Author: Emily Wangen
For University of Iowa students, the Pomerantz Career Center has a new program designed to help them figure out their future career options, even if they are early on in their UI journey.
Career Communities is a new advising method and program in which students can schedule appointments to select communities and work with advisers who specialize in a specific career-orientated community.
The program offers 10 communities based on particular career fields and industries.
“It is helpful to have kind of a target area, because the resources are so vast that having a target audience can help you cull through that,” said Elise Perea, a UI career adviser for art, media, and entertainment. “It essentially makes it a lot more manageable, and then you can become a content expert in this area.”
While the planning phase for the program took approximately one year, the idea of a program such as this has been talked about for longer, said Lynne Sebille-White, the senior director and career adviser for the environment and sustainability, health and wellness, and science-research communities.
Advisers work with students on a variety of topics in their career communities, from career exploration to creating a plan to find a specific job, and preparing for an interview.
Career adviser for law, public service, helping and counseling Jenny Noyce said she believes the program has been successful so far, noting a rise in first-year students scheduling appointments. This occurred after the switch from scheduling appointments using the Hire a Hawk platform to MyUI.
“It’s wonderful for me because I think it helps students start to identify with career fields earlier in their time at Iowa,” Noyce said. “That way, it’s not just feeling boxed in by a major or thinking there has to be a direct line between major and what they do as a career but that there are various options.”
Sebille-White, Noyce, and Perea said they believe changing the advising process from focusing on a student’s major to focusing on what they may want to do in the future will be beneficial for students.
“It takes away that kind of binary ‘I have to do something that’s directly related to what my major is called’ and move it into the space of ‘I’ve learned how to do a lot of things, and this is the industry I want to take those skills to,’ ” Perea said.
Sebille-White hopes to keep moving the career-community program further through more programming that fits with communities. She also hopes to have opportunities for students to travel to employers and get a glimpse of what careers in certain fields may look like.
Overall, the advisers hope more students visit the Pomerantz Center early and often throughout their time at the UI.
“I think it’s really helpful for students to realize that the Career Center is not just the thing you do at the end of your time at the university, that it’s not just about getting a job,” Perea said. “It’s really important for students to visit early and visit often throughout the time period.”
“Even if you don’t know what questions you should ask, come in, get to know somebody, we’ll help you figure out what questions those are and where you need to go next,” she said. “We just want to be approachable and helpful.”