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Career Services Center Integrates with Alumni and Community Engagement

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

For Priscilla Lee, a 2013 UC San Diego graduate with a major in communication, her work as a student Alumni Ambassador provided a connection with alumni who offered valuable opportunities for career and professional development.

“It was through this association that I was able to grow my network, see my strengths and incorporate the university into my life after college,” said Lee, development coordinator at Fresh Lifelines for Youth, a nonprofit organization in the Bay Area dedicated to breaking the cycle of violence, crime and incarceration of teens.

Leveraging the power of 151,000 UC San Diego alumni to help students find jobs, identify internship opportunities and make career connections is exactly what the campus will begin doing this fall when the Career Services Center integrates with Alumni and Community Engagement.

As part of UC San Diego’s strategic planning process, leadership is turning to collaborative units to form innovative partnerships to fulfill its mission as a student-centered, research-focused, service-oriented public university. An important area of opportunity is providing resources to prepare students for lifelong career success and engagement with the campus community.

Alan Houston, interim vice chancellor for Student Affairs, explained, “The partnership between career services and alumni relations will enhance the ability of undergraduates and graduate students to develop the skills, experiences, contacts and opportunities needed to define and achieve their career goals. This strategic integration is a new model for higher education.”

Janelle Becker

Learning about alumni experiences and taking advantage of their corporate contacts landed 2012 mathematics-economics graduate Janelle Becker a job at Amazon as a financial analyst. While still a UC San Diego student, she had an informational interview with alumnus David McLean’88, who referred her resume to his colleagues in Amazon’s finance internship program in Seattle.

“David’s referral helped me get an interview, and I was hired for a six-month finance internship,” said Becker. “After finishing my internship, I was given an offer to return to Amazon after finishing my bachelor’s degree. I now have been working full time for Amazon Web Services for a year and a half.”

“Our outreach efforts will inspire the alumni community to engage with the educational, career and professional development of UC San Diego students and serve as key providers of internships and employment,” added Armin Afsahi, assistant vice chancellor for Alumni and Community Engagement. “In turn, graduates will be encouraged to create a lifelong relationship with their alma mater.”

Both the Career Services Center and Alumni and Community Engagement share the long-term goals of ensuring that students receive a world-class education, and that alumni will continue to have vibrant and rewarding careers. For more than a decade, the campus has been listed among the nation’s top 10 public universities by the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges Guidebook. Graduates of UC San Diego are ranked 10th for salary earning potential in the 2013-2014 PayScale report measuring top state schools across the nation.

The Career Services Center provides resources, programs and services to students and alumni seeking career planning and graduate and professional school advising, job and internship search preparation and employment (full-time/part-time/student) opportunities. The center’s preparatory services (e.g., résumé critiquing, job search workshops, mock interview practice) support these core programs and services, thus helping prepare students for success.

Priscilla Lee

Alumni and Community Engagement fosters affinity among alumni, between alumni and UC San Diego, and between UC San Diego and the world. The organization serves the alumni community and the broader Triton family by delivering programs and services that enhance their professional, intellectual and personal pursuits and by contributing to UC San Diego’s institutional ambassadorship and private support objectives.

The integration process will be thoughtful and strategic, enhancing the current programs offered by the Career Services Center with the goal of expanding services with innovative initiatives that feature a high level of student and alumni engagement including:

  • Alumni Advisor Network—Implementation of an online student-alumni mentoring platform that connects students and alumni around career development and job search preparation.
  • Alumni Entrepreneur Careers Seminar—“From Idea to IPO” will be taught by prominent venture capital alumni professionals.
  • Triton Externship Program—This “job shadowing” program will engage interested alumni professionals as site sponsors in providing a deeper level of involvement with UC San Diego students.
  • Career Discovery Week—A career exploration initiative that will feature more than 100 alumni professionals participating in weeklong series of panels and events offering career insights to more than 1,000 students.
  • Expanded Corporate Connections and Job Development—In collaboration with Alumni and Community Engagement regional engagement managers to create more job, internship and volunteer opportunities for students and alumni.

The integration of the Career Services Center with Alumni and Community Engagement is expected to be seamless for students; the center will remain at its current campus location near Library Walk behind the Chancellor’s Complex.