Third Annual Career Champions Breakfast Awards Faculty and Staff for Promoting Career-Readiness
The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development emphasizes the importance of those who contribute to student success and wants to recognize them for their efforts. The Career Champions program was created to celebrate faculty and staff from across the University who have prepared students and helped mentor them toward their post-graduation goals.
The third annual Career Champions Breakfast was held on Thursday, Nov. 9, and awarded nearly 150 Career Champions who were nominated by students. These individuals empower students to find their purpose, identify and reach their goals, prepare for and solidify future professional plans, and gain full-time employment.
Denise Lorenzetti, Director of the Fleishman Center, praised Binghamton University students for their drive and determination in utilizing Fleishman Center services, resulting in a 25% increase in event attendance (27,427 total attendees in 2016-17) and an 8% increase in 1:1 career consulting sessions (7,246 total sessions in 2016-17).
Provost Don Nieman said that while some students are in specialized schools like School of Management and the Watson School of Engineering, students in Harpur College and the College of Community and Public Affairs may have majors that do not always align with a direct career path. He stressed the importance of a liberal arts career, but said that without knowing how it leads to a satisfying career, students will be less likely to choose these majors. The Fleishman Center staff helps students translate these liberal arts majors into specific careers, but they need faculty to reiterate this inside the classroom.
"That's where faculty and staff come in: they take the time to talk with and mentor students, assess their interests and say how the skills they're developing as undergrads help them get there," Nieman said. "And that's why this event is so important to this campus, to recognize the many people doing that on behalf of our students."
Finding a career after graduation is a top concern of parents during summer orientations, according to Brian Rose, Vice President for Student Affairs. Assistant Vice President for Career Programs and Experiential Education, Kelli Smith, reiterated this point and expressed her gratitude for the work and dedication that faculty members provide students.
Assistant professor of biology, Dr. Jessica Hua, was presented her award as a Career Champion by one of her research students, senior biology major Jared Jaeger.
Jaeger said that Dr. Hua really helped him prepare for Research Days and build a professional network, and said other students in the lab felt the same way.
"Dr. Hua helped me prepare and take part in a national conference (Ecological Society of America) in which I presented research I conducted with her and gave me a chance to meet her colleagues." Jaeger said. "The preparation for interviewing with her has been phenomenal, allowing me to practice continuously and get another perspective." Jaeger hopes to enroll in a graduate program next fall.
Lecturer in the Engineering Design Division, Sharon Fellows, was presented her award by Sara Riedesel, a senior majoring in industrial engineering and Vice President of the Society of Women Engineers, which Fellows advises.
Riedesel called Fellows the "backbone" of the Engineering Design Division and said she taught Riedesel how to be confident in her work, especially as a woman in a male-dominated field.
"With her help, I was able to find my niche in the engineering department," Riedesel said. "Her commitment to education has set a legacy that will continue for years to come. The number of students she has impacted is beyond measurable and I cannot think of a more deserving individual to accept this award."
Lorenzetti concluded the breakfast by thanking the faculty and staff for leaving such a lasting impact and making sure that what happens inside the classroom gets students career-ready.