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CCU Career Services sends students to meet with top employers

February 11, 2019
CCU Career Services took a group of students to Columbia last semester to visit employers like Nephron Pharmaceuticals.CCU Career Services took a group of students to Columbia last semester to visit employers like S.C. DHEC.CCU Career Services took a group of students to Columbia last semester to visit employers like Riverbanks Zoo.

Through a student achievement grant from the Office of the Provost, 15 Coastal Carolina University students will travel to Charlotte, N.C., this month to network with some of the top potential employers in their fields.

The trip is the second event in the Career Trek program, devised by CCU’s Career Services department. Faculty selected students from their department with the aim of building networking skills and relationships.

“Opportunities like this help the University grow,” said Christen Cox, career counselor and outreach coordinator. “Not only does it help our students have unique experiences, but it gives Coastal a strong reputation with those companies.”

The agenda for the weekend will include recruiting and resume reviews, mock interviews, presentations, and informational sessions with organizations such as ESPN, the Charlotte Hornets, Red Ventures and the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Corey Kowalke, a senior communication major who will attend the trip, is most excited to meet with representatives of the Charlotte Hornets. Kowalke says that a public relations job for a major sports franchise is his dream, and he’s grateful to make connections before graduation.

“Getting a job is about being in the right places at the right time,” said Kowalke. “Coastal provides the opportunities to be at that right place.”

Last October, the first Career Trek event sent nine biology students to Columbia, S.C., to meet with Nephron Pharmaceuticals, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the Riverbanks Zoo. The students even received a hands-on tour of the zoo with behind the scenes access to animal exhibits with professional zookeepers and administrators.

Viktoria Berkey, a biology major at CCU, attended the Career Trek last fall, and she believes that the experience was not only educational, but eye-opening.

“I learned about so many different types of jobs that were out there [for my degree],” said Berkey. “There were some I found quite interesting even though I never really saw myself doing a job like it. I got to learn more about myself as well.”

The same student achievement grant that will fund the upcoming trip to Charlotte also covered all transportation, meals and related expenses for the trip to Columbia.

The Career Trek program is just one initiative that Career Services has implemented on campus. Every first-year student takes two assessments from Career Services—the TypeFocus and the Strong Interest Assessments—to help them devise a proper career path based on the answers they provide about themselves.

“We want students to understand that the goal is not just to choose a major but to understand what careers may follow,” said Cox.

Another service offered to students is Handshake, an online platform for employers to post jobs and internships approved by a representative of Career Services. In addition to these online resources, career fairs and development workshops are offered each semester on campus.

“If we can figure out a student’s dream job early, then that student can get started early and possibly be in a management position by the age of 26, for example, instead of in their 30s,” said Cox.

Career Services also provides constant advising to Coastal students, through researching tools, interview preparation and resume building. The department keeps in touch with alumni at various organizations to help connect current students to future employers, which can give individuals an extra advantage in securing work.

“I think it says a lot when you remain connected to your school,” said Cox.

“Networking is half the part of getting a job,” echoed Kowalke. “There are so many great opportunities.”

The goal of Career Services is to enhance collaboration, assessment efforts, engagement and relationships, while increasing research on the best practices of career services and strategic planning. Overall, Career Services seeks to produce responsible, successful graduates at Coastal Carolina University.

“We see students leave college as critical thinkers and confident individuals who take initiative,” said Cox.

For more information about the Career Trek program or Career Services, contact career@coastal.edu or visit coastal.edu/career.