The Career Navigator program was launched in the fall semester of 2020 at Thomas College. This is one of several new innovations launched within Professional and Career Development. Career Navigators are students who have been specifically identified and selected for extensive training in supporting first year students’ career exploration and aspirations.
Each Navigator is chosen based on their ability to provide outreach and guidance to students. Many of the Navigators have demonstrated leadership skills in other on campus positions that have allowed them to get to know the students they are assisting. The Thomas College campus is small enough for students to have met each other frequently and have that sense of community.
Navigators are often already familiar faces which helps our newest students connect with them. This year’s team of Career Navigators includes Mai Alicea ’21, Alicia Greene ’22, Maddie Stevens MBA ’21, Avian Girard ’21, and Abby Chandler ’23.
Every first-year student is assigned one of five Career Navigators to build upon the basic information provided during their First Year Seminar. This class integrates crucial information about being a new student at Thomas College with a distinct focus on their ultimate goal: a career in their chosen field. At the end of the class, Career Navigators are introduced to their students in-person to address what they can expect.
Each first-year student is personally contacted by their Career Navigator to go over their Professional Development Plans, which were created in their class. Using this structure lets the Navigator work with each student’s goals in mind, as they discuss job exploration and develop a professional resume along with a Handshake and LinkedIn profile.
“As someone who is passionate about professional development, I love helping others with their resumes and professional development plan,” says Maddie Stevens, MBA-HR ’21 and Career Navigator.
With so many new options open to this year’s first year class, the most important job the Career Navigator has is to ensure that all students are not only informed of the extensive menu of benefits that are provided to assist their professional growth but also know how to access and utilize these programs and services.
This not only takes an understanding of each of the programs, but the ability to establish a relationship with each new student. All students are encouraged to ask questions and connect with the professional support Thomas College has curated to ensure they graduate with the most opportunities in their major.
As Stevens notes, “I’m pursuing an MBA in Human Resource Management and having the opportunity to work hands on with students is a great opportunity on both sides.”
Professional and Career Development at Thomas College has always been about a personalized experience and building relationships with students to help them meet their career aspirations. Integrating working toward their goals from the beginning establishes how to achieve entry into a career that might evolve as more exploration takes place. Career Navigators are there to guide students on their paths and to the specialized resources at their disposal.