The Center for Career Development is located in Sycamore Cottage, and while the building may be small, there is plenty going on inside. The Career Center mostly works with undergraduate students. Director of the Career Center Kim Crabbe said, “our main mission is to work with students in the college of liberal arts, so the majority of our programs, events and services are geared towards undergraduate students, however, our door is always open to graduate students.”
Graduate students looking for help from the Career Center would start by making an appointment, discussing their career goals and further polishing résumés. Much of what the Career Center does is forge a means for networking and communication through alumni. Crabbe explained, “we have a database of over 150 alumni who have volunteered to be mentors to students and other alumni, so it’s kind of providing a connection to network with people in the field. Just connecting [the students] to someone in the work they’re doing to help connect them and get them on the right path in that field.”
Something the Career Center has done is create a brand new program to help Ph.D students with internship opportunities that are outside of the realm they are accustomed to. “We have started a program that’s brand new for students in the Ph.D history and culture program,” Crabbe said. “We have developed over 25 internships for graduate level Ph.D candidates, allowing students to get experience outside of academia to broaden their prospects.” She then explained how the more diverse internships a graduate student has, the more marketable they become. This is important due to the fact that many of the Ph.D candidates are looking to become professors, and with a limited number of positions out there it can be a competitive field.
One graduate student, Michael King, completed an internship last summer as a curatorial intern at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in downtown Madison. King did work taking inventory and cataloguing for the museum. He also created a teaching aid for visitors of the museum. King got this opportunity by approaching the Career Center. “The Career Center, and particularly [Assistant Director of the Career Center] Flore Dorcely-Mohr, assisted me by putting me in direct contact with both the director of education and the curator at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts,” he said. He also has another internship lined up for this summer. “The Career Center has essentially assisted me with networking. They’ve made contact with a number of institutions in the area seeking interns and as such, students like myself can benefit greatly from the connections that have already been established by people like Flore.”
Recently the Career Center hosted a Career Day for the grad students. “We had a panel of six leaders in arts, non-profit and cultural institutions talking about opportunities for grad students in their areas,” Crabbe said. She then explained that there were also opportunities for the graduate students to then move into smaller groups and talk to the panel leaders independently.
As far as undergraduate students and planning goes, Crabbe said, “We do see a lot [of seniors] and what we hope is that they come to us before their senior year, we do a lot of work with seniors.” She emphasized the importance of internships early on in an academic career. “Where students are doing two, three, four, even five internships before they graduate, they’ll be the most successful. This semester, we have seen the highest number of students doing internships for credit. We have about 60 now, which is more than ever before.” The Career Center is eager to help students as much a possible when it comes to furthering career goals getting on the right track, and as Crabbe said, “Whether you’re an undergraduate student or graduate student, it’s all about planning and being prepared. It’s not that scary out there if you have prepared yourself for life after Drew.”