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Coming soon: your Career Community

The+Career%2C+Life%2C+and+Service+Center%2C+a+resource+to+support+students+in+their+professional+development.+Photo+by+Mahira+Faran
The Career, Life, and Service Center, a resource to support students in their professional development. Photo by Mahira Faran
The Career, Life, and Service Center, a resource to support students in their professional development. Photo by Mahira Faran.

The fall 2017 semester marks the launch of “Career Communities,” a new initiative from the Center for Careers, Life, and Service (CLS) at Grinnell.

The program, spearheaded by Mark Peltz, dean of the Center for Careers, Life and Services, aims to connect students with alumni and professionals in their chosen field of study, as well as offer assistance and guidance throughout the application process for graduate and professional school programs.

“These [Career Communities] are an important dimension of our overall program as we seek to support the personal, professional and civic development for every Grinnell student,” Peltz wrote in an email to The S&B. “The CLS’s model and approach to working with students in such a holistic and comprehensive way is a rarity across the higher education landscape.”

The level of experience and expertise that the Career Communities directors themselves possess is similarly rare.

Sarah Barks, director of STEM Career Community and Health Professions Adviser, received a PhD in biological anthropology from Emory University and spent three years as a post-doctoral scientist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., doing research focused on great ape social cognition and neuroanatomy.

Michael Lawrence, director of Business & Finance Career Community, spent over two decades as a corporate executive, including executive roles at Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP, before he founded a company that does assessment and development for college and university students.

“These Career Communities are led by individuals who spent a portion of their work life in a professional field connected to their particular Career Community,” wrote Peltz. “Drawing from their extensive and distinctive professional experiences allows the Career Community directors to provide a level of coaching and advising uncommon on most college campuses.”

This new initiative, which Peltz referred to as “the most expansive” launched during his six-year tenure at Grinnell, involves five teams: the advising and exploration team, the career communities team, the employer engagement team, the global fellowships and awards team and the service and social innovation team. Working together, these teams complement one another in their attempts to give every graduating Grinnellian high-impact career experiences to draw from, as well as a network of resources to help them as they journey out into the world.

Although operating as the face of the Career Communities initiative, Peltz was quick to note that this CLS creation was only made possible because of the generosity and hard work of other members of the Grinnell family.

“It’s incredibly important to note that the Career Communities initiative would not exist today without the support of President Kington, the Grinnell College Board of Trustees and several alumni who have given generously to support the work and vision of the CLS. And converting a vision into reality requires a lot of hard work and dedication, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more passionate and student-centered group of professionals than those who work in Grinnell’s Center for Careers, Life and Services.

For those interested in learning more about the Career Communities program, the CLS is hosting a Fall Kick Off on North Campus Grove, between Younker and the JRC, on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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