By Jack Despeaux
Elm Staff Writer
It isn’t uncommon at Washington College to hear about the countless opportunities and resources the school has to offer. Now students have another resource to explore. This January, the Launchpad program will have its first ever conference event. This initiative was created with the intention of guiding seniors from their final year at WC into the first steps of life after school.
Director of Career Development Jim Allison said of the program, “[The Launchpad initiative] was created as a collaborative venture between the Associate Provost Patrice DiQuinzio and the SGA,” he said. The first meeting for the program took place during the spring semester of 2014, and then Launchpad was founded by Vice President of the SGA Maddie Zins and Financial Controller Katie Young and is headed by Zins.
Allison says that the “conference-style” event will take place from Jan. 15-17, and there will be a variety of activities. He said that the sessions during the event will include Professional Networking, Avoiding the Resume Black Hole, How to Research a Company, Entrepreneurial Career Options, Elevator Speeches, the Potential “Gap-Year” After College, Personal Finance, Social Media and “Branding” Yourself, Cooking (Essential Meals for the New Graduate), and Public Speaking. There will also be an alumni panel discussing interviews and interviewing and a reception in the alumni house.
The SGA has become the main sponsor of Launchpad, with help mainly from Allison’s office in the career center, Alumni Relations, and a number of other sponsors.
Allison said that the program is solely for seniors this year, which may develop into earlier guidance for juniors in the future.
There are a few prerequisites that seniors must complete to attend the conference. First, they must apply for the event by Nov. 1. Seniors must also pay a $50 seminar fee and fill out a pre-seminar survey by Dec. 1. There is also a sample cover letter for one’s dream job that is due on Dec. 15. All of this information can be found on the Launchpad page in the “SGA Initiatives” section on the WC website.
If Launchpad is as successful as Allison firmly believes it will be, then WC will be able to reach out to students and new alumni in a whole new way. Students will find guidance in the career world similar to the guidance offered upon arrival at WC as far as living at an institution of higher education. The WC student not only receives the education for a career but also learns how to pursue the career. Many students are anxious about the job search and with the job market still shaken from the recession, this initiative may guide students into a career and some peace of mind.
With the Launchpad initiative, the school is providing an outlet for WC’s scholars to use what they have learned in pursuit of a future career and life after school. For questions on the Launchpad program, Zins and Allison may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com