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Saint Mary’s hosts fair for graduating seniors

| Thursday, March 28, 2019

Saint Mary’s seniors are about to take the leap from college into the world of adulthood. To better prepare them for that world, the College hosted its annual graduation fair Wednesday.

The President’s Office, Campus and Community Events, graduate programs, Career Crossings and the Saint Mary’s Alumni Recruitment Team (SMART) all had tables at the fair for senior students to explore post-graduate options.  

Donna Botka DeFrees, an administrative assistant for the Office of the President, said the goal of the fair is to prepare graduates for life after schooling and to make sure they know about the support system provided by the College and its alumnae.

“It’s important to us that graduates have the exit information they’ll need for life past Saint Mary’s,” DeFrees said. “We want them to stay connected and be well-prepared ahead of time to graduate, finish their requirements and answer any last-minute questions students may have.”

Seniors at the fair were given information on what can be seen as concerns for graduates, such as caps and gowns for commencement, graduate school, the alumna support network and career opportunities.

Stacie Jeffirs, director of the Career Crossings Office, surveyed seniors at the fair to gather information on their current plans.

“We want to get a snapshot of where they are now, and what they’re doing,” Jeffirs said. “We’ll use this information to reach out in a year — and then in five years — in order to see how plans have either changed or remained the same.”

Jeffirs said the goal of Career Crossings’ presence at the graduation fair is to promote continued contact between Saint Mary’s and its students after they leave.

“We’re here to celebrate the successes of our seniors and to help, assist and guide them. We want them to know they can contact us at any time,” she said.

Senior Mary Carper, a social work major, said she appreciates the support system Saint Mary’s provides.

“It’s nice that Career Crossings is so well-connected,” she said. “They provide internships and alumni connections.”

Senior and business administration major Olivia Brown said she feels the same way.

“I’m currently undecided about what I want to do [after graduation],” Brown said. “I’m glad that the information about the alumnae network is available.”

Another student, senior Dorinda Hackworth, spoke about how she believes her experiences at Saint Mary’s will help her later in life. Hackworth said she is planning to work in hospital social work at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, and there are advantages of a Saint Mary’s education.

“All of my professors are active members of their fields,” Hackworth said. “They teach social work classes, but they’re still working and sharing their stories with us. It gives us stuff to talk about in class and helps us learn about real-world experiences that will help us later on.”

Students may receive guidance from professors and alumnae alike, and Brown said she believes one of the College’s great strengths is in its networking.

“I think Saint Mary’s does a good job of instilling the idea of, ‘Once a Belle, Always a Belle,’ in students,” Brown said. “There’s a network out there, and they’re going to support us.”

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