Kenyon’s career-support staff is calling on parents and alumni to help students in a variety of new ways, including a challenge among graduates in eight cities to generate more internship opportunities.
The Career Development Office plans to hold panels on campus in a variety of professional fields and to strengthen the network of alumni and parents who can help with internship housing, job offers and more, said Scott Layson, CDO director. The College also joined a virtual communication hub called Switchboard where people connected to Kenyon can seek and offer services, transportation, housing and career information.
The Kenyon Internship Challenge, developed by the CDO and College Relations, the College’s division for development and alumni engagement, will run throughout 2016 in eight cities with large numbers of Kenyon alumni: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Participating alumni will compete for their cities to try to provide the largest number of Kenyon students with opportunities ranging from job shadowing to full-time employment. Students can follow the challenge by liking the cities’ Alumni Association Facebook pages. The champion city will receive a graphic of the Kenyon Cup, a logo designed by a studio art student that the winner will display online for a year.
The CDO’s initiatives support the Kenyon 2020 strategic plan developed under the leadership of President Sean Decatur. “I’m following his lead and doing what I can do support that plan, which is bringing in more alumni, collaborating more with faculty, more with College Relations, more with other departments on campus to make sure we’re doing our part,” Layson said.
At one of the panels recently hosted by the CDO and College Relations, students heard from three graduates with jobs in finance. One thing the alumni had in common was that none were economics majors: two studied English, and one earned a degree in international studies.
“There’s no one direct way into finance,” said Todd Giardinelli ’94, a managing director at Morgan Stanley in New York City, at the session Sept. 10. “There’s not a right way or a wrong way. … You should be very open-minded about opportunities.”
The panelists illustrated the utility of a liberal arts education, which Layson said is the goal. College leaders are working to show that any major, from economics to studio art, opens a plethora of opportunities.
Layson would like students to share ideas with him for additional panels. He has found attendance is better when students or student organizations bring in speakers. “A lot of it is being ready and able to work with the groups,” he said.
His goal is for increased collaboration with alumni and College Relations to become a habit. “We’re not collaborating for the sake of collaboration,” he said. “We’re collaborating for the sake of integration. We’re working together to come to a point where it’s no longer a deliberate thought. It’s more of a natural act where we simply work together.”
– By Elana Spivack ’17