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Exploratory Studies: Connecting Students to Careers

Written by Kasey Harris

Each Spring semester, the signature Career Connections event aims to help students identify resources and opportunities around campus and beyond to support the pursuit of their career goals, as well as help them make an informed decision on a major.

Hosted by Exploratory Studies, this year’s Career Connections welcomed more than 700 students from the Exploratory Studies and Early College High School programs, as well as 69 panelists working in an array of industries. Students participating in the event found it inspiring and motivating to hear professionals share their passions for their career paths.

Students were able to choose from eleven different panels to attend. Each panel focused on a different career field including business, engineering, research, art, education, communications, and more. “We really try to have a representation for just about every major we offer,” explained Victoria Silvestri, an advisor with the Exploratory Studies program.

Panel sessions also help students gain more information about careers they are interested in and provided insight into daily expectations in those specific fields. Discussions also included topics such as job responsibilities and environment, educational preparation and training, networking, benefits and challenges, and essential job skills.

New to the program this year was the use of the Guidebook app. “In the app, students could see information on every panel such as room location, discussion topics, and information on each panelist including links to their LinkedIn accounts,” explained Silvestri. A survey of attendees showed the majority of students found the app to be helpful in determining which sessions to attend.

Prior to the Career Connections event, students were able to access the app to plan what panels they hoped to attend. “In their USC 102 classes, they were able to make notes and start formulating questions to ask the panelists, all in the app,” noted Silvestri.

Career Connections is held annually in the Spring and welcomes all Exploratory Studies students. For more information or how to get involved with next year’s event please contact your Exploratory Studies advisor.