berlin, Tokyo, Singapore, Sydney, and Bogota. We’re opening new offices in locations like Paris and Bogota to meet more communities in these regions and support demand for HubSpot’s software solutions. We’re also expanding our current offices, such as our Dublin and Singapore offices, in order to support our continued growth where we already are.

Looking forward to talking about HubSpot more and seeing our culture in-person at our global headquarters here in Cambridge, MA? Register for your Road Trip spot here!

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