Letter to the Editor

By Guest Contributor

To the Editor,

The Campus opinion pages have included a number of references as of late to the Center for Careers & Internships (CCI) and its perceived role in not only adding stress to students’ lives as they consider summer plans and/or life after Middlebury, but also for doing too little in offering students opportunities, programming and advice beyond finance. I would like to offer my own thoughts on this as well as to correct a few factual errors.

First the facts: 24 percent of those employed in the Class of 2015 (56 percent) went into financial services, not 24% of all graduating seniors. Also, the MiddNet alumni volunteer network does not have zero volunteers in the fields of government, communications and the arts but instead 237, 521 and 271, respectively. In addition, CCI programming brings hundreds of alums back to campus in every field, with our Field Guides, UpNext, Career Conversations, @Middlebury, the Preparation & Possibilities Sophomore Conference and more. Also worth noting is the fact that 350-400 Midd alums and parents in every field are posting jobs and internships on MOJO.

Ironically, on the day that the Campus editorial appeared urging us to “expand our offerings to include more opportunities that deviate from the finance track,” here’s what we had on tap for just that one week:
· “Sushi and Social Change: Careers with Social Impact in the Common Good,” where 75 students, parents and alums joined in a wide-ranging conversation on what matters to them in their current and future work.
· “Google @ Middlebury,” a two-day event with five alums and 130 students attending the pizza social info session on Google opportunities in design, legal, PR, HR, marketing, tech and more. Another 100 students took advantage of alum resume reviews the following day.
· “Design Your Senior Year,” a program low on stress and high on thinking outside the box on how to plan for life after Middlebury.
· “JumpStart Your Job Search: Careers in Education,” held on two days for seniors whose passion is education.
·“Self-Assessment Workshops for Seniors” to help students refine their ideas about what types of work might be most compatible.
· “Symposium on Careers in the Law,” with Midd alums talking about their paths to law school and how they ended up in such diverse legal careers.

The editorial urged “students to be in charge of their own futures” – we couldn’t agree more. The fact is that most Midd grads want or need to work, and we’re here to help with that process of exploration.

CCI’s work is all in the service of 2500+ students who are very diverse in their four-year paths to their post-graduate pursuits. We’re looking for students to be partners in the process, to be engaged with CCI early and often, to understand that it is their future to embrace and that while planning for it needs to be as much a part of their undergraduate journey as choosing their major, studying abroad, playing a sport or volunteering, it is never to be at the expense of being a student of the liberal arts but instead a complement. To ensure that a liberal arts education remains relevant in the 21st century, not only do we need to remain committed to a rigorous curriculum as the foundation of this education, we must also complete it with equally strong expectation and opportunity for our students to become full partners in a truly global community – and engage the world.

I write this after just returning from an inspiring lunch we co-sponsored with Chellis House, spending an hour with WAGS (now GSFS) major Lauren Curatolo ’06 and 30+ students as she talked about her path from Middlebury to Goldman Sachs to law school to her current position, working for the Brooklyn-based Legal Aid Society, the country’s oldest and largest not-for-profit legal services organization dedicated to providing quality legal representation to low-income New Yorkers.

Students, whatever your calling – law, acting, journalism, conservation biology, medicine, writing, teaching, social justice, dancing, Wall Street, international development – and even, and perhaps especially, if you don’t have one yet – the CCI team is working hard to engage you to make this process less stressful, more intentional and part of the undergraduate adventure.

Peggy Burns, Director
Center for Careers & Internships