As the final exam period approaches and the academic year reaches its end, underclassmen are finalizing applications for summer internships while seniors are securing full-time jobs and graduate school acceptances.
Karen Kuczynski, the director of career education in the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD), works with other staff members to provide academic and professional resources and services to all Lehigh students.
To accommodate both the growing interest in campus resources and the planned increases in the size of the student body, the CCPD will relocate from the Rauch Business Center to Maginnes Hall at the end of the semester.
Kuczynski said in an email that the center is “excited” about the move, which will allow the office to offer a “more central location” on campus and additional resources to students.
Students primarily use the center’s resources when seeking jobs, internships, and other professional opportunities, Kuczynski said in an email.
Among these resources, which include resume help, interview skills and career expos, is a service known as Career Lab.
“Career Lab allows students to walk in Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. and receive assistance with career exploration, resumes, cover letters, internship and job search, networking and interviewing,” Kuczynski said.
Career Lab attendance, according to the CCPD, has increased by 100 percent over the past year due to increased student interest.
Calla Dilli, ’19, said she has had success with the CCPD and its resources.
“I’ve gone in, mostly my junior year, and got help with resumes,” Dilli said.
Dilli’s time with the CCPD appears to be a common experience this year. Kuczynski explained that student participation in the CCPD has risen, both in person and through the center’s technological platforms.
The CCPD uses Handshake, an internship and job placement app, and Lehigh Connects, a service that links Lehigh students with alumni. The CCPD reported that 74 percent of all Lehigh students use Handshake. Additionally, students sent over 3,700 messages on Lehigh Connects this past year.
“Technology continues to be a valuable resource in our work to support student success,” Kuczynski said in an email. “Students have been taking full advantage of our services.”
Students report, though, that outside connections are still a favored method of securing internships and job opportunities.
Madison Miranda, ’19, a biology student, described how she landed an internship with a veterinarian’s office.
“I go to my vet a lot with my animals, so it was kind of easy to just connect and get a job,” Miranda said.
Dilli expressed that her experiences were similar to Miranda’s, saying that she gained “most of” her internships through “personal connections.”
While Lehigh students use both the CCPD resources and outside connections when applying for jobs and internships, opportunities continue to be a hit-or-miss for most students.
Dilli said some students obtain jobs or internships with ease, while others struggle to land similar prospects.
“I feel like it totally depends,” Dilli said. “I do say at times that I feel like I’m in kind of the middle. I struggled more than some of my classmates, and for others, it happened really easily. But at the same time, I am finding it easier than others.”
Despite the wide variety of internship and job placement experiences, Lehigh students have been largely successful in landing employment opportunities.
According to the 2018 First Destination Report completed by the CCPD, 89 percent of Lehigh students completed one or more internships or experience-based opportunity in the past year. Similarly, 95 percent of the class of 2018 was either employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Kuczynski said in an email she is confident that Lehigh students will “continue to be successful during summer breaks and after graduation” during the upcoming year.