Because a liberal arts degree is a preparation for many different types of work after college, some students have difficulty choosing their career path. While a pre-medical student naturally goes on to medical school, or a business major to a job in, say, marketing or finance, a philosophy or theology major may not see things quite so clearly, and may even be fearful that his course of study has not really prepared him for a decent, well-paying job at all. Christendom’s Alumni and Career Development Office is working hard to allay this fear and to support and educate Christendom’s students in their career planning and job search.
Tom McGraw, who has been the Director of this office for the past year and a half, has planned a series of events for juniors and seniors to help prepare them to enter the professional world when they graduate. In addition to workshops on resume writing and job interviewing, the Career Office has created a few “inspirational” events. Twice each semester McGraw hosts “Life on Tap,” a talk in the St. Kilian’s Café by a Catholic professional who will speak to the students about being a Catholic in the working world.
The Alumni and Career office was created as a result of a self-study conducted by the College a little over two years ago. The study surveyed students, alumni, faculty, and staff and determined that there was a need to foster greater alumni interaction with the College and provide increased assistance to students in finding their career paths. McGraw began the job in August 2005, and by September he was starting to realize that the task was an ambitious one.
“Not two months after taking this new position I remember thinking: ‘this is kind of a big job,’” recalls McGraw. “When I met Steve Kunath, a 2004 graduate of Christendom at Italian Night that year, I talked to him for a while about some of my plans. At the end, I said something like, ‘I think I’m going to need some help.’” Kunath, a software engineer, was not long in responding. This past summer he met with McGraw and offered to assist the Alumni and Career Office by building a Student Services Portal. This online software allows students to view the career office job bank and post their resumes online. Additional student services beyond the scope of career development will possibly be added to the portal in the near future.
McGraw says he has received significant support and encouragement from the faculty and staff of Christendom as well as timely help from other alumni. John Clark ‘92, president of Paladin Financial Group (pictured above), was the first speaker at “Life on Tap” earlier this year, as well as the keynote speaker at The Alumni Career Mentoring Reception held last spring. Dori Greco Rutherford ‘93, and Rosanne and Sean Garvey ‘93, also delivered encouraging talks at that event. Altogether, nearly 25 alumni from a variety of professions attended and introduced themselves to our students.
“It is one thing to read in a brochure or an ad, that with a degree from Christendom you can do, ‘anything you want.’ But actually to meet alumni who have proved the truth of that statement is inspiring and powerful,” said McGraw.
McGraw hopes that this year’s Alumni Career Mentoring Reception will provide this inspiration once again. “I really need the help of the alumni to come back and show our students how they have done it. In many cases that’s all our current students need to see. I try to tell them to ‘be not afraid,’ but it also helps when you have 25 smiling alumni in professional attire saying virtually the same thing: ‘We did it, so can you.’”
Below are some links to information on the marketability of a Liberal Arts Degree.