For Briana Strachan ’11, an internship at Black Entertainment Television (BET) and guidance and workshops from Lafayette’s Gateway program led to the English graduate’s first job after school in the network’s human resources department.
“Gateway has been instrumental to me,” she says. “Career Services provides very specialized opportunities. The staff listens to student needs and incorporates these into the program. They help make you a much better candidate for employment in the field you wish to pursue.”
Career Services’ Gateway program outlines four steps for students of any major and at any stage of the career search to prepare for life after graduation. Each step coordinates with a class year and is designed to help students explore options, gain experience, and plan for the future.
Gateway counselors and student ambassadors help first-year students complete their “first-year roadmap,” which evaluates how students’ 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.
Sophomores receive help developing a network of contacts and securing their first major career experiences. Career Services strongly encourages alumni externship job shadowing experiences, which allow students to make valuable connections and observe what a day in the life of someone with their desired career actually entails.
Through her experiences with Gateway, English major Lily Yengle ’14 (Chester, N.J.) has become less stressed about the process of finding her “dream job.” She took part in an externship hosted by Mary Austin ’86, president of Tierney Communications public relations firm, as well as other resume building and networking opportunities.
“Before Gateway, I thought people held one job their whole lives so it would be really stressful to pick one,” says Yengle. “But the exposure I’ve already had to many different fields has helped me realize that I can have an evolving career throughout my life, and that it won’t be impossible to have a job that I love.”
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.
Madeline Laskoski ’13 (Goshen, N.Y.) participated in a winter externship with Claudine Lilien ’90, senior vice president of cross divisional integrated sales and marketing Fox Entertainment Group in New York City, which lead to a summer internship with Fox Cable.
“I have always been interested in broadcast journalism and production, but my internship has taught me that there are such a wide variety of jobs within media that I do not want to limit myself,” she says.
A government and law major, Laskoski hopes to get a job in the media industry with a focus on politics.
“All of the preparation I did in my first year paid off. By the time I am a senior, I will have a strong network of contacts and a lot of experience in the working world.”
Like Laskoski, seniors 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.
For Cara Lyons ’11, multiple externships, networking opportunities, and resume and grad school application guidance helped her get accepted into an engineering program at Villanova University.
“My Gateway adviser was exceptional in helping me create and edit my resumes, finding GRE practice help, and obtaining externships,” says the civil engineering graduate. “I also received significant help with the graduate school admissions process.”
Brent Hoagland ’12 (Hamilton, N.J.), a double major in biology and economics, has taken part in multiple externships and internships in preparation for a career in the finance industry.
“Gateway has helped propel my experiences on campus into professional experiences off campus — from creating a strong resume and researching career options through an exclusive Lafayette students-only database, meeting with alumni, refining my networking skills, updating my professional brand, and landing internship and job offers.”