By Jennifer Wendel
Two Q & A sessions: one with Amy Auer, the Professional Development Institute Coordinator, and one with Emily Murphy K’09, to take a look at how on-campus career events impact K students’ futures.
Questions for Amy Auer –
How does the PDI help students?
So what we’re trying to do is give students an opportunity to explore careers and one of the best ways to do that is by actually talking to people who are doing things that they might be interested in doing.
How are the speakers for the PDI chosen?
We deliberately decided to give an international theme to the spring PDI, with the idea that students are coming back from study abroad. It’s also a really good time to reach rising seniors to think about what they are going to be doing after they graduate.
Do K alumni participate in this?
We work very closely with alumni relations. This has been one of the big areas where we can get K alum to participate, and honestly alumni are probably our best panelists because they get what it’s like to be a K student and they get what it’s like to journey from graduating to figuring out what you want to do after you graduate.
How did the PDI develop?
Before I arrived there was a business boot camp that was put on through this office. It was a similar idea to what the PDI ended up being, but it was really geared towards students who were interested in business careers. What we thought was that this would be a great model, but to try and broaden it for all students and explore many career areas.
Are students’ interest taken into consideration?
Yes. After each of the PDIs we gather feedback from participants and talk to students about which future topics that they would like us to cover.
Are there students that go into these careers?
In general I want to say yes. Although we are working on finding better ways to track this, many alumni that connect with the CCPD by attending the PDI are then joining the Guilds, hosting and intern or extern, or posting job opportunities in K-Connect. Students are then able to get additional professional experiences and this is helping them shape their career paths.
What is the purpose of the PDI?
The main purpose of the PDI is to help students connect and form relationships with professionals and explore careers. It’s a learning opportunity to explore careers and to begin to make professional connections.
Questions for Emily Murphy K’09-
Where are you currently working?
I do housing justice work through grassroots education, organizing and advocacy for a non-profit organization called The Tenants Union of Washington.
What else have you done since graduation?
I spent about eight months volunteering – door knocking, phone banking, etc. – for a local political candidate […] I also volunteered for about a year and a half as a Legal Assistant for the Housing Justice Project […] I got my current job largely through that experience.
Did you participate in on campus career related events when you were here?
I was closely involved in Building Blocks all four years of college, which, as it turned out, was the most important “career related” activity for my professional development. I went to every LAC that sounded remotely interesting, I got help with my resume and cover letters and did practice interviews at the CCPD.
Looking back on college years, what did you find as the most useful thing to prepare you for grad school or employment?
The most useful thing you can learn in college is how to be a productive member of your community, whatever that looks like for you. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get involved in things you care about. You want to get a job? Learn how to articulate why what you care about is important.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently to prepare for graduation?
I wish that I would not have stressed out so much about what I was going to do after college. If you have a great thing lined up after college, terrific. And if not, don’t stress. Eat your mom’s cooking and volunteer.
Here’s what they don’t tell you in college: Getting a job is about who you know. Network, network, network. One of the best things I did when I graduated from college was make myself some personal business cards (www.moocards.com). This is what adults do. And as much as I felt like an impostor, it worked. You charm them, get their information, and follow up with them.