During this year’s winter break, more than 150 Hobart and William Smith students went to work, shadowing alums and parents and exploring a wealth of professions in hands-on settings.
An integral part of the Pathways Career Development Plan through the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education, job shadowing “provides students with insight into various careers and organizations that they wouldn’t necessarily get from reading a website,” says Brandi Ferrara, director of the Salisbury Center. “We have many online resources that students can use to research careers, but it is often beneficial when they can see what a ‘day in the life’ of a profession is all about.”
In January, Corinne Kenny ’18, a political science major with a strong interest in government and advocacy, shadowed Jeremy Cooney ’04 at Rochester City Hall, where Cooney is Chief of Staff to Mayor Lovely Warren.
“I was able to see firsthand how government functions on a day-to-day basis, while also seeing the inner workings of making the best possible community,” says Kenny. “I was able to gain professional experience and advice from all employees while better educating myself on possible career paths especially on a more local level.”
At ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., Jonah Gould ’18 toured the studio and explored how the company is run with Michael Rawlins ’80, P’16, ESPN’s lead user experience architect.
At the U.N. Foundation in Washington, D.C., Amber Smith ’16 connected Rachel Henderson ’06, the senior communications officer at Nothing but Nets, a global grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria. Smith, who is interested in working with an NGO, says the opportunity showed her the complex reality of working with an organization whose goal is to help others.
Shadowing Rebecca Crist ’96 at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in New Paltz, Stephen VanHoesen ’18 saw possible avenues in which to engage his geoscience major and interest in environmental laws.
“This gave me an important opportunity to see how environmental laws can dictate building, and also repair of structures, and permitting in general,” he says. “I also got to meet people with similar interests as mine. Overall I gained some excellent contacts and got some ideas for potential careers.”
Rebecca Sloane ’17 shadowed Brian Mahoney ’91, director of advertising sales with the Philadelphia Phillies, who gave Sloane a firsthand look at a typical day in the world of marketing.
“I gained so much insight from this experience,” says Sloane, a media & society and writing & rhetoric double-major. “Brian gave me some great advice about breaking into the field and actually working in it that I had never thought of before.”
Environmental studies major and a public policy minor Hannah Mills ’16 got a behind the scenes tour of The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, Va., thanks to Caroline Spruill ’12, who serves as the corporate engagement communications specialist. During the shadowing experience, Mills met with members from different departments within the company, including scientists and members of the International Government Affairs team and the Corporate Engagement team. Mills, who studied irrigation systems and hydropower during her semester abroad in Argentina, also met with a senior policy adviser whose focus is in Latin America and specifically in hydropower.
“I was able to discuss, in depth, my experience with the water systems of South America and share with him my reaction to dams, such as Itaipu Dam in Brazil, that I visited during my time abroad,” she says. “It was a very valuable experience to be able to converse, with great confidence, with leaders in the environmental field due to the education I have received while studying at HWS.”
Jack Remmert ’16 explored the ways he might implement his academic interests in math after graduation during a phone interview with Kris Graham ’00 of the Boston, Mass., branch of the FBI.
Job shadowing opportunities through the Salisbury Center are available year round, in the Geneva community and across the country, and are “helpful experiences for students who are trying to decide on the type or size of an organization,” Ferrara notes.
With nearly 200 alumni/ae and parent volunteers, offering students a chance to see the steps toward their dream job, “it is amazing how many HWS family members are willing to give their time and talent to the Colleges and current students,” Ferrara says. “Without their dedication, this program would never have taken off.”
To make an appointment with a staff member from the Salisbury Center, email email@example.com, call ext. 3514, or drop into the office on the first floor in Trinity Hall.