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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Career center to expand travel program connecting participants with industry leaders

Students will soon be able to meet industry experts in two new cities as part of a Center for Career Services program.

The Center for Career Services is expanding a program that connects students with industry leaders in cities across the country.

Staci Fowler, the managing director of employer services, said Career Quest – which officials launched in 2015 to learn about career opportunities available across the United States – will offer programs in Atlanta over winter break and Austin, Texas, next summer. Officials and students said the program’s growth will provide networking opportunities that will help prepare students for their future careers.

“The expansion allows us to provide even more opportunities for our students to connect with a variety of leading organizations in major cities across the United States,” Fowler said in an email. “It exposes organizations, who may not come to on-campus to recruit, to talented GW students.”

Fowler said the Office of Alumni Relations also holds an alumni networking event or dinner in each trip city. The program offers participants opportunities to gain “up close” and personal experiences by learning about job and internship opportunities and hearing from employers about their careers at leading companies in major cities, according to the career center website.

Officials have held past “career treks” to New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles since the program launched four years ago, according to the website.

Fowler said the program, which is open to undergraduate and graduate students, has drawn nearly 250 student participants since it launched. Officials select participants through two application rounds, and interested students must submit an essay, resume and transcript.

Finalists are invited to interview with the career center’s staff, she said.

“Because the program is open to both undergraduate and graduate students from all GW schools, each cohort has the opportunity to meet other GW students, and students enjoy that aspect,” she said.

Fowler said the “majority” of the program’s costs are covered through philanthropy. Mark and Rosalind Shenkman donated $5 million to the career center in 2014, which helps support the program, according to the career center’s website.

Participants in Career Quest said the program allowed them to hear advice from employee panels and to network with hiring departments and alumni, which will help them land jobs in the future.

Brianna Borghi, a journalism and mass communication major who graduated in 2019, said she participated in a Career Quest trip to New York City during fall break in 2018. She visited companies like Bloomberg, Facebook and Spotify on the trip and saw their work spaces firsthand, Borghi said.

“The majority of my experience up until that point had all been in news production, and before I graduated, I really wanted to try to get a sense of other opportunities that might be available in the media industry but I wasn’t necessarily familiar with,” Borghi said. “So I thought the Career Quest might be a great way to do that.”

Borghi said touring different companies and hearing from the employees provided her with “interesting” insight into how companies operate day to day.

Patrick Hubbard, a second-year graduate student majoring in applied economics who traveled on a Career Quest trip to Boston this summer, said the trip helped tangibly frame his job search. He has applied for an opportunity he discovered at a company he visited through the program, Hubbard said.

“I am studying economics, and a lot of people on the trip were coming from really diverse and wide-ranging backgrounds, so there was something for all of us,” he said.

Crystal Harrell, a second-year graduate student in the Milken Institute School of Public Health who traveled to Boston, said Career Quest began to bridge the “huge gap” between learning in the classroom and applying those skills in the workforce, adding that she is considering applying to work at some of the companies she visited on the trip.

“When I got to speak with these companies, they just assured us that we already have the tools, we just have to really know how to apply them,” she said.

Harrell added that the opportunity allowed her and other participants to interact with employers in a setting that provided more opportunities to receive individualized advice.

“They were very informative for those people who are chosen, and it was a small cohort, so it was just a little bit more intimate,” she said.

Lujain Al-Khawi, a recent graduate from the School of Engineering and Applied Science who participated in the center’s Los Angeles trip in winter 2017, said the program’s professional networking opportunities through company visits and engagement with alumni have created connections that she plans to use in her future job search.

“It seems to me like the emphasis was not to make sure that everybody who attended Career Quest got an internship – I think it was to expose us to what was out there,” All-Khawi said.

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