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Center aids SMC seniors in job hunt

Nowakowski, Teresa | Wednesday, March 31, 2004

As graduation rapidly approaches for Saint Mary’s class of 2004, seniors anticipate donning their caps and gowns and taking one final walk down the Avenue into the future that lies before them. Seniors have a number of paths to choose to follow after leaving the tree lined drive. Many look forward to a variety of occupations ranging from service opportunities to full-time salaried careers, said Jeff Roberts, associate director for career opportunities in the Counseling and Career Development Center. Roberts said that the CCDC exists for students who “just want to come in to create a plan that is unique to them.” The center does not help with specific advising in class, but does answer questions students may have about their degree or how to pursue a job.Roberts only works with juniors and seniors, while other staff members cater their services to freshmen and sophomores. According to Roberts, 50 to 60 percent of Saint Mary’s graduates typically decide to move on to full-time positions, 25 to 27 percent pursue post-graduate education, 10 to 15 percent consider one year of voluntary service, and a small group chooses occupations in the military or decide to take a year break.This year’s seniors fall within many of the groups Roberts describes.Marianne Orfanos, a history major, is applying to work at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago. Orfanos says she continues to await a response, but that isn’t stopping her from pursuing what she wants to do. “I want to work with kids and I’m happy doing that,” she said. If the Mercy Home does not work out, Orfanos hopes to set her sites on other service opportunities.Chemistry major Stephanie Cunningham plans to continue her education to obtain a master’s and possibly Ph.D. in industry and research development. Cunningham attributes getting into graduate school to personal recommendations from Saint Mary’s professors.”[They] are more than just, ‘Oh, she turned in her homework, I don’t know who she is,'” she said.Mary Beth Broviak, an English writing major, does not have a job following graduation. She is looking for a career in publishing or public relations, but acknowledges that neither field tends to hire in advance. She plans to maintain her job at Victoria’s Secret, relocate to a different city and, once there, find a job in the area of her choice. Jeanne Berger, a marketing and international business major, has had several job offers including a position in banking management and sales at National City and an offer to teach in Japan. “Business is really competitive, but the market has improved a lot,” she said. Most of these women agree that Saint Mary’s prepared them well for what lies ahead. “Having a Saint Mary’s degree behind my name is meaningful,” said psychology major Yvonne Benson, who is pursuing graduate work at Fairfield University in Connecticut. “There are a lot of companies that like to hire SMC women,” Broviak said. However, Berger feels that while a Saint Mary’s degree may be an asset in surrounding states, it may not have the same mark of recognition in others.While many seniors said they utilized the CCDC for purposes such as proofreading resumes, finding jobs and locating internships, some suggest improvements for next year. “They need someone specifically for the sciences,” Cunningham said. “I don’t think they know what [the] industry is looking for.”