The team is working closely with students to enhance their experience at MICA
Posted 01.01.12 by MICA Communications
When hired as director of the Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development a little over a year ago, Megan Miller brought a unique understanding of MICA's students to the position. She had previously directed the College's Student Activities Office, working closely with students to enhance their experience at MICA. That background gave her insight into the needs and behaviors of students, as well as how they communicate with peers, faculty, and staff. Miller took that knowledge and used it to enhance the way the office communicates with its audience.
One of the first changes Miller made was to hire two assistant directors in positions that mirror the College's academic offerings and associate dean structure-Assistant Director for Design & Media Marsha Lynn Hammond '98 '99 and Assistant Director for Fine Arts Rachel Sitkin '02. Now, students and alumni can work directly with staff specifically focused on their field as they seek career assistance through internships, grants, residencies, and graduate study.
Other changes include the addition of eight peer career advisors (PCAs), current students who represent a diverse set of majors and run weekly career advice sessions. As Miller explains, "I knew from experience that the more students you have involved in a project, the more word will get out, and involvement by other students will grow. Now, a current student's first interaction with our staff will be with a peer. That makes the career preparation process less scary, and it is great professional experience for our PCAs."
Another focus of the office is to help students land internships for course credit. A recent senior survey revealed that more than 70 percent of graduates held at least one internship before they graduated, with many landing more than one. Miller's team is working to increase the number of opportunities even more. As a part of the process for internships arranged through career development, students meet with a counselor both at the beginning of the internship and at the conclusion, enabling a dialogue about career preparation.
The office has also undergone what Miller calls a "digital revolution," as resources that were once printed have moved online to the career development website. These resources include a growing library of career preparation videos that cover everything from documenting art work to workshops on how to use social media and other technology as part of a job search. Megan Zink Denham '05 was instrumental in implementing the new MICAnetwork, a one stop shop for finding and posting opportunities which also allows students and alumni to research employers and read profiles online. Students can also have internships approved for credit through an online process.
"We have a jobs database that has a collection of opportunities that includes internships, but many are very competitive, with applicants from across the country. By thinking about opportunities a semester ahead of time, our office can better support students as they prepare the strongest application possible," Miller said.
"We try to communicate with students in their language so they understand how important it is to boost certain skills before they graduate. We're on Facebook actively as well, because it's important to use the same media our students use for communication."
The changes won't end there. Fulbright Program Advisor Erin Treacy was recently hired to increase MICA's number of Fulbright applicants. Additionally, Miller is working closely with departments across campus to better understand and respond to the career needs of graduate students, international students, and alumni.Image caption: (left to right) Marsha Lynn Hammond '98 '99, Rachel Sitkin '02, Megan Miller, and Meagan Zink Denham '05. (Photo by Christopher Myers '94)