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Sophomores Learn to Navigate Internships, Personal Branding

Students in classroom listening to instructer
Sophomore students get advice from industry professionals about how to represent themselves both when applying for positions and on the job.

In order to help sophomore students find their way onto career paths and achieve their goals, the Center for Career Development recently hosted the Sophomore Career Experience conference. Organized by Center Dir. Nathan Elton and Assistant Dir. Tiffany Waddell, the one-day conference was composed of sessions to assist students in understanding themselves and building their personal brands.

"We wanted to be able to capture a large number of students for a group program and in a group setting," said Waddell. "The idea was to look outside of Davidson and create a space for an experiential education where students could practice what they're learning about job exploration."

The 90 sophomores who participated were divided into two groups for the sessions "Setting Your Path & the Internship Search" (Presented by Jamie Stamey, Center for Career Development) and "Your Career Brand: Digital, Print and In Person" (Brittney Bogues, All In PR). In between the sessions students attended a lunch and learn panel called "What Do Employers Look For?" The panel included Aaron Curley '10 from the Search Solution Group, Sara Jane Spivey '98 from Ingersoll Rand, and Adam York '06 from Deloitte Consulting.

Waddell explained, "The summer between sophomore and junior year is crucial, and we want to make sure our students are building the knowledge and skills they'll need and making networking connections to succeed in locating summer opportunities."

The final sessions of the day were career roundtables divided by industry and led by alumni. Industries included government, law and policy; healthcare; consulting and finance; nonprofit, social action and education; and technology and entrepreneurship, among others.

Josh Attias '17, who is considering a career in public health, was looking forward to the opportunity to meet alumni and receive tips on joining the workforce. He said, "The most valuable advice I received was to take advantage of the resources I have at Davidson when it comes to research and internship opportunities through platforms like WildcatLink."

Southern Piedmont Region Director at the North Carolina Council for Women Elyse Hamilton-Childres '09 was among the 17 alumni roundtable leaders. Having majored in classics at Davidson and started a dual master of arts/doctoral program in classics at UNC Chapel Hill before recently earning a master's degree in social work, Hamilton-Childres said her own career path has been unexpected.

"I hope I encouraged students to keep their minds open and realize that Davidson will open more doors than they can possibly imagine," she said. "I'm always looking for opportunities to connect with Davidson students and share my experiences in the hope that it will somehow help them, because Davidson was critical in my career trajectory and I want to give back."