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Career Success News

Patrick SmithPatrick Smith, a freelance photojournalist, covers the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan region and beyond. He was named 2014 Sports Photographer of the Year by Pictures of the Year International, and his images have been published by ESPN, The New York Times,Sports IllustratedThe Baltimore Sun, CNN, and Newsweek among others. A collection of Smith's sports photography is on display this fall in the St. Paul Companies Pavilion on the Greenspring Campus titled Sport: Near and Far.

Smith started working professionally while still a college student at Towson University, working for Towson's independent student newspaper The Towerlight, interning with The Baltimore Sun, and freelancing, all before graduation.

He's taken some time to answer a few questions and provide tips for breaking into the industry. ...Click here to read more.

So, What is ProNet?

ProNet stands for Professional Network and is an online tool where alumni are registered to help current students with career related questions. The tool launched last year and there are 108 alumni registered from a variety of career paths including Physicians, Analysts, Counselors, Teachers, Consultants, Attorneys, Managers, and many other occupations in a variety of industries.

Why is it important?

Students get the opportunity to network with alumni who have registered on our online system and ask career related questions and advice. This is a great way for students to connect with alumni and has value for both groups. Rather than matching students and alumni from our desks, we've put the power in the hands of our students to seek out grads in careers that interest them. Students are able to ask as many questions as they would like and alumni are able to choose the way they would prefer to communicate with the student.

Counselors at the Office of Career Services also use this tool as a way to show students the possibilities of career paths. Students often get excited, when they see an alumnus either in an organization where they are interested in working or in a role that a student is interested in pursuing. When, I am working with students, I often show them the alumni in the system as way of exploring what students can do, as well as connecting alumni to the students.

What advice do our alumni mentors give?

“Connect with people in the field that you are interested in, take in as much information as possible.” -  D’Juan Champan,  Document Analyst with the FBI,

“Stay focused and get work experience wherever you can. Manage your own cash position and always have a plan.” - Mary Spiegel Brown, CPA, Principal with Ellin and Tucker,

“Always keep your eye open and network where/when you can. Never burn a bridge as you may need to cross it again later in life.”- David T. Clarke, Programmer Analyst I, ViPS,

“If nursing is your focus of study you have chosen a wonderful career and have multiple areas to practice. Nursing is one area were one can reinvent themselves and practice in multiple areas within the field of Nursing. You can choose from being an ER Nurse or Operating Room Nurse or even a school nurse, just when you thought you would retire. One can practice nursing even past retirement and that's because you love your job and see the rewards it offers yourself and the public.” - Alfonzo NMI Daniels, Operating Room Clinical Instructor, Children’s National Hospital

Ready to give back and share your expertise?

If you are an alumnus and are interested in signing up to become a mentor, please register at A guideline has been created for alumni, as well as an instructional video to help use the system, which will be sent once an Alumni registers.

To accompany this program, on November 11, between 5.30-7.30 p.m., The Office of Alumni Relations in conjunction with The Office of Career Services is hosting its inaugural Student-Alumni Mentor Mixer which will allow the Alumni Mentors an opportunity to come to campus and meet students to get the career conversations started. If you are an alumnus and are interested in attending please RSVP .

Participating in an internship is the perfect way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real work experiences while networking and learning from professionals in their industry of interest. Internships come in all shapes and sizes: they may be completed for academic credit or as a non-credit experience; they could have part-time or full-time hours; they may take place on- or off-campus; and, as recent reports of numerous internship lawsuits have reminded us, they can be paid or unpaid.

So if internships can be paid or unpaid, what do we need to know? Well, a few things:

1. Academic credit does not equal compensation. Employers should support students that wish to receive credit for their internship, but credit should not be confused with or offered in place of compensation. Granting credit for an internship connects the applied learning experience to the student’s school, while providing the intern with a faculty internship coordinator and structured assignments related to the internship experience – but it does not pay them.

2. If you are a private, for-profit employer, you should be aware of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The U.S. Department of Labor created the FLSA to serve as a guide when determining if an employment relationship exists between an intern and the employer, ultimately telling if the intern should be paid. The criteria are:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

It’s important to note that most career centers disagree with the fourth criteria stating that employers derive “no immediate advantage from the work of the intern,” as the work of interns typically do provide a direct benefit to the employer. This is perfectly fine, and is in fact encouraged since students should be engaged in projects and tasks that contribute to the professional work of the organization. What’s key is that the work allow for the application of academic knowledge and is supported by the remaining five criteria. 

3. Non-profit and government agencies are not required to pay their interns. The FLSA makes a special exception for individuals who volunteer to perform services for a state or local government agency, or religious, charitable, civic, or humanitarian purposes to non-profit organizations. Unpaid internships in the public sector and non-profit charitable organizations are generally permissible, as long as the volunteer-intern understands that they will not receive compensation for their service.

4. Stipends are a great way to pay interns, but make sure it’s a fair amount. The easiest way to make sure it’s a fair amount? Do some simple division and find if the stipend amount, divided by the number of hours worked, equals at least minimum wage (currently $7.25 an hour in Maryland, rising to $8.00 an hour on January 1, 2015).

5. Posting a paid internship opportunity draws a better pool of applicants. By posting a paid internship, all students have the chance to apply, not just those that can afford to work for free. As an employer, you won’t want to miss out on a great intern – and perhaps future employee – because they had to choose the part-time job over the unpaid internship. Plus, since internship programs make for a great pipeline for new full-time hires, companies can save money on recruiting costs in the long run.

Internships are a great way for students to identify their strengths, hone their career interests, and apply knowledge gained through coursework. As long as the position meets the criteria of the FLSA and provides a legitimate learning experience for the student, both paid and unpaid internships can serve as a great introduction to a student’s field of interest.

If you have additional questions about internships, please contact the Office of Career Services at 443-352-4477.

This September the Office of Career Services hosted Senior Seminar, an interactive event for students preparing to graduate next spring. The event was broken up into employer presentations followed by group workshops lead by volunteers in a variety of industries with the goal of giving students real industry advice from an employer's perspective.

Session and workshop topics included: Developing Your Professional Brand and Pitch, Networking in Your Job Search, Understanding the Recruiting Process, LinkedIn from a Recruiter's Prospective, Interviewing to Make a Positive Impression, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Jody Costa, Director of Marketing for Barcoding Inc. was among the panelists. In this video, Ms. Costa offers advice on how to choose the right career and what she looks for in an employee.

Stevenson University is greatful that professionals such as Ms. Costa take the time out of their busy schedules to volunteer and help guide students as they enter their careers. We would also like to express our deepest gratitude to: Enterpise Holdings, TEKsystems, Prometric, Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield, KDG Advertising, and Defense Security Systems.

The Individualized Career ArchitectureSM Plan (aka ICAP), enables a student to start thinking, planning and building upon a career path from day 1 (or week 1, 2, 3…), with the help of a student’s career counselor or coach. It is our philosophy at the Office of Career Services, that not only should a student receive an academic advisor from day one at Stevenson, but they should also receive their career counselor/coach. Our goal is to try and meet every first-year student at least once a semester in order to build a relationship with our students and help them navigate through the Career ArchitectureSM Process.

In this initial ICAP meeting we ask questions such as why the student has chosen a particular major, what their parents do and, how sure they are about the major that they would like to pursue?

You will be surprised at the number of students that say that they would like to pursue a specific major, but when, I ask them, "Do you know what that major consists of, in terms of the actual classes involved?" The answer is typically no! I think, one of the biggest mistakes that students make is not knowing what classes are involved in taking a particular major and how does that relate to their strengths and interests, because after all a major only consists of the classes that involved in a particular major.

Here is what student David Grant had to say about his experience with the ICAP…

What year and major are you?

I am a junior Computer Information Systems major ( Forensics Track) with a minor in Psychology

When you were first introduced to the ICAP?

I was first introduced to ICAP by Mrs. Vohra during my Business First Year seminar class that is required for all first-year students at Stevenson University.

How helpful/beneficial was the ICAP appointment to you?

It was extremely helpful. It was a time for me as a student to meet with a career adviser and start creating a career path which I think is really important for a freshman to have.

How often did you meet with your counselor/coach?

I met with my counselor at least once every two weeks in my first semester. I then just checked in with Mrs.Vohra whenever I needed help, which was about twice a semester.

Why did you continue to meet with your counselor/coach?

Finding internships alone can be very difficult, so by having an adviser that can find opportunities that you qualify for is reassuring in this competitive job market.

What are your career goals?

I already work for the government and that is what I wanted to do with my degree. So I plan on staying on the path I am currently on and earning a couple of degrees.

How did you get your internship?

I got my internship through the National Security Scholarship Program (NSSP), which my counselor told me about and encouraged me to apply. This involved an extensive application and background clearance, which allowed me to get a scholarship and a paid summer internship at Leidos, a government contracting company.

Was there anything that surprised you about the ICAP appointments?

I was surprised how dedicated the adviser is and how focused they are on helping find the perfect internship for you.

What was your impression about the ICAP and how has it changed you?

I liked the option to create appointments online. Most importantly you are greeted with a smile and is very organized. I feel I have gained confidence in my abilities, especially after receiving the NSSP Scholarship award and my internship.

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