Oglethorpe’s Career Take Out: More Than Just a Meal!

Oglethorpe students practiced their networking skills a few weeks ago by participating in Career Take Out—three community dinners planned by the Alumni Office and Career Services. About 20 students participated in the events, along with alumni and staff members. The program connects students who are focusing on their job search and preparation with Oglethorpe alumni in similar career fields.

Alumni in Atlanta graciously opened their homes to students for small dinner parties, bringing everyone together in a friendly environment for good food, conversation, career advice and camaraderie. This year’s event focused on three specific career/majors:  English Communications, Pre-Law and undecided majors.

Janice McNeal ’97, a community volunteer and philanthropist, hosted the English/Communications group, along with Ashish Thakur ’99, executive director and CFO of The Indus Entrepreneurs of Atlanta, Megan Van Doran ’09, social marketing specialist for the InterContinental Hotels Group, and Danielle Hitchchock ’12, a marketing coordinator for the Heeney Company.

Deborah Lange ’03 , director of admissions for the Lovett School, and her husband Rocky Lange, a Financial Advisor for BB&T, hosted the Undecided group, along with alums Trevor Sheffield ’09, manager of marketing and customer relations at Geo Certs SSL, and Whitney Hockensmith ’09, customer service representative at Enterprise Fleet Management.

Joe ’91 and Andrea Shelton ’91 hosted the Pre- Law group. Joe is a partner in the Atlanta office of Fisher and Phillips LLC, and Andrea is an attorney and as well as president and founder of Heart Bound Ministries.  Alex Johnson ’07, an attorney at Gillis and Creasy LLC, and Bobby Baker ’79, a partner at Freeman, Mathis and Gary, also joined the group.

La Tasha Bellamy, a senior majoring in Communication and Rhetoric Studies, felt participating was well worth it. “Attending gave us the opportunity to connect with one another and meet new and such resourceful and amazingly talented people within our degree/career interests.”

Felisha Ellison, a sophomore studying Communication also enjoyed the evening. “I participated in the Communications Networking dinner and found it to be extremely rewarding,” said Ellison. “I learned much valuable information, and met many new knowledgeable contacts. Thank you so much for organizing and helping to provide this special event for Oglethorpe students. It was a wonderful opportunity!”

Look out for the next Career Take Out, planned for the spring 2013 semester!

Amy Clemente, MS, NCC is the Career Counselor at Oglethorpe’s Center for Experiential Learning.

Operation HOPE to Help Oglethorpe Students Teach Financial Skills to Kids

The global nonprofit Operation HOPE will offer an orientation workshop on the Oglethorpe campus for one of its core programs, Banking on Our Future (BOOF). The program will teach Oglethorpe students valuable financial skills that they, in turn, can take to area schools to educate children about the basic practices related to credit and money management. This is an ideal opportunity for OU students to make a difference, add an impressive experience to your resume and network with business professionals—all while supporting a deserving cause.

The BOOF curriculum is designed to prepare volunteers to educate children ages 9-18 in five areas: Course in Dignity, Basics of Banking, Checking and Savings, Power of Credit and Basic Investments. Thus far, 80 volunteers have been trained and 3,653 children were reached in 2012.

Volunteers in the program include students from other colleges and universities, as well as professionals from businesses around metro Atlanta. With the support of more than 400 private sector companies, 5000 nonprofit organizations and schools and government partners, HOPE has reached over 2 million low-wealth individuals in 70 U.S. cities and South Africa. HOPE’s national corporate partners include business giants like Bank of America, E-Trade Financial, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance, Sun Trust Bank, Toyota and Wells Fargo.

The training will be held on Thursday, March 8,  6-7 pm in Hearst 114. For more information and to reserve a spot in the seminar email Caroline Weimar, in Oglethorpe’s Career Services office, at cweimar@oglethorpe.edu.

Career Services Expands Resources, Opportunities

Do you know about all the career resources offered at Oglethorpe’s Career Center? The Center helps both students and alumni with career development and planning through self-evaluation, the exploration  and pursuit of career interests, and by offering opportunities like one-on-one appointments, job seminars, educational programs and recruitment events.  Now, Career Services has its sights set on expanding internships opportunities for current students.

Director of Career Services Caroline Weimar was recently joined by Robin Brandt, who assumed the brand new position of Director of Experiential Learning. Robin is focusing on developing and expanding opportunities for OU students to participate in internships, with the goal to significantly increase the overall number of students who benefit from the practical, hands-on experience that internships offer. She recently convened a steering committee of OU students who will help support and advise the Career Center in its ongoing efforts to increase OU students’ participating in internships.

“Internships can be a beneficial experience for students of any major,” said Brandt. “They help formulate career goals, gain valuable work experience and enhance marketable skills. Internships also help establish reference and networking contacts and can possibly open doors to full-time employment. Some positions even qualify for academic credit.”

When it comes to finding internship positions, Brandt advises students to do research on their own, along with using the resources available through the Career Center, such as Career Connect. Center staff offer professional advice on writing resumes and cover letters and holds mock practice interviews. OU students also are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to meet face-to-face with potential employers during on-campus Career Fairs.  The recent Nonprofit Career Fair brought more than 35 potential nonprofit employers to campus. View photos from the event here.  Throughout the year, students also can look forward to guest speakers and panel discussion series with professionals from various fields, as well as another career fair scheduled for spring 2012.

For more information about Career Services or internship opportunities visit the Career Center office in Emerson Student Center or email careerservices@oglethorpe.edu.

Photos: (top) Robin Brandt meets with an OU student in the Career Center; (middle) Caroline Weimar consults on career planning; (bottom) Snapshots from the recent Nonprofit Career Fair.

Alumni Return to Prep Petrels

Students compare resumes at a recent Career Services event.

Last week, I had the opportunity to return to campus along with Richard Bakare ’03, Mike Lyons ’05, Kim Williams Leung ’03 and Ashish Thakur ’99  to assist the Office of Career Services in conducting mock interviews for current students.  The event was a great success and highly rewarding for both students and alumni.  Students were able to practice their interviewing skills and receive direct feedback from our alumni.  

Current Petrels commented on their experience,  saying, “I learned how to play up my strengths and re-work my resume” and “it helped me to watch my uncertainty and be more confident.” Chelsea MacDonald ’11, one of the students who participated in the mock interviews, received a job offer from Soliant Healthcare only one day later. 

Several alumni commented about how impressive the students were in their interviews, and talked afterward about whom to contact about placing certain students. Caroline Weimar, Interim Director of Career Services, is planning to hold the event again in both the fall and the spring semesters.  So, alumni, consider this your first opportunity to sign-up to meet these amazing students.  Not only is it a great opportunity to give back to the university, but it might just supply you with the young talent your company or organization needs.

Oglethorpe Career Services: ‘Here to Help’

But what about those who are about to graduate and still don't know what they want to pursue? "It's never too late to start planning your career," offers Weimar. "Students come in and the first thing we want to know is, 'What is your dream job? From that point, the question is, 'What can we do now to get you there?'"

In 2010, Oglethorpe’s Career Services department started offering several new services to students and alumni alike.  In addition to non-profit career fairs, networking events, and working resume lunches, Caroline Weimar (cholland@oglethorpe.edu), Oglethorpe’s career services counselor, was especially excited to introduce OU students to the many internship opportunities Atlanta has to offer.

“It’s so important for students to get experience in their major outside campus and out of their comfort zone,” says Weimar, who, before coming to OU, who worked as an intern in New York and Washington, D.C.  “I feel like I learned most of what I know from my internships, and that’s what I want for our students here.  They are a great way for you to learn to work with other people, how to work your way from the bottom, build references down the road, and see what your field is all about.”

Since coming to Oglethorpe, Weimar has compiled a revised database of internships that OU students have worked in the past, in the hopes that other students can fill the position in the future.  An “internship book” is available at the Career Services Center, or through CareerConnect, Oglethorpe’s searchable online internship database, which includes all the known internships that Petrels have completed since 2004.  Continue reading