Brian Ahern, Contributing Writer
Last week, Career Services brought in 27 professionals in different fields to speak to University of Dallas students about navigating the professional world after graduation and to inform them of internships and other opportunities at their respective organizations.
The week’ s events consisted of five panels, each one focusing on a particular field. Fields included health and human services, public policy and history, organization leadership, creative arts, and writing and communication. Many of the speakers were UD alumni with degrees in the liberal arts.
“[We sought out people] who really understand the UD student,” said Julie Janik, director of Career Services. “[They are in] professions that may not be obvious paths but really cool paths.”
Janik explained that students should in no way feel that they are at a disadvantage because they have a degree that is not specifically tailored to a particular career path.
“You can, in fact, pursue a degree you love and a career that is seemingly completely divergent , because you love that too,” she said. “Do what you enjoy and it’s okay not to know. For us, it’s important for students to realize this is an exploratory process. We want to give students resources to make that exploration practical.”
The speakers present at the panels were all looking to hire interns or full-time professionals. This was one of the most important aspects of the event, according to Janik.
“The truth is, if you want to work for an organization, the easiest way in is to know somebody , and so we wanted to bring the people here so the students could know them. And it’s working – they’re talking with our students and they’ re brokering relationships with our students,” she said.
The students in attendance responded favorably to the panels.
Brie Underhill, a senior art major, attended the creative arts lecture on Wednesday and felt that it had given her a new perspective on and new options for a career in the arts.
“Being an art student, it’s really hard; people are always pressuring you because they don’t understand the kind of jobs that art majors can have,” she said.
Underhill was enthusiastic about the new contacts she had made and appreciated the inclusive stance that the speakers had taken.
“They were able to incorporate all the different majors into the art lifestyle,” she said.
Mike McDermott , a junior business major, attended the same lecture, hoping to gain insight into pursuing a career in film and production. He appreciated the uplifting attitude of the lecturers, but felt that more concrete advice on navigating the field would have been helpful.
“[The panelists] all kind of said the same thing,” he said. “They all said you’ve got to work hard, you’ve got to network, you really need to take risks. But they didn’t give much practical advice.”