May 1, 2009

Gateway Program Helps Students Define Career Paths

Program helps students from orientation to graduation and beyond

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 career in finance, Miao Wang ’12 (Cheng De He Bei, China) is confident that the Gateway program will help him achieve his goals.

Even though he is just a first-year student, he has already taken part in two externships at financing firms through Career Services. He also has participated in networking nights, resume building workshops, and mock interviews with professional recruiters.

“The Gateway program is a very rich resource for students,” says Wang. “Through Gateway, Career Services not only provides students with great internship and job opportunities, but it also provides experience and skills which will be really important for future careers.”

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.

Through his experiences with the Gateway program, Robert Glenn ’11 (Philadelphia, Pa.) has attained a tighter focus on his career goals.

“I plan on going to graduate school after college, and I want to either work in the sports management field or practice law,” says the economics and business major. “Gateway has been able to help me narrow down what I want to do by exposing me to different areas through networking nights, externships, and other forms of communication with alumni.”

Glenn, who is a member of the College’s Division I men’s soccer team, participated in an externship with a criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia and will have a summer internship with Comcast-Spectacor, a Philadelphia sports and entertainment firm.

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.

Kira Varela ’10 (Easton, Pa.) has been very active in the Gateway program. She has participated in three externships, two internships, alumni networking nights, and career counseling.

“Through Career Services, I have made so many valuable connections,” says Varela, a mechanical engineering major. “Lafayette alumni are everywhere. I have gained a variety of experiences so that I will be able to make an informed career decision upon graduation.”

Varela plans to go to graduate school to become either a physician or a bioengineering researcher. She credits her Gateway adviser with helping her obtain her internships and externships, which were all in the medical and engineering fields, as well as giving her a “sense of confidence and professionalism.”

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.

The preparation Hannah Fink ’09 (Whitehall, Pa.) has put in since her first semester has paid off by being accepted in the Ph.D. program in toxicology at the University of Maryland.

“Career Services, specifically director Linda Arra, has been instrumental in my process of selecting and applying for graduate school programs. She spent countless hours discussing options with me, revising my application essays, recommending web sites or books to help determine what schools to apply to, and advising me on making the right decision once I had my program options to choose from.”

Fink, who played for the College’s Division I women’s soccer team and performed research with professors on projects looking at water contamination, served a three-day externship in the human genetics research lab of Alan Shuldiner ’79 at University of Maryland’s School of Medicine. She has also participated in resume building workshops and Career Services’ Job Fair.

posted in News and Features

tagged with