Career Services reaches out

Priscilla D. Tasker

Students who have logged into the university’s intranet this semester may have noticed a new tab, fifth from the right, at the top of their Web pages.

My Career Path, which launched the first week of the semester, links students instantly to the Career Services Center’s multiple resources for career planning, student employment and internship opportunities.

“We hope to accelerate traffic to the office,” said Carla Owens, assistant director of Career Services and co-creator of the page, during her portal demonstration for Career Services’ faculty yesterday. “One of the most frequently asked questions we get is ‘how do you get to Career Services?'”

To direct students to the office through FlashLine, the portal creators included a link with video-footage of how to reach the Career Services Center from the Student Center.

The designers drew inspiration from current Internet trends, such as blogs and communication channels like Facebook.com and MySpace.com, to attract student interest in the portal page. To enhance the navigation experience, Owens and her tech team used cutting-edge technology to create the SitePal, an audible digital personality located in the Career Navigator channel, who welcomes first-time visitors and directs them to various links on the page. Currently, the SitePal is a black-haired woman shown standing in front of Rockwell Hall. The appearance and location of SitePal will change monthly, Owens said.

Features like the College to Career Saga forum allow students and alumni to write about internship experiences and career achievements.

“We hope students with internships, or who have studied abroad will share encouragement and inspiration,” Owens said.

Gina Moraco, junior visual communication design major, is the only student to have her success story published to the site so far. A Career Services faculty member had asked her to write about her on-campus summer internship with the Center for Student Involvement as the organization’s first graphic design artist. Unaware of Career Services’ addition to FlashLine, Moraco was said she surprised and thrilled to hear her story was accessible through the portal.

“I’m happy I was able to share my experience,” Moraco said.

She said Kent State offered many different opportunities.

“Even in Dining Services there’s something,” she said as she spoke of a friend’s graphic design project for the campus food service.

Many students don’t realize they can complete an internship on campus. The goal of the FlashLine portal is to offer students easier access to this kind of information, Owens said.

The main Career Services Web site is positioned for multiple constituents, including parents and employers; My Career Path is geared specifically toward students and alumni seeking career guidance.

“The format is user-friendly — it’s simple but effective,” said Fanette Merrett, senior personnel assistant at Career Services, adding that she thinks the page makes Career Services more efficient.

The Web site also includes a question and answer forum, Ask the Career Guru. This service allows students to inquire about how to select a major, seek an internship, or choose a career path, and receive a response from one of the career advisors without having to make an appointment.

The site is too new to tell if its presence is bringing more students into the Career Services office, but the faculty is closely watching and crunching numbers in hopes that it does, Owens said.

Contact Career Services Center reporter Priscilla D. Tasker at [email protected].