Diversity in the Workplace

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Diversity is a crucial component of any environment. We should strive to surround ourselves with individuals who are different than us, who come from different backgrounds and cultures, so that we may learn more about the array of humanity’s differences.

When it comes to implementing diversity in the workplace, we can see how these important differences between us can play out into our personal and professional well-beings, benefiting all parties involved.

At Hope, there are many different ways that diversity is expressed and given the opportunity to thrive. For example, there are clubs and organizations on campus that allow students to celebrate different cultures such as the Black Student Union (BSO), Hope Asian Perspective Association (HAPA), Latino Student Organization (LSO), and the Theta Gamma Pi Sorority. These are all under the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, which has launched a campus wide program called G.R.O.W.

What is G.R.O.W.? According to the Center for Diversity and Inclusion‘s website, G.R.O.W. is a dynamic, campus-wide initiative that fosters diverse relationships and deepens cross-cultural competence to achieve an inclusive campus community, which allows us to fulfill our multicultural/global and Christian mission at Hope College. The acronym G.R.O.W. stands for: “Growing Relationships through diverse Opportunities to strengthen involvement in an ever-changing World.” Hope is always trying to grow when it comes to diversity on campus, and the G.R.O.W. program as well as the Center for Diversity and Inclusion do an amazing job of bettering this area of campus.

Audrey Park, a senior this year and the vice president of the Hope Asian Perspective Association, commented on the importance of being exposed to diverse backgrounds:

The world is changing everyday and the United States especially has come to have such a large mix of backgrounds in this country. For students to not be exposed to real diversity can cause them to live the rest of their lives in confusion about how to treat those with different backgrounds.

She also divulged her view of an ideal diverse workplace and why having a diverse workplace is important:

A diverse workplace is extremely important for me because being a part of the Korean American population in America, if those in the workforce are just led and hired by those of the majority then those with different cultural background will not be taken into account when making decisions.  For example in the education system, if every school had no diversity than students would not be truly understood with different backgrounds and would feel as though they are not being understood.  If the workplace is not diverse then I feel as though fair employment will not be executed because those who are hired are only hired because it feels more comfortable to hire someone you have seen before versus someone you are different from.  Humans work the best when they are able to communicate and understand each other well and that only comes from being able to learn about each other and accept each other.

How do students know which companies are best when it comes to diversity? Here are the 50 best places to work when it comes to diversity, according to greatplacetowork.com. Among these companies are: Delta Air Lines, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and QuickenLoans. According to the website, “rankings take into account how favorably women, minorities and LGBTQ employees experience their workplace relative to their male, Caucasian and heterosexual colleagues’ experiences; as well as the degree of representation women and minorities enjoy within the workforce as a whole, management and executive roles.” Local companies that take diversity into account are Herman Miller and Kellogg.

Diversity in the workplace offers many benefits as well as challenges. To name a few, some benefits according to multiculturaladvantage.com are:

  • Increased Adaptability
  • Broader Service Ranges
  • A Variety of Viewpoints
  • More Effective Execution

Challenges according to the same website are:

  • Communication
  • Resistance to Change
  • Implementation of Diversity in the Workplace Policies
  • Successful Management of Diversity in the Workplace

When looking for a place of employment, make sure to take diversity and these benefits and challenges into account. How can students do this? There are many ways, but a great place to start is at the Diversity in the Workplace panel discussion on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Maas Center. The panel is sure to give a great introduction as to why diversity in the workplace is so important.

Hope to see you there!




Where are you Christmas? Just Past Finals Week!


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“May Peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!” – Author Unknown

As the Fall semester comes to a close, the Hope College community is buzzing  with different emotions. There is excitement as Christmas draws near, and the looming emotion of stress is palpable as finals week inches closer. There is also the emotion of accomplishment, as final papers or portfolios are turned in.

The Career Development Center is feeling this accomplishment as well – we’ve accomplished a lot this semester! The STEM Fair, Seminary Day, Gap Year Fair, Arts and Humanities Alumni Panel, and the many recruiters that came to campus were just some of the highlights. These events informed students of options after graduation and gave them ample opportunities to explore different organizations and what they do.

As the new year approaches, the Career Development Center has many more events that will be beneficial to students in the coming semester. For example, the Summer Camp Fair will be held on January 18th, the Internship Fair will be held on February 2nd, and the Etiquette Dinner will be held on March 1st. Two events the CDC is most excited about are College to Career held on April 19th, and the Living and Working Series events which will take place in the months of March and April. These events will give graduating seniors a look at what life will be like after graduation in areas varying from faith and work, to friends and relationships. It will be a good time to get students thinking about how to approach the different areas of their life once graduation comes.

Since we’re wrapping up the semester and looking forward to Christmas, we found some tips that we think would be useful for the finals week ahead:

  • Maximize on your sleep
  • Eat healthy and drink plenty of water
  • Plan your time
  • Make sure to take breaks
  • Exercise
  • Review and revise your materials
  • Try and stay motivated to the end!

The CDC would like to wish you good luck and success as this semester draws to an end. Remember that Drop-Ins will will still be available 3:00pm-4:30pm during finals week. Enjoy this holiday season and we will see you next semester!

The Philadelphia Program – Experiential Learning at Its Finest

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“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”  – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

If you are considering studying off-campus to gain valuable ‘real world’ experience while also earning credits towards your degree, The Philadelphia Center could be perfect program for you! Students have the opportunity to do an internship, live in the “City of Brotherly Love,” earn sixteen credits, and gain a better understanding of how to transition from college life to the professional world.

Dr. Annie Dandavati is the current executive director of The Philadelphia Center. She taught at Hope College for 24 years serving as the director of Women’s Studies, International Studies, and most recently, the chair of the Political Science department. She graciously gave us an opportunity to interview her, and she offered us some insightful information about The Philadelphia Center.

What drew me to The Philadelphia Center was the program’s ability to offer a liberal arts curriculum while also giving students the opportunity for experiential learning in an urban environment. The students get to engage in a more diverse and cultural experience, all within the borders of the United States. The entire experience with The Philadelphia Center provides a place to discern what your calling is and what career path you should follow.

The program offers a series of internships, which is a practical way of experiencing and applying what students have learned in the classroom to professional settings.  There are over 800 internships that are currently available in the program. Within those internships, students can find something in almost any major of the liberal arts curriculum.

Once you arrive at the Center, you get the opportunity to prepare a customized learning plan in consultation with a faculty adviser to explore available internships. You go through a process where you (the student), faculty adviser, and supervisors all decide which internship is best for you. You would then interview at three different internships, providing you with essential interview experience. Students may not get their first pick, but an internship is guaranteed to every student in the program.

2017 will be the program’s 50th anniversary, which allows students to have a large alumni base. There are typically about 40 students that are accepted into the program, hailing from a range of 90 different liberal arts schools. This gives students the opportunity to not only experience a new city, but to meet new people from different backgrounds and academic institutions as well.

Exploring housing options is another aspect of the program that helps students practice their ‘real life’ transitions. They are assisted in looking for housing by working closely with the Center staff who interim rent residential spaces.

The Philadelphia Center also offers a summer program. It is two months long and gives each student eight credits. Five are for the internship and three are for the class. The housing is provided by the University of Pennsylvania.

Many students have remarked that this is a life changing program. It is an opportunity that facilitates making the transition between college and the real world a bit smoother.

This is a great opportunity to gain experiential learning! If you are interested in exploring this beneficial program heck out The Philadelphia Center’s website for more information!

The Best Two Years Of Your life – Join the Peace Corps

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“Each one of us can make a difference. Together we make change” – Barbara Mikulski

Do you have a heart for individuals in third world countries? At a loss for what to do after graduation? Consider becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer!

What exactly is the Peace Corps? It is a volunteer program run by the United States government, offering opportunities to assist and aid people in developing countries to U.S. citizens above 18 years old. The program requires you to commit to serving abroad for 27 months. During these 27 months, you will have three months of training in the host country in which you will be serving.

The Peace Corps mission statement is as follows:

To promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained Volunteers.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

You can work in different sectors within the Peace Corps. These include agriculture, education, community economic development, environment and youth in development. This could help you find your passion and help kick-start you into the right career path.

We asked Carissa Patrone some questions about own experiences in the Peace Corps. She is now a campus recruiter for the Peace Corps. This is what she said:

 I served as a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) volunteer. I was teaching English in two public high schools in the mountains of rural Nicaragua from 2013-2015.

Why did you join the Peace Corps?

Ever since high school when I first heard about the Peace Corps I knew it was something I wanted to do after college. I loved the idea of going somewhere new, immersing myself in the culture and language and helping others. I had this idea in my head about what my service would be like, but it was so much more than that. Initially, I thought that I would be the one bringing new knowledge and skills to Nicaragua, but I learned so much more in the process.

What did you learn in the Peace Corps?

Not only did I learn how to teach English in a more communicative and dynamic way, train English teachers and engage students in the classroom. I also learned various skills that I can still apply to my life today. I learned how to creatively carry out projects in my community that focuses on my community’s needs and incorporating my own passions. I learned patience and flexibility, and that integrating into your community is key.

What life lessons did you take away from being in the Peace Corps?

Hay más tiempo que vida (there is more time than life) is the phrase that Nicaraguans often integrate into their everyday conversation. I learned to live in the moment and cherish a slower pace of life. I loved spending hours in rocking chairs over numerous cups of coffee with my Nicaraguan grandparents and friends. People are people, no matter where they are from, and the human connection is what is important. Even though my community members did not have much, they would share whatever they had with you and were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met.

What are some of the challenges you faced in the Peace Corps?

Most of the challenges I faced during my service had to do with my own expectations. When I got to my site, I wanted to start projects right away. In order to reach my goals, I first had to build trust in my community. I went to all of the pulperias (like a corner store) and introduced myself to the store owners. Starting small, building trust and getting to know your community members and their needs is important before starting your projects and carrying them out.

Why would you recommend that people join the Peace Corps after they graduate?

I would recommend that people join the Peace Corps for various reasons. It a great opportunity to meet other people, see new places, immerse yourself in a new culture and gain unique skills and knowledge. More importantly, you will learn a lot about yourselves.

What is something that you absolutely loved about the Peace Corps?

I absolutely loved my community and how I became a part of it. I loved hearing my students yell “Cari” from across the river, spending time with my yoga group and walking around town taking in the scenery with my host dog close behind. My favorite part about my service was the relationships I made and the fact that those people have become my family. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when I go back to visit in March!

Displaying Nica Family.jpegDisplaying Yoga group.jpg       Carissa with friends and pictures of some of the students in Nicaragua. 

Rachel Hibbard is a student at Hope College and Peace Corps ambassador. We asked her some questions and this is what she had to say :

What draws you to the Peace Corps?

 I personally find it so important to give back to the world and connect with other cultures and Peace Corps makes that a possibility.

What is something that you think Hope College grads could gain from joining the Peace Corps?

  Perspective!! Most of us have grown up in pretty fortunate circumstances. Immersing yourself in another culture and realizing the lives that other people live every single day can definitely give you a whole new point of view. 

What advice do you have for students considering the Peace Corps?

 Get all the information you can, talk to a recruiter or get coffee with me. The more I learned about the Peace Corps, the more jazzed about it I became. Even if it is just one of  the many options you’re considering , don’t rule it out. It is such an amazing opportunity and a truly valuable use of your time after Hope.

The Job Search and Networking – Where to Begin?

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As we move into the fourth week of school, and homework lingers over our heads, the question on everyone’s mind is: “What am I going to do with my life?” and especially for seniors, the main question is: “What will I do after graduation?”

Even though this is a pressing question, don’t worry! The Career Development Center has a number of steps and resources that will help you get ready for life after graduation.

Steps to Preparing for the Job Search

  1. The first step to making sure you are ready for after graduation is to make sure that your resume is polished and professionalThere are a number of staff members that can help you with your resume, curriculum vitae or cover letter, so schedule an appointment today! If you need some quick tips, drop ins at the CDC are from 3:00-4:30 p.m. You can also visit the Career Development website to get the gist of where you want to start.
  2. After you have your resume completed, it’s time to schedule a mock interview with Dale. Mock interviews are valuable in the sense that they give you important practice with certain interview questions and how to answer them. In addition to mock interviews for jobs, there are also mock interviews for grad schools and internships. Click here for an overview of how to prepare for mock interviews, otherwise, schedule an appointment with Dale!
  3. In addition to resumes and mock interviews, another important step is networking. Megan Fisher is definitely the person to schedule an appointment with to learn about the ins and outs of this valuable skill. When networking, you can connect with Hope alumni and others that have majored in your field or are doing a career you are interested in. This can help open multiple doors that you might not have known were a possibility. You also have the opportunity to learn about the importance of social media and the positive or negative impact it can have in your job search process.

We talked to Megan about Networking and her experience with it and she had some valuable comments. When asked how Networking could help students in their job search, she stated,

“Networking can help students during their job search in multiple ways. Information interviewing is a piece of the networking process. An information interview allows you to explore your field of interest through a structured, longer conversation with someone already working in that field. It also helps students learn from the wins (and mistakes) of others. This process is FREE career advice!

There is also formal networking, for example connecting with people at a company you want to work for, [which] helps students get their foot in the door as well as create an awesome first impression.”

She also noted that,

“Employers want to do business primarily with people they know. Resumes alone are often too impersonal especially when there are many applicants. Networking helps your resume come to the top of the pile during intense competition.”

Megan has personal experience with this, as she recalls,

“When I was first looking for a Graduate Assistant position (coaching lacrosse and getting my masters degree) I attended the US Lacrosse Convention. I created business cards and printed out copies of my resume. During my time at the convention I gave out the materials I brought and networked with other coaches. I ended up connecting with a new lacrosse program that was looking for a G.A. After following up after the convention I found myself interviewing for the position and got the job. I was later told that my “go-getter” attitude and my unique business cards/resume made be stand out in the networking process.”

As you can see, networking is a valuable skill when it comes to the job seeking process. Networking, combined with the other job seeking skills mentioned above, will help you be prepared to get a job that you love. Schedule an appointment today to see how the Career Development Center can help you!

Finding Your Fit

“The expert at anything was once a beginner.”

― Helen Hayes

We all know at least one person who has known what they wanted to do since the second grade. Those who, even then, had a straight forward answer to the very cliche question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and followed it through until they graduated college. Did you ever envy them? Of course you did! Especially if you are like the majority of college students and don’t know what you want your career path to be, let alone your major. If you happen to be one of these people, do not worry at all. The CDC has great services to give you a start in the right direction.

Start Simple

If you are wondering where to begin in your major discernment or career search, your first step is to make an appointment with Amy Freehafer. She is a Career Counselor here at the CDC and is the main administrator for StrengthsQuest through Gallup. StrengthsQuest is a useful tool in which the person answers a series of questions to find their top five strengths out of the 34 that they identify with the most.

When asked what a good first step would be for those looking for direction, Amy has some good advice:

“If you have not taken StrengthsQuest that should be the first thing on your agenda.  After taking the StrengthsQuest, coming in for coaching is important. This will give you an understanding of your results and how to apply them. StrengthsQuest will help you figure out who you are and this can the be applied to the different courses or career paths that your strengths fit into best. If by the end of this [process] you do end up finding your career, then there are further ways that I can assist.”

There are also two more assessments that are career related that Amy can work with you through – the Strong Interest Inventory (SII) and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Like StrengthsQuest, these assessments are personality based and can help you figure out more of who you are as a person to help in your major/career search.

Another way to figure out what direction you want to go is to find an internship. Internships are great for when students want to get a feel for the field they are thinking about going into. They are also useful for connecting what you have learned in the classroom to the real world, and networking. If you are unsure that the field you want to go into is the right one for you, an internship would be most helpful for you. Jena Szatkowski is your go to person if you want help setting up internships.

When asked how internships help students, Jena had some encouraging words:

“Internships are a great idea because it can affirm or redirect you onto a certain path. JobStop has about 200 different internships you can look at to get a feel of the different things that are offered. There are programs that you can do, some examples are The Philadelphia Center, New York Arts, Washington Honors, Chicago Semester and IES internships. Remember, an internship can either affirm or redirect you to a certain path.”

One of the Career Advisors that works in the CDC Office, Hadley Roy, commented on how both Amy and Jena helped her make progress in her career path:

“Coming into Hope as a Junior with an Econ major and Management minor, Amy helped me see if the idea of double majoring in both of those areas was feasible. Jena also played a big role in my career planning, as she (combined with Sarah McCoy) helped to get me my internship last summer with Commonwealth//McCann. This was a good affirmation that I was in the right field!”

As you can see, the CDC has many ways to help you figure out the next step in your major or career planning. Stop in soon or call us at 616-395-7950 to make an appointment today!

Welcome to the Career Development Center!

This blog is set up to help you understand the different facets of the Career Development Center (CDC) and all the different events and opportunities it has to offer. From figuring out your major, to conducting a mock interview, and everything in between and beyond, the CDC has you covered!

Let’s Meet the Staff!


Dale Austin is the CDC director. You would want to meet with him if you need assistance in searching for a job, if you want to set up a mock interview or have other interview prep work. Furthermore he can help you with graduate planning. Something Dale would like you to know is that he enjoys spending his free time reading nonfiction books and spending time with his wife, three children and their families. When possible, Dale also likes to listen to classical music – one of his favorite composers is Giovanni Gabrieli.

 Portfolio imageJena Szatkowski is the Assistant Director of the CDC. Her main area of expertise is helping students set up internships, whether they are local, international, or a domestic semester program such as the Philadelphia Center. In addition, she can also help with resumes and cover letters. Jena would like you to know that she loves fall and summers at Lake Michigan.

Picture2Sarah McCoy (Program Director) helps with employer engagement, as well as coordinating events that are discipline specific, such as Management 222 sessions. She recently welcomed her second child Quinn Annalise!



Amy Freehafer is a Career Counselor for the CDC. ShePortfolio image helps students with major and career decisions, as well as four year planning. She is also the one to come to when you have no idea what you need!! Amy also co-supervises the Career Advisor team. Something Amy would like you to know is that she has two adorable Shih Tzus, one raised as a puppy and one rescue, who wait for “mama” to come home every day now that her kids are grown. She also has beautiful twin 5 year old granddaughters she loves to take over night regularly and has her first grandson on the way in December!

Portfolio imageShannon Schans is a Career Counselor who also specializes in StrengthQuest assessments. Shannon gives and interprets career and personality assessments, while also helping with the on-campus StrengthQuest programming. Additionally, she can also help you with your resume and cover letter. Something she would like you to know about her is that she loves her coffee and she has an army of children at home.


Megan Fisher is a Career Counselor in which she is especially skilled inPortfolio image networking. If you need help with networking strategies, connecting to Hope alumni or would like to work on professional social media outlets such as LinkedIn, she would be a great resource to use. In addition, Megan assists students with resumes and cover letters during the job search process. Megan would like you to know that she played lacrosse in college and she loves Tuesdays at Lemonjello’s because she can double punch her card for her coffee.

EPortfolio imagelizabeth Bocks  is the office manager for the Career Development Center. She helps coordinate on-campus recruiting and career fairs and is in charge of all office tasks. The office would not run smoothly without her! Something Libby would like you to know is that she has a beautiful Alaskan malamute and she also loves coffee.


Meet the Writers

Sarah Jane Carpenter is a senior from Kalamazoo, Michigan, studying English Literature and minoring in Spanish, with plans to pursue secondary English education. She enjoys singing, dancing *badly*, playing outside, reading and writing, doing anything and everything with friends, and all things High School Musical. Her top five strengths are Developer, Positivity, Belief, Connectedness, and Includer. This is her second year as a Career Advisor.

Nicole Mutua is a sophomore from Nairobi, Kenya. She is still undecided which she knows is a popular option. She loves binge watching shows, reading, listening to music, hanging out with her friends and family and she is currently obsessed with her 9 month old niece. Her top five strengths are: Adaptability, Developer, Empathy, Includer and Restorative. This is her first year as a Career Advisor.

Mikaila Bisson is a senior from Sterling Heights, Michigan, studying English while minoring in Management. She enjoys playing soccer, reading and writing, getting coffee with friends at LJ’s, traveling, and Golden Retrievers. Her top five strengths are: Adaptability, Positivity, Empathy, Developer, and Futuristic. This is her first year as a Career Advisor.

Getting started with the Career Development Office

No matter where you are at in you college career, the CDC’s helpful resources will of no doubt be useful to you. Schedule an appointment today! For more information, please call us at (616) 395-7950 or visit the Hope College Career Development Website . The CDC office is open from 8:00AM – 12:00PM and 1:00PM – 5:00PM Monday through Friday.

The CDC also provides Drop-In Hours for any short, last minute questions you might have. Resume and cover letter review, networking, interview prep and any other questions you might have can be answered from 3:00PM-4:30PM any weekday. Career Advisors, as well as a staff member are always on hand to help you, so don’t hesitate to stop by!

Whether this is your first interaction with the CDC or you have been here a million times, the CDC has something for you. We look forward to seeing you soon!

CDC Memories

As this semester draws to a close, everyone on campus is filled with an array of emotions. Underclassmen are excited that they are moving up in the Hope world, and upperclassmen are feeling more nostalgic as their time here seems to be flying by. The seniors are feeling especially nostalgic as they reflect on their time spent at Hope, recounting all the fond memories they’ve made here and recognizing all the ways in which this school has shaped them academically, spiritually, personally, and professionally.

We asked some of our senior Career Advisors to comment on their experiences with the Career Development Center (CDC). First, Morgan Weaver speaks to her experiences with the CDC, saying:

Senior Morgan Weaver
Senior Morgan Weaver

My experience as a CA has been one of the highlights of my time at Hope College. It’s been an excellent opportunity for me to bring together the professional skills I’ve developed throughout college as well as my passion for understanding the relationship between faith and work, allowing me to put them to use serving other students. I believe that the Career Development Center is one of the most valuable resources provided at Hope. In my mind, a key component of a Christian education ought to be understanding that good stewardship also includes being stewards of the skills and passions God has created within each of us. The CDC facilitates this by helping students to identify and develop their unique skills and passions while pursuing careers where they will have opportunities to apply those skills and passions, living into the call to be disciples of Christ in the unique way God has created each of them. It is because of the Career Development Center that I have developed as a professional and gained the experiences I needed to come out of college with a clear sense of my vocation and the avenues open to live it out, so I am blessed to be able to help other students grow in the same ways and begin to understand how they too can be stewards of their own gifts and passions through the work that they’ll do.

Palmer D’Orazio also reflects on his time spent working with the CDC, stating:

Seniors Palmer D'Orazio and Hannah Cutshall
Seniors Palmer D’Orazio and Hannah Cutshall
During my freshman year, the CDC helped me line up my first summer internship. Since then, I’ve been telling all of my friends to get into the office for everything from StrengthsQuest to their job search. I’ve been able to develop my design skills, help out my classmates, and learn from the staff on a day-to-day basis. I still can’t believe that they pay us!

Finally, Jaclyn Van Dyk also recounts her CDC experiences, writing:

Senior Jaclyn Van Dyk
Senior Jaclyn Van Dyk

Being a Career Advisor (CA) has been such a wonderful experience. I have had the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally in this office and create relationships with the staff and other CAs. During my time as a CA, I have worked on many events and projects, giving me a wide variety of experiences that both challenge me and help me grow. I was able to plan the Etiquette Dinner, assist with Job Pursuit, College to Career, Externships, and more. The office has been a huge asset in my professional development by guiding me through the internship search process, giving me critical feed back on my resume, setting goals, networking, and more. It has been an incredible time working at the Career Development Center, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a Career Advisor during my time at Hope.

Although it’s important to remember all the good times our seniors have had at Hope, it’s okay to admit that they’re also feeling both excitement and nervousness as they step into this new stage of early adulthood. We at the Career Development Center know that you never need to fret, because you are always welcome back here at the CDC. As a Hope Alumni, you can still utilize the services and assistance of this office at any point after you graduate, and we would be happy to assist you.

The CDC also knows there’s no need to worry because our senior class is composed of bright, talented, well-rounded, thoughtful, and capable individuals who have nothing but success ahead of them. We have full confidence in each and every one of you students, and we’re always here if you ever need to be reminded of how much you can offer the career world with your talents.

We can’t wait to see our returning students in the fall, and we also cannot wait to see what our graduates accomplish! Have a fantastic summer, everyone!….Don’t forget to stop in and see us (we’re open all summer long).

Summer Fun, Sun, and Jobs!

The semester is flying by, and summer is just around the corner! We hope that your summer is filled with fun and some much needed rest, but we also hope that you take some time to expand upon your career exploration process! Whether you’re working a summer job, interning with an organization, or even just taking time to consider what kind of career path interests you, summer is great for building your resume, expanding your network, and developing your career!

Career Advisor Gaby Vazquez gives some advice regarding summer career development, stating:

Gaby Vazquez helping at a recruitment event with Ernst & Young
Gaby Vazquez helping at a recruitment event with Ernst & Young

“Summers are some of the most awaited moments for college students. The feeling of freedom and liberty along with the warm air that accompanies the season are what we look forward to during finals week. While it is good to take a break and relax with family and friends, there is so much that we can do during the summer to prepare ourselves for the new school year. Work and volunteer experiences can be just as fun as spending the day at the beach! You just need to find a field that you’re really interested in. Finding somebody to job shadow for just part of the summer can do wonders for your resume and can develop your own interests. One summer I worked as a camp counselor, meeting tons of new people and working with kids. The following summer, I completed a pre-internship with an accounting firm I was interested in, which led to a second full internship for the next summer. Both summers were valuable in different ways, and being proactive during those seasons helped me discover my interests. Whether it be working at an ice cream shop or interning at a bank, doing something during the summer can be a great way for anyone to develop valuable skills.”

Career Advisor Stephanie Eiler also offers some advice on how to approach career development strategies this summer, saying:

“When someone thinks of summer, the first thing that pops into one’s mind is relaxation. While relaxation is great and all, summer can also be an opportunity for internships, job shadowing, and working on your LinkedIn profile.

Stephanie Eiler
Stephanie Eiler

Internships are a great way to expand what you have learned in the classroom and apply that knowledge to the real world. For some people, an internship can turn into a job offer if there is a job opening.

By job shadowing someone, you are able to see what a typical day looks like for someone in the career you are interested in.

LinkedIn is yet another way to get connected with peers, professors, and people in the workplace. By having a LinkedIn profile, employers are able to see your accomplishments throughout your time at Hope.”

If you have any thoughts or questions about how to go about your summer career exploration process, don’t hesitate to come talk to us at the CDC! We’ll be open during the summer, Monday through Friday, normal business hours, so definitely stop by and see us!

Career Exploration for International Students

We are encouraged to improve our career exploration all the time. We find ourselves needing to look for internships, interview well, create strong resumes, etc. What if you’re trying to do all this when you’re from a different country? What does that look like?

Yonov headshot

Hope College senior Sasha Yonov is an international student, hailing from Nicosia, Cyprus. We asked him to write about his career exploration experience here in the States. Here’s what he had to say:

“International students in general have to jump across many obstacles to experience the same opportunities as all the other students do from the United States. Such obstacles include learning the English language to an advanced degree in order to keep up with the material being taught on a collegiate level. I was fortunate enough to have gone to an English school growing up, therefore, English was not the issue for me. A lot of international students do indeed learn the language to an advanced level however, the hardest thing that any of us has to do, is to leave our own families and learn how to survive on our own. Upon arriving to the United States, many of us, including myself, go through a cultural shock. A cultural shock is a phase, experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, way of life, and a set of attitudes where the feeling of disorientation is immense and at times hard to endure, but absolutely doable!

Another obstacle was applying for a Student Visa. It wasn’t as difficult to tackle as the cultural shock. The Visa process was straight forward because being accepted to attend a college, the US embassies receive all the necessary documents for them not to deny your visa application. In some special occasions, they do deny applications, but rarely! What I had to do is gather all of my personal and Hope College documentations, make an appointment with a US representative and “voila”, that obstacle is no more. I received my European passport with my visa, ready to book my flight to Grand Rapids, MI a week later.

As far as the CPT process is concerned, applying for it was not a difficult process either. The difficult part was finding the right internship and the right employer willing to hire an international student. A lot of employers do not hire international students because their internships are designed to see how well that particular intern will perform in order to be given a full time opportunity in the future. The problem is that international students need to be sponsored by the company/employer, which will cost them money to apply for the sponsorship.

I was lucky enough to have found two internships (one of them is a current internship) thus far, that have allowed me to gain experience and develop my skills. Part of that, I believe, had to do with that fact that I have been involved in many different events/activities around Hope over the years, including being part of the basketball team. Being part of the basketball team, even though only for two seasons, has allowed me to meet many extraordinary people that are still a part of my life. These connections have helped me learn more about life and guide me through the process of searching for employment opportunities.

There will always be people to help you, but at the end of the day, it is you as an individual that will have to ask, search, and pursue anything you want to. This does not only apply to international students, but to all students!

My first internship was with Zoro Tools, a subsidiary of Grainger in Chicago. It was a great experience to be challenged outside of the classroom. It made it even better when I was surrounded by amazing people in a great atmosphere. Currently, I am interning at Royal Securities and Investments in Grand Rapids. With Royal, I am responsible for the accurate and detailed documentation of information of clients’ personal information. Royal too has allowed me to mature more as an individual, [and] I am truly gaining more experience in a different industry than my previous internship.

I am not sure what my next chapter of my life will look like, but if I were to give advice to other younger international students, it would be to be involved in the community [as well as] Hope events and activities because at the end of the day, no matter where and what one may be doing, one will always be in an occupation to make the lives of others better. Regardless of the type of employment a person is part of, people and our relationships between each other are what make life so precious. With that being said, I hope one day the work that I will be doing is not only important, but truly makes the lives of others better.”