Students at Peace are not only striving to succeed academically, but also professionally through their internships and future careers. The Career Design Center in Main Building is there for all students to support and prepare them for the workplace after they graduate.
“We are all about preparing you for the careers of tomorrow,” said Julie Cline, the center’s assistant director. “We want to make sure that you have every tool, every resource that you possibly need to do this by yourself after graduation.”
The department used to be called Career Services. Its new title encompasses its mission and the variety of ways they can provide to students, Cline said.
Cline, along with Jenna Hartwell, the center’s director, and graduate assistant Gloria Debnam, are the three people to contact when in need of advice regarding how to utilize your chosen major into an internship or potential career.
Although one of the center’s goals is to build confidence in students for after graduation, it also offers life-long support and guidance for all students and alumni.
Cline’s job is to guide and assist students as they’re starting to apply for internships. In order to graduate from Peace, all students are required to complete at least one internship.
As internship coordinator, Cline helps students figure out what internships they would be interested in, connects them to employers in the Raleigh community, and serves as a helping hand when students are creating their resumes and cover letters to apply for their individual internship.
She also works with students by giving them the opportunity to practice with her on how to professionally and appropriately ask questions and speak to employers.
“Practice when it comes to applying for internships and also for full time jobs is critical,” Cline said.
Not only is Cline a form of support for students on how to act and write professionally, but she also encourages students so they will become more confident overall and not second guess themselves during an interview or professional setting.
“I’d rather you practice here and it’s okay to make a mistake here,” said Cline, “Instead of when you’re getting ready to the full time job search, because often times the things that happen there could cost you an opportunity.”
The center’s goal is for students to take advantage of their office to practice on campus, but also through an internship space.
“The practice you gain here is life changing,” she added.
After going through an internship process, Cline is there for students to reflect on what they liked and disliked about working under that employer. Reflection is beneficial to students while they’re still in college because it gives them more time to accurately identify what their values and interests are.
She also says that the most important thing to remember when a student starts to apply for internships is to start early. Currently, industries are looking for students to be interns in the spring and summer. Students that apply early for internships are more likely to be considered by the employer because of their proactivity.
Debnam started working at Peace in June. She was looking for work in higher education while she is still getting her master’s degree in education. She thought that working in the Career Design Center at Peace matched up well with her goals. Peace caught her eye with the student population and the amount of first-generation college students.
Debnam says that it’s rewarding to have a job that involves helping students with their career goals and ambitions. Debnam is also a teacher for one of the Professional Development Seminar classes on campus.
“Being able to be in the classroom teaching PDS students has been enjoyable as I’ve been able to share some of my professional experiences with them,” Debnam said.
Before even starting to think about internships, sometimes student’s majors are undecided. All Peace students have the opportunity to go to the Career Design Center to start having a conversation with someone discussing their interests and passions.
There’s also an assessment available to students for them to take. The assessment is called “Focus 2”. Students are able to discover their interests, values, and likes/dislikes through this assessment; also how to utilize them on a path tailored specifically for them.
Cline says that their office genuinely cares about students, whereas other universities are much more focused on the business side of things. Overall, students come first when it comes to getting support for their career development, she says — not just during their college experience, but for a lifetime.