Career Education offers inside scoop on how to achieve career goals

It may be February, but the Office of Career Education has its sights set on summer. With speakers lined up and plenty of ice cream to go around, the office’s “Summer Scoop Series” gave students the opportunity to not only think about their summer plans, but also take actionable steps to see their internship and career goals met in the coming months.

Held in room 301/302 of the Henderson Campus Center, the series started on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with a session about research opportunities on and off campus. The Feb. 15 session, “Developing Career Skills,” focused on the work experience of four students and featured career advice from Executive Director of Career Education Brian Collingwood.

“It’s really important that we offer opportunities for students to engage with our office, in particular career education, throughout the year,” Collingwood said.

Group discussion sessions like the Summer Scoop Series gave students the opportunity to reflect on their past work experiences while looking toward the future, and how those experiences could translate into a future career or graduate school application.

Learning how to leverage past experiences into future career opportunities was a concern that First Year Dean Niki Fjeldal had previously heard from students, leading her to create the series alongside the Office of Career Education.

“We had some feedback in the ASG survey from a student last year that they wished that there was more intentional conversations about how they should spend their summer,” Fjeldal said. “So let’s create a series.”

Each of the student panelists shared a summer work experience that was valuable to them. Experiences ranged from a retail job to volunteer and nonprofit work to starting a small business.

Collingwood explained that each of these experiences are valuable, and that there is no blueprint for having a successful summer in terms of career development.

“Planning for this (Developing Career Skills) session in particular, it was important that we showcased a variety of student experiences and really try to touch on the point that one size doesn’t fit all,” he said.

As the student panelists shared their experiences, they were also asked to share the skills that they acquired. Collingwood then explained how those experiences could be represented in a resume or interview setting.

Allison Rose, ’23, explained that she gained leadership and communication skills from her work at a nonprofit organization.

“Being part of a nonprofit that focused on academic enrichment, I was acknowledging the equity behind academics,” Rose said. “Realizing that — even in life in general — there is never going to be one solution. Solutions have to be adaptable.”

The conversation then shifted from the panelists to include the audience. Collingwood asked each student to reflect on their past work experience as well as think of the connections they have in their life already that could connect them to a work or internship experience in the future.

Personal connections, college connections and community and public connections are all valuable and accessible resources when it comes to starting a job search, Collingwood explained.

“If you’re looking for an internship, job or work experience, what have you done in each of these areas to maximize your chances of landing something that would be transformative for you?” he asked.

Collingwood suggested that students create measurable goals for themselves to become more career-ready. The first step could be small, he explained, like updating a LinkedIn profile or reflecting on past experiences.

“What can I be doing in the next week?” Collingwood asked students. “Something you can measure, something you know you can do that is time-based.”

The session concluded with a demonstration on how to utilize various career-related resources like Handshake, Gator2Gator and LinkedIn.

Liz Herweg, ’26, found the peer element of the session particularly useful.

“It was nice to hear from students themselves and get introduced to resources,” Herweg said.

The final session of the Summer Scoop Series took place on Feb. 22, focusing on clinical healthcare experience. Collingwood and Allegheny’s other career coaches can be found in the Lawrence Lee Pelletier Library or via [email protected] for individual meetings.