Students old and new alike may notice some changes to the lower level of Seegers Union. Specifically, the expanded Career Center. While students were gone for the summer, construction was completed on the project that has been roughly a year in the making.

The new section of the Career Center was brought to fruition thanks to a grant from the George Alden Trust and working with other departments across campus. Executive Director Tom Dowd said “it was a really collaborative effort with different parts and people on campus” to obtain the funding.

“Communications skills are essential … we want a place that invites that coworking, group dynamic.”

The area encopmasses part of the hallway and features things such as whiteboard walls and a large touch screen monitor. Both Dowd and Assistant Director Ryan Smolko are excited about the one button studio that the space has, as well as the capabilities that come with it. This will allow for virtual conferences, permitting recruiters and alumni to communicate with large groups via Skype.

“With the video conferencing, the camera is really sharp so if you’re going to Skype someone into a presentation you can actually get a big group of students around here and see the people you’re talking to,” Dowd explained.

“Communications skills are essential to your success in the workplace and we want a place that invites that coworking, group dynamic. Also, as you’re doing presentations you can work on those skills,” Smolko said of the video conference capabilities.

In addition to video conferencing and virtual speakers the space will also be used to host workshops, have classes and panels. Clubs and professors are welcome to use and reserve the new room by calling, emailing, or stopping in the Career Center. It is also open for student use throughout the day.

“We keep the door open during the day if there’s nothing happening in here — no meeting or presentation — it’ll be open while we’re here and you’re welcome to come in,” Dowd said. He continued to mention that the Career Center has drop in hours throughout the day, during that time the staff can often be found working in the new space alongside students and are available to answer questions.

“it’ll be open while we’re here and you’re welcome to come in”

With this open door policy the Career Center also has a new open layout. Featuring different study and work areas, all of which can be moved and rearranged.

“The way that it’s modular I think is really cool. So you can make the room into a lot of different things depending on what someone wants to use it for,” said Smolko. Dowd explained that modern office spaces are continuing to have a similar, collaborative environment.

While they are aware that the new furniture runs the risk of being damaged that is a risk that they are willing to take. “We try to treat the students with a lot of respect, and so our first thought wasn’t that students were going to come in and mess this place up. It was: look at all the possibilities,” said Dowd.

Smolko reiterated that the Career Center wants to become more engaged with students and build a relationship that can be carried throughout their time at Muhlenberg.

“We’re here to help you with getting internships, find out career opportunities and where you want to go and what makes you happy,” Smolko said.

As for how students have reacted to the new space Dowd said that the response has been very positive; with a lot of curiosity and excitement from students, parents and faculty and staff.

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Melissa writes and reports for News and the OpEd column Graphic Opinions. A senior majoring in political science; when not in class you can find her working in the College's Special Collections and Archives or on her independent study on music education advocacy.


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