For students in Harpur College, the thought of life after Binghamton University may be a daunting one. With the introduction of the Liberal Arts to Careers Externship Program (LACE), however, Harpur students have an opportunity to expand their knowledge and shed light on their futures.
LACE began as an idea discussed for years by Nancy Paul, the director of the Career Development Center, and the Harpur dean. The program allows Harpur students, specifically sophomores, to participate in an externship in which they are paired with a sponsor in their desired field. All sponsors are strictly Harpur alumni, as the focus of the program is to show Harpur undergraduate students what they can do with a liberal arts degree by pairing them with accomplished Harpur alumni.
In 2010, a rough outline of what LACE is today was formulated, along with the request to bring someone aboard to do a pilot and see if the program could work. That was when Wendy Neuberger '81 was hired.
"LACE and I found each other," Neuberger says.
After graduating from the School of Management, Neuberger got a job locally with IBM. She worked in Information Technology for 26 years and was asked to be an adjunct for Watson, teaching freshman engineering communications, in 2006.
"That got me back on campus," Neuberger says. "I hadn't really been involved during that time in between, but once I got back it just felt so right and I decided this is where I want to be. I was ready for a change and when this opportunity came up to launch this program, I jumped on it."
During a LACE panel meeting during Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 12, both alumni and students who have participated in the program shared their experiences.
Harpur student Marisa Monte participated in the program with sponsor Mike Schnall '97, chief of staff, Staten Island, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. She spoke of the benefits of the program -- and the questions she receives because she majors in English and anthropology.
"I have a lot of friends who are engineers and computer science majors and they know what they're going to do," Monte says. "But having a double major in liberal arts, it's not necessarily a bad thing. I think it's the best thing you could possibly do. I know now that I can take my major in a multitude of different areas and that makes me feel good. Having a liberal arts major allows for crossover."
LACE began with 16 students. Since then, the winter session had 20 matches and this summer the number rose to 34. Neuberger plans to have the student base grow to 150 by 2014.
"I have approximately 50 sponsors right now," Neuberger says. "I'm hoping to attract other alumni who may not know about the program who might be inspired to get involved. Focusing on what the sponsors get out of it when I talk to them gives me goose bumps."
Harpur alumni on the panel also had much to say about their experiences. An emphasis was placed on the connections that can be made through participating in the program. While a student may not necessarily want to have the exact job of the person he or she is shadowing, the sponsor can introduce them to many other people and positions that are related to the desired field.
"When I was on campus, internships were limited," Schnall says. "I would have loved the opportunity to put me in the direction I wanted to go or find out what I didn't want to do with my life. I figure I have the type of job now where students can shadow me and I can connect them with someone from my agency. I feel that it's my obligation as an alumnus to give back. Rather than just writing a check, it's nicer to give your time to your fellow alums and also to the students that come after you."
Merrit Hartblay '76 reminded students that a major doesn't define their careers.
"While there is some linkage, it's not as closely related as you'd think," Hartblay says. "You can do whatever you want to do and should be tasting as much as you can as a liberal arts major. I had a roommate who's parents wanted him to be an engineer and he spent three years of college going through the motions until he woke up senior year and was like, 'what happened?' So no matter the outcome, this program is a great opportunity, even if you decide you don't really want to do what you thought you did."
Above all, the participants urged students to be flexible and maintain their desire for knowledge. Schnall encouraged students to stay positive.
"Your generation is highly motivated and will go very far," Schnall says. "Don't believe everything you read in the press. I'm glad I've seen it first-hand: You guys really are going to be in a great place in the future."
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School's career services expand
By Steve Seepersaud
From Reaching Higher: The Binghamton University School of Management Magazine
"Helping students with their career journey is fun and rewarding," Huff says. "I remember how much better I felt about the internship and job search after simply talking to someone about it. Up until this point in their lives, everything has pretty much been dictated for them with a logical next step, so I'm happy to help make that process less scary."
Fueled by a $200,000 gift from Barry Goodman '79, the school's Career Services office has grown from a single director of placement to a staff that includes a director, assistant director, secretary and two student assistants. Christina Whitney, director of SOM career services, has 17 years of experience in education. Previously, she was associate director of career services at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa.
The office is open every business day, serving as a vital resource for students seeking assistance with résumés, cover letters and skills in networking and interviewing. The staff provides students with guidance through individual sessions and small-group workshops. Programs such as the Executive in Residence series that bring executives
to campus for one-on-one sessions with students provide opportunities for current students to build connections with professionals in their areas of interest. The noncredit career curriculum that each student participates in, beginning freshman year, includes 13 contact hours with staff.
Twice a year, the office coordinates visits to firms in New York City, taking groups of students to various businesses for presentations and information sessions. The visits give students a firsthand look at firms and their cultures while educating them on how to effectively position themselves for future opportunities. The office arranged 25 visits in January 2012 and conducted 13 visits in the summer.
By maintaining existing relationships and building new ones, SOM Career Services is a key link between students and employers. In the past 18 months, SOM has established relationships with large corporations including HSBC and IBM as well as smaller high-tech startups. An online platform for recruiters to share jobs with SOM students will roll out this academic year.
Strong demand for services
Whitney says both the services offered and client base served have increased dramatically since she started. During its first semester of operation, the office worked with 400 students. In the spring 2012 semester, more than 600 students sought assistance.
"There is nothing I enjoy more than watching students evolve in their career paths," Whitney says. "As freshmen, they are unsure of what to do and how to navigate the next few years of their lives. My favorite day is graduation, when they walk by me and I know how far they have come. I've been watching students graduate for years and it never gets old."
In addition, Whitney says she has seen a steady increase in the number of graduates providing job postings to be distributed through SOM's alumni listserv.
"My Rolodex has exploded," says Whitney with a laugh, admitting she still uses one. "One of the best tools is the alumni job postings e-mail. We send one out, and it begets three postings, then three more. Alumni reply saying 'my company is hiring, too.' We have to change the culture with students. This is a place they can come to and use as a resource. It's not just a one-stop; it's a continuing relationship."
Alumni making an impact
Engaging alumni is a priority for SOM Career Services, as it creates opportunities for graduates to give back to the school and provides valuable connections for students seeking internships and jobs.
Denise Manukian '10, media sales planner for Madison Square Garden, has remained connected to the school since graduating in 2010. Manukian has met with students at MSG during winter break and also at the Metro Career Night networking event in Manhattan.
Being involved with SOM Career Services is beneficial for students, says Manukian, because they gain insight into a major company and interact with industry professionals. She says she's always willing to share knowledge on how students can effectively transition into the workplace as new alumni.
"My e-mail box is open to any student who wishes to ask for advice," she says. "It's very important for students to be prepared for the real world and to learn how to interact in a business setting by participating in these career service programs."
Paul Cho '10, MS '11, who works in the risk consulting area at KPMG in New York, has been engaged with the school for several years, participating in a number of recruiting and networking events. He mentors several students and helps them prepare for on-campus interviews through mock phone interviews or, when possible, in-person interviews.
"I believe that having a strong Career Services office is crucial to helping the strength and overall reputation of the school," Cho says. "The office is the major liaison between the firms coming to campus to recruit students and SOM. Although student organizations and alumni facilitate professional events, the Career Services office is the strong foundation that maintains relationships with the firms."
Although staff are careful not to use the words "placement office," it's certainly no secret that placement rate is a clear measure of success. In May 2012, 46 percent of SOM undergraduates received an offer by graduation; last year's figure was 39 percent. Whitney says that 71 percent of MBA graduates had an offer by spring 2012 Commencement; that figure was 67 percent for graduates three months out in 2011.
"Our surveys have a response rate of more than 90 percent and that is huge," Whitney says. "It speaks to the relationship the students have with the school. It's hard to compare us to other schools because not everyone uses the same methodology. Their response rates are usually lower, and they're only hearing from the alumni who get jobs."
Huff is hoping to receive an offer prior to May 2013, when she completes her MBA. As she enters her second year of the program, she's considering three career paths: human capital consulting, human resources or higher education. While those are very different options, she feels that her experience working for SOM Career Services has positioned her to be successful at any of the three.
"The knowledge I have gained regarding social media branding and marketing will be very helpful," Huff says. "Prior to working in the office, my knowledge of recruitment practices was very narrow — sales in a financial services environment — so this has opened my eyes to the recruitment practices of companies with various foci, whether it be marketing, finance or accounting."
STOC and S3IP name region's technology leaders
From staff reports
The New York State Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging (S3IP) at Binghamton University and the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition (STOC) honored five individuals recently for their efforts in promoting economic development in the Southern Tier.
William Murphy, MBA '83, retired senior engineer and fellow at Lockheed Martin, was recognized as Technology Innovation Leader of the Year for his efforts in shaping the technology community through leadership in electronics packaging.
Saurabh Shrivastava, MS '04, PhD '08, senior lead thermal mechanical engineer at Panduit Corp., was recognized as Technology Innovation Mentor/Educator of the Year for his significant impact on the Watson School, Binghamton University and the technology community at large.
Eugene Krentsel, assistant vice president, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnerships at Binghamton University, was recognized as Technology Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year for his contributions to the growth of dynamic, high technology business in upstate New York.
William Berical, retired vice president for platform solutions at BAE Systems, and Charles Becker, chief scientist, Electrical Technologies and Systems, General Electric, received the STOC/S3IP Lifetime Achievement in Technology Innovation Award.
The awards were announced at the S3IP Annual Dinner earlier this month. The dinner featured remarks by Bahgat Sammakia, vice president for research at Binghamton University and S3IP director. David Gdovin, MS '70, vice president of STOC, joined him in presenting the technology innovation awards.
Decker nurse practitioner students receive support
By Katie Ellis
The Decker School of Nursing has received a two-year, $757,000 traineeship grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide financial support for graduate students. The purpose of the grants, according to HRSA, is to "increase the number of advanced education nurses trained to practice as primary care providers and/or nursing faculty to address the nursing shortage that inhibits nursing schools form educating the number of nurses needed to meet demand."
"We received every penny we asked for," said Dean Joyce Ferrario. "The funds, from HRSA's Division of Nursing, are being used for our nurse practitioner students for all of our specialties because they consider psych mental health primary care as well."
Funded students receive a stipend and tuition waiver, said Ferrario. "The Graduate School also provided a match of $25,000 in tuition, and actually, when the semester started, the grant hadn't come in and we had students with no funding, so the Graduate School also fronted us funds to get them started until the grant came in."
Students who are funded must stay academically sound to receive funding the second year. "This grant will get students through the master's degree," said Ferrario. "We are supporting some part-time students as well, and we've not been able to do that before." In total 15 full-time and eight part-time students are being funded.
Jo Ann Ernst applied for the funding at Ferrario's urging. A working nurse who returned to school after a number of years working in ambulatory and breast care at a local hospital, Ernst appreciates the ability to focus on her studies and training without the financial burden she might otherwise have.
"I'm not worried that I really should be working and now I can start my day and 'hit the books,'" she said. "My first two years I was a part-time student and also working, and I found that very difficult. Now I am a full-time student and this grant helps me not spread myself too thin."
Ernst hasn't yet settled on a nurse practitioner concentration, but said it will likely be primary care or a focus on diabetes. Her capstone project, which is still being formulated, is due next spring and she expects it will focus on diabetes and obesity. "Diabetes is a burden to have and it affects everything you do – and everything your family does as well," she said.
Ernst then hopes to springboard from her capstone project as she pursues her Doctor of Nurse Practitioner degree. "My goal is to study really hard and when I get out to be the best practitioner that I can be," she said.
Another Decker student, Michele Summers, is still working part time for Lourdes Home Care, where she started after earning her bachelor's degree in nursing from the Decker School in 2009. Now studying to become a family nurse practitioner and to earn her Doctor of Nurse Practitioner degree, she'll earn her master's degree along the way, in part thanks to the HRSA grant tuition and stipend support.
Summers, who may continue on for her PhD after earning her DNP, has three full-time college students in her household. "It means a lot to me not to have to stress our family finances," she said. "I didn't want to take out more loans if I didn't have to. I would love to teach plus develop something in the community."
CCPA back in University Downtown Center
From staff reports
It's great to be home again. Just before the fall semester, CCPA relocated from its temporary site at the Engineering Building on the main campus to its permanent location at the University Downtown Center.
In early September 2011, Tropical Storm Lee stalled over the Southern Tier, causing historic flooding. The University Downtown Center, situated at the confluence of the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers, was surrounded by water on three sides. Although flood waters entered only the basement of the UDC, there was 17 feet of water.
The flooding was widespread, affecting homes, businesses, neighborhoods and entire towns located near the rivers.
All offices are open and operating, and classes have been held on-site beginning with the Fall 2012 semester.
Return of MAT program in French or Spanish education
From staff reports
The main objective of this French or Spanish teacher education program is to have students learn the language, love the language and live the language that they are choosing to teach. Future educators in this program will be equipped with the proper tools to effectively teach a second language; they will become dynamic, outstanding foreign-language educators who will inspire their students in and out of the classroom; and they will make language learning come alive in their middle-school and high-school classrooms.
So, if you want to live the French or Spanish language and culture or know others who would be interested in this exciting MAT program, applications are being accepted. Contact Bohinski directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the GSE website or Facebook page for more information.