DUBOIS – Students from six Penn State campuses, including DuBois, learned ways to put their career launch into overdrive recently during a new program in Pittsburgh.
The students attended the inaugural Leader Launch Professional Leadership and Career Conference on a January weekend at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh. The program is targeted at juniors and seniors.
It provides workshops specifically aimed at helping these budding professionals find jobs and start careers right out of college, using the skills they’ve developed while earning their education. They also had the chance to meet with recruiters from such high profile organizations as the CIA.
Students from six Penn State campuses attended the conference. Available workshops provided tactics for improving skills in areas like professional communication, networking, etiquette, leadership, and more.
“The goal of this event is to make sure our student leaders acquire the communication skills and others skills necessary to obtain jobs when they graduate,” said Penn State DuBois Assistant Director of Student Affairs Marly Doty. “Our student leaders have invested a ton of time in their experience outside of the classroom and we want them to be as marketable as they can be to employers when they graduate.”
In addition to workshops, the students participated in impromptu interviews, an etiquette luncheon, networking with employers, and skill sessions.
“Leader launch was a great experience and I am honored to have had the opportunity to attend the conference,” said Jordan Eisman, an upper class senator in the Student Government Associations and co-chair of the Penn State DuBois THON Committee.
Eisman went on to describe what she gained during Leader Launch, saying, “During the conference I was able to network with many different employers who gave me valuable advice and information on how to enter the workforce after graduation. I also attended many educational sessions and presentations that taught me skills such as how to be an effective leader, how to present myself professionally, and how to act during an interview. I left the conference with a much different outlook on the future and the job market. I am confident that I have many skills and experiences that will help me get a job and continue on my path to success.”
Student Courtney Mullins had a similarly exciting experience. She said, “Leader Launch was much more than I expected; it provided extensive and personal opportunities to network and connect with recruiters, employers and CEO’s of companies from the Pittsburgh area who were more than willing to give you the insight on how to be successful in the real world. While I was driving home after the conference, I thought to myself, ‘Courtney, you can really do this.’ I feel so confident and motivated to do more networking and I would not have been able to have that feeling without attending this conference.”
For Penn State DuBois student Jessica Metzger, Leader Launch felt like a life saver. “I learned the dos and the don’ts when it comes to communicating in the work place,” she said. “I was interested in learning about some words that are completely acceptable and common in everyday conversation but if used in the work environment they can downgrade you. During this conference I learned I still have a lot of things to do before I graduate and try to enter the working force with my degree. Without attending this conference I wouldn’t have noticed areas where I’m unprepared, and it helped steer me in the right direction to get me ready to enter the work force.”
Career Services and Student Life Professionals at Penn State hope to turn this first Leader Launch program into an annual event. The feedback from those who attended this inaugural conference show that a yearly opportunity would be embraced by many students, like Mullins. She said, “The team did a fantastic job for this being the first Leader Launch for Western Pennsylvania Campuses and I can’t wait to see how this conference expands in the future. Anyone who has the opportunity to go to a conference like Leader Launch should take it and run with it; you will thank yourself for going outside of your comfort zone and getting to network with many professionals and companies.”
For more information on Leader Launch or Penn State Career Services, contact the Penn State DuBois Office of Student Life at 814-375-4764 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Career Services Center at 814-372-3015 or email@example.com.