Are you ready?
That’s what the Career Development Center asks regularly — and often has the answers readily available.
From attending on-campus events to getting a summer internship and going on fall and spring Torero Treks, the top USD resource to get students ready for their post-collegiate life is located on the first floor of Manchester Hall.
Taylor Wong, a May 2019 computer science degree recipient, knows how to get ready. She regularly visited the center for advice. She attended networking events and job fairs. She did an internship for a San Francisco start-up, SciRobot, and then did another locally at Clarity Design, gained leadership experience through student activities and work experience in on-campus web development and technology roles. She went on Torero Treks to Portland, Ore., Seattle and New York to visit and learn at brand-name companies where USD alumni are employed.
“The Career Development Center has been instrumental in my development as a person, as a student and now as a professional,” says Wong, who has been a security automation engineer and prototype developer for Risk Sense, Inc., in Albuquerque since graduation. “They really give you all the tools you need to be successful. They help you put your best foot forward.”
The center has been actively improving the student experience through its Career Readiness Program toolbox. It seeks to reach all students — first-years, first-generation, transfers, graduating seniors, graduate students and young alumni — and helps them make connections with alumni who can give back via mentoring and providing advice. And some are in the position of offering internships or hiring new graduates.
The career readiness process is aided by having technology tools such as Handshake and TEAM (Torero Employer and Alumni Mentors) “meeting students where they’re at,” says Judd Mateo, assistant director for the center’s assessment and planning.
Mobile options are critically important for millennials’ 24/7 lifestyle. “Providing our students with access, and going global to scale our services means career readiness at any time, from any place,” he says.
Handshake can connect students with more than 22,000 employers for jobs and internships across industries, schedule an appointment with a career counselor or utilize the online resources for professional development, and let them know about and register for events such as job fairs, Torero Treks and networking events.
The TEAM portal is USD’s online networking and flash mentorship platform that enables current students and alumni to seek out advice and perspective from alumni who have volunteered to be contacted for career conversations.
Career readiness is an inclusive process. For Associate Director Abigail Racelis and all Career Development Center employees, the operative is to connect with students from the get-go.
Students at an early information session were given a passion planner, which is designed to get students to ponder early on, “what do I want to do?”
“We really want to kickstart the conversation,” says Racelis. “We are student-first from the start, whether you’re a transfer or a new student, we care what you are doing. We want to build that relationship one-on-one and let students know our staff cares about you as a person first.”
One service that three USD undergraduate schools have is a uniquely designed program tailored to business, engineering and arts and sciences students. Passport (School of Business), Compass (College of Arts and Sciences), and Connect (Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering) are for any undergrad who declares a major in these schools. The career-developing activities offered in each program expose students to valuable knowledge outside the typical classroom setting, helps them develop tools for their personal toolbox and — because it is a graduation requirement — assures that they’ll be more than ready to succeed.
— Ryan T. Blystone