For new grads, the excitement of Commencement is exceeded only by one other event: the first day on the job.
While the faculty prepare students with job-related skills, knowledge, and hands-on experiences, Carlow University's Office of Career Development prepares them for the job hunt by offering job listings and search tools, help with resume writing, appointments for mock job interviews, and career advising every step of the way.
Jennifer Holbert, the director of career development, describes Carlow's career and professional services as extraordinary.
"The students are our priority. Our office goes the extra mile to assist them," she says.
Last year, the Office of Career Development rolled out a new online tool called Handshake. It offers many benefits to Carlow students and alumni, including the ability to create a profile, upload a resume, and engage with prospective employers.
"Through Handshake, jobseekers have access to 5,805 employers, which is a remarkable number for a university our size," Holbert says.
The employers benefit from gaining access to job and internship applicants who are nearing graduation. Handshake allows the employers to see the students' programs of study and GPA, if students set their profiles to make that information available. About 80% of Carlow students on Handshake have a profile that can be searched and viewed by prospective employees.
The Office of Career Development handled 756 student appointments between August 2017 and May 2018. Before students can schedule an appointment they must log in to Handshake, according to Holbert who says that extra step to make a Handshake profile ensures that the students are making the most out of the robust career development and professional services available to them at Carlow.
In the end, all of the work, planning, and professional networking pays off. The career outlook for Carlow grads looks great. The 2016-17 statistics show that 99% of all Carlow job-seekers landed gainful employment after graduation.
Carlow University Magazine reached out to recent graduates to see how they prepared for their lives after Carlow. The alumni featured in this article successfully secured jobs before graduating, putting an extra spring in their step at Commencement.
The New Grads
Here are their thoughts on how Carlow has been a positive influence in their career development.
Jeimy Ibarra '18
Major: Criminal Justice and Psychology
Employer: Casa San José
In 2015, Jeimy Ibarra started at Casa San José, a community resource center for Latinos, as a Compass AmeriCorps volunteer and ran an afterschool program at Beechwood Elementary for grades K-2. She observed a gap in services for Latino youth. Having been born in Mexico City and grown up in Pittsburgh for 18 years, she could empathize with others wanting to preserve their native heritage and cultures, and she was inspired to create two after-school programs: Puentes Hacia el Futuro, a Saturday program for youth ages 7-14, and then Jóvenes con Propósito, for high-school students, where she works to guide youth activists to become leaders in their communities and provide them with peer-based training that promotes youth power and community organizing. Having earned two bachelor's degrees from Carlow in criminal justice and psychology in May, she is now the Youth Community Outreach Coordinator at Casa San José.
Words of Wisdom: “I chose to come to Carlow because of the small class sizes. While at Carlow I was able to really grow and find a passion in ceramics. The LAI courses really help you tap into inner skills that I didn't know I had.”
David McDonough '18
Major: Social Work
Employer: Drug and Alcohol Services in Beaver Valley
Social work is a calling for David McDonough. At age 58, he switched from construction to begin his new career as a substance abuse counseling assistant for Drug and Alcohol Services in Beaver Valley. The new job is a dream come true after years of balancing his work with academics.
He chose Carlow upon recommendation of Andrea Connor, an alumna and a sociology professor at Community College of Beaver County where he earned his associate's degree. "My professor just loved Carlow, and I have liked everything about it too," he said. An intent listener, McDonough loves social work and especially enjoys the one-to-one conversations with clients. Just about the only thing he does not like is paperwork, but he understands it comes with the territory. McDonough took the time to apply and interview for multiple jobs and received a couple of different offers. He appreciated being able to accept the offer that gave him a private office and the better salary. McDonough applied for jobs in the fall, graduated in December, and started his position in January. He plans to advance his social work career and has been accepted in Carlow's new Master of Social Work program.
Words of Wisdom: "In social work, it can be tough sometimes to listen to some of the stories people tell you about their lives, but I feel I am exactly in the right place."
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Shumaker '18
Employer: Arconic Technology Center
Lizzie Shumaker transferred to Carlow as an undecided major. She tried her hand at psychology, biology, and then, ultimately, settled on chemistry as her major. “I always say that I’m ‘in my element’ now (pun intended) because it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to study. But, with chemistry, I couldn’t be more sure," Shumaker said. Lizzie graduated in May and spent her last semester completing her undergraduate credits while studying abroad in Rome. She will then start a full-time position as a senior technician within the Analytical Chemistry department at the Arconic Technology Center in New Kensington, Pa.
Words of Wisdom: “It is more than okay to not know what you want to be when you grow up. Seek opportunity and you’ll eventually find your element.”
Weiwen Wang '18
Major: RN to BSN
Employer: UPMC Presbyterian
When Weiwen Wang moved from China to Pittsburgh, she knew that she wanted to become a nurse—despite the language barrier and the challenges of studying in a new country. Weiwen transferred to Carlow’s RN to BSN program, as an adult student, in order to develop her skills, gain a bachelor’s degree, and to enhance the “true privilege to be trusted to take care of people when they are vulnerable.” She completed her bachelor’s degree and now works in the lung transplant and step-down unit at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. Her positive experiences with faculty made Weiwen decide to enroll in Carlow’s Family Nurse Practitioner graduate program. Her goals is to help even more people as a healthcare provider in the future.
Words of Wisdom: “You might not be where you want to be in life right now, but one day you will be braver, wiser, and stronger than you could ever imagine. When you look back, you will appreciate all the hard work that made you who you are.”
Chant Robinson '17
Employer: Propel Schools
Born and raised in McKeesport, Pa., Chant Robinson is a teacher at Propel Braddock Hills High School and currently working toward a master's degree at Chatham University on a full scholarship. Robinson is the first to admit her early years were a combination of failures and triumphs that prepared her well for a career in the education field.
“Through the struggles and successes, I had an army of supporters at Carlow, including the most supportive and caring advisor, Lou Boyle. What I love most about Carlow is that everyone has the opportunity to find their own Dr. Boyle,” she said.
Words of Wisdom: “To all Carlow students, including my brother Zion who will be joining in the fall, this is your home away from home. Take these years to really find out who you're destined to be. Fight through the setbacks and smile through the achievements. You are a part of a beautiful community. Allow Carlow to guide you on your journey to your life goals, reach those goals, and then build new ones.”
this article originally appeared in the Summer 2018 edition of Carlow Magazine