75 juniors and seniors, 15 Knox alumni and two cold December days marked the first annual Career iMPACT Summit hosted by the Bastian Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development, or Career Center, on Dec. 2-3. The event was hosted to prepare students for life after Knox.
This opportunity attracted more students than Career Center Director Terri Saline anticipated.
“We were very pleasantly surprised,” Saline said.
The students attended a mixture of sessions with keynote speakers, resume critiques, breakout sessions and one-on-one time with alumni in their field of interest.
“[Students learned] about the hiring process and going out into the real world,” Career Center Assistant Director Krista Nelson said.
A session that drew a lot of interest discussed “Finding a Career that Fits.” The two speakers, Kenji Mori ’07 and Brynna Barnhart ’03, were both political science majors at Knox with the intent to pursue a career in law.
Mori planned to attend a law school but after four years working as a project assistant at Kirkland and Ellis, an international law firm headquartered in Chicago, he decided it was not what he wanted to do. He now works as a teacher for the Namaste Charter School in Chicago. Barnhart did matriculate into a law school but she chose not to take employment in a traditional law firm. She works for the NCAA as an Associate Director of Enforcement, investigating wrongdoings and violations of the NCAA rules.
These career fit sessions were one of senior Lauren Styczynski’s favorite events of the sessions.
“They ended up getting completely different jobs they were actually passionate about. I really appreciated that session.”
Styczynski also enjoyed hearing from author Lindsay Currie ’98, whose session focused on “Job Tips for the Liberal Arts Student.”
The placement of the Career Summit in December was deliberate. President Teresa Amott wanted the summit to liven up winter break. There were other benefits for the students as well.
“The feedback we heard from the students is how nice it was to not think anything else but your career search…” Nelson said. “It was nice that they could have the two days to get the ball rolling and then they went home and had a full month to continue the motivation.”
Students enjoyed hearing from young alumni with whom they could relate.
“I think it was very beneficial for the students to hear stories from the different alumni about how they took their education here and morphed it into what they wanted,” Nelson said.
Saline hopes more students will take advantage of the services the Career Center offers.
“Overall it gave me a sense of security that I will be able to find a job in the future. Just because I have a liberal arts degree doesn’t mean I’m not employable,” senior Yael Cody said.
“I think that the people that I met overall were really impressive and it sort of made me really proud to be a part of Knox and know that this is the end product.”