January 28, 2008

Gateway Program Helps Students Define Career Paths

Program aids students from first year on campus to graduation

Even for students who are sure of what they want to do after Lafayette, Career Services’ Gateway program can be a helpful tool in preparing for life after graduation.

With no better time to start than the first year, Gateway outlines four steps for students at all stages of the career search. Each is designed to help students explore options, gain experience, and plan for the future.

Career Services advises first-year students to evaluate how their interests, skills, and talents connect to specific career fields and opportunities for graduate studies. At a group Gateway orientation session, students learn how their whole Lafayette experience can benefit their long term goals.

Thinking about a future career in law or business, Angela Urbano ’11 (Bethlehem, Pa.) has met with Maureen Walz Boehmer, assistant director for special events at Career Services, to help focus her career objectives in order to better plan her four years at Lafayette.

“Although I am still in the beginning stages of the Gateway program as well as my college career, I have already gained a more realistic perspective about the job market, the interviewing process, and the importance of networking,” says Urbano. “I received constructive feedback on the development and presentation of my resume to best highlight my strengths, talents, and career goals. Maureen spent a lot of time with me revising it so that it can best represent who I am.”

Sophomores receive help developing a network of contacts and securing their first major career experiences. Career Services strongly encourages alumni externships, which allow students to make valuable connections and observe what a day in the life of someone with their desired career actually entails.

Mechanical engineering major Chris Shumeyko ’10 (Vestal, N.Y.) has a specific plan for his future. He would like to become a mechanical ride systems engineer for Walt Disney Imagineering. The Gateway program has aided him in working toward this goal.

“The Gateway program has not only helped me find opportunities for internships, but I also learned the importance of first impressions, proper resumes, and networking,” he says. “I’ve gained important alumni connections through the Gateway program and I’ve built a strong resume with the help of my Gateway counselor. Obtaining my dream job won’t be easy, but the Gateway program has definitely brought the goal within reach.”

For juniors, the program helps build their network of contacts, expand career-related skills, and focus on specific employers or graduate and professional schools. Juniors concentrate on serving internships, conducting informational interviews, and investigating graduate or professional schools.

Sara Walter ’09 (Kempton, Pa.), who is double-majoring in history and government & law and Spanish, feels that she has also benefited from being a Gateway ambassador and from working with her Gateway counselor Alana Gallo, assistant director of Career Services.

“I think that the Gateway program has allowed me to explore my career interests and make meaningful connections professionally which will undoubtedly help me later on in life as I am applying to graduate school and looking for a job,” she says.

Walter would like to attend graduate school for a Ph.D. in American history, as well as an M.A. in museum studies. Externship and internship experiences have allowed her to explore these fields. She had an externship in 2007 over the interim session at the Franklin Institute with Dale McCreedy, director of family and gender programming, and during the summer of 2007 she worked as an intern at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in the Division of Work and Industry. Walter is currently beginning a related internship at the National Museum for Industrial History in Bethlehem, a Smithsonian-affiliated museum.

Walter found the networking nights to be particularly helpful in allowing her to make valuable connections in her field.

“I love the networking nights because sometimes it can be so intimidating to make a cold call to an alumni, but with these nights, all of these important and interesting people are in one room and really are incredibly interested in what I want to do and what I have to say,” says Walter. “Actually, the D.C. networking weekend helped me land my first internship on Capitol Hill.”

As seniors, students begin to see how the preparation through Gateway pays off. They receive valuable help practicing for interviews and landing desired jobs. Career Services encourages students to take advantage of on-campus interviews. Students headed to graduate and professional schools also put the finishing touches on their applications.

Mark Price ’08 (Dublin, Ohio), who will graduate in May with a degree in mathematics-economics, has accepted a position as a financial consultant with IBM. He credits the Gateway program with helping him get the job.

“If it were not for the Gateway program, I would still be searching for a job. Before I joined the program, I did not have any work experience or even a resume,” explains Price. “Meeting with the counselors on a regular basis put me on the right track…from creating a resume and preparing for interviews to selecting an industry that interested me.”

For more information on the Gateway program, visit Career Services at 201 Hogg Hall, or call x5115.

  • Career Services

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