College & Career Advice with a Nazareth Edge

by Sofia Tokar

One way to learn something is by teaching it to someone else, and that learning-by-doing ethos informs much of the School of Management’s curriculum. Case in point: Career Planning and Development, an upper-level management course taught by Emily Carpenter, director of the internship program at Nazareth.

Her Career Services colleagues prompted the idea of a class project emphasizing early career development. So Carpenter’s course culminated in a series of online professional development modules, now branded NazEdge. The modules were designed by her upper-year students and administered through Nazareth’s learning management system. The audience? Current freshmen and sophomores still deciding on their majors.

Module topics ranged from completing self-assessments and starting internship searches, to communicating professionally and building a brand identity. One module focused on LinkedIn, the online networking platform where users can post resumes while connecting with friends, colleagues, and organizations.

“LinkedIn is great for exploring career options,” explains senior Josephine Kelly ’15. “It has a tool that allows you to search for Nazareth alumni who graduated with a particular major. You can see firsthand what they’ve done with their degree.”

For feedback from underclassmen, Carpenter turned to Joshua Hine ’10. Hine is an academic counselor in Academic Advisement and instructor for Exploring Self, Majors, and Careers, a one-credit course designed for freshmen and sophomores who have yet to declare a major.

Nearly one-third of freshmen at Nazareth enter as undeclared majors, explains Hine. They have until the end of sophomore year to declare, but courses like his help students assess their interests, skills, and personality—all toward helping them plan for their future.

“It’s a lot to ask a teenager to decide immediately on a major. That choice can influence the rest of their life,” says Hine. “So the first two years of college are ideal for embracing exploration and new experiences.”

The project’s timing was fortuitous. “We spent the beginning of the semester studying theory, then piloted the modules in late November,” Hine says. “Each topic was relatable, practical, and included action steps to help the students craft a career identity.” After learning about LinkedIn, for example, his students created their own professional profiles.

NazEdge’s online component enabled the use of videos, quizzes, presentations, and a feedback mechanism for students to dialogue digitally. Being online also let students complete the modules at their own pace.

“Accessing the module throughout the whole semester, and even now, has been great,” says Hannah Eberle ’18, who completed the self-assessment topic. “It was a way to check that I’m heading in the right direction.” She is now exploring the communication and media major at Nazareth.

Eberle’s one suggestion? “I would distribute it to more students and earlier in the semester.” Career Services is considering adapting NazEdge for wider use on campus. But when it comes to the college-to-career transition, fellow students remain an invaluable resource.

“Having completed their own internships and now preparing to enter the job market, our juniors and seniors have wisdom to share,” Carpenter says. “And the younger students appreciate what the upperclassmen have to say.”

Sofia Tokar is a freelance writer in Rochester, New York.

management lab

Created by students, for students, NazEdge is an online professional development course in which upperclassmen teach and mentor freshmen and sophomores.