Career Jam draws crowds to Case: College unexpectedly grants five internship awards to students

Posted by Jean-Ann Kubler

The college's second annual Career Jam, held on April 15, drew more than 200 students to Case Center in search of employment opportunities and advice. Toward the end of the event, five students received internship awards in a competition that was originally going to select only two winners.

Two of the college's established internship grants were awarded: the Parent's Council Award and the Council of 100's award, each of which provides $2,500 to help financially support students' unpaid internships.

Five finalists presented minute-long presentations to a panel of judges from the Parent's Council and Council of 100. The presenters briefly detailed their proposed internships and why they required funding.

After the presentations, Matt Cowe '11 received the Parent's Council award for his summer internship as a lab assistant at Albany Medical Center.

Laura Meli '12 received the Council of 100's award to fund her summer internship researching adolescent schizophrenia and behavioral cognition at the Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The three other finalists were Aneta Molenda ‘14, Chris Iredale ‘11 and Rachel Weller ‘13.

Their internships are with the Fresh Air Fund, an organization that provides summer vacations to underprivileged children; Shakespeare & Company; and a domestic violence shelter, respectively.

After the two scheduled award announcements, Parent's Council member Dan Cox announced that the judges were so impressed with the other finalists' presentations that they would fund the three remaining students as well.

"There are no losers here. You will all be funded for your summer internships," Cox said.

Before the prize announcements, approximately 50 alumni and parents representing a range of careers — from medical research to publishing — spoke to attendees about their respective career fields.

Career Jam is hosted and organized by the Office of Career Services and the Parent's Council.

"A lot of networking went into organizing the event, and we think it was successful. The speakers who are here showed a lot of interest in coming back and helping students figure out what their options are," Gail Dudack '70, chair of the Parent's Council, said.

Dudack said much of the networking and planning happened during the town hall meetings the college hosts throughout the country.

"A lot of the questions that came up during the town hall meetings had to do with the value of a liberal arts education — Career Jam is a great way to demonstrate that value," Dudack said.

The alumni and parents who participated were set up at tables throughout the second floor of Case Center.

Students wandered in and out of Case between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., approaching representatives to discuss career options and possible employment.

Parent and alumni participants represented a number of career fields, including human resources, marketing, law, arts and entertainment, management, publishing, finance and non-profit work.

Many recent graduates that participated in Career Jam heard about the event during the town hall meetings.

Hilary Sayia '08 contacted Dudack about participating in Career Jam after she attended one of the college's town hall meetings in New York City.

"Programs like this are so important. When you graduate, they hand you a degree and then it's just sort of like ‘Well what do I do with this?'" Sayia said.

Sayia, who majored in business and economics, works as a sales coordinator on the advertising decision solutions team for Akamai Technologies.

"As a business major I focused on advertising, and my education has been so useful in the field of digital advertising I work in now," Sayia said.

Unlike the first Career Jam, this year's event featured six career-oriented workshops, held in Ladd 206 and 307.

The workshops focused on interview skills, resume building, how to emphasize the value of a liberal arts education to a perspective employee and how to start a small business.

Though most of the organizers said they felt the event was a success, some student attendees were disappointed.

"I thought there would be more information about actual job opportunities for the summer. This just wasn't what I was expecting," Philip Diamond '13 said.

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