10:57 a.m., April 16, 2010----More than 200 students, alumni, panelists and employers attended the University of Delaware's 23rd annual Multi-Ethnic Career Development Conference (MECC) last month on the campus.
The event, which encourages career development in freshmen and sophomores from underrepresented groups, opened with remarks by Joyce Dennis Henderson, assistant director of the Career Services Center, followed by panel discussions on such topics as strategies UD seniors have used to further their careers, developing leadership skills, marketing yourself and networking in a diverse workplace.
Highlight of the day was the keynote address by Joyce Dungee Proctor, founder and president of Seminars by Joyce - the Total You Inc. In an engaging and energizing fashion, Proctor connected with the students on a personal level and shared with them 10 tools for a successful job search.
She offered a wealth of practical strategies for students to start thinking about as they get closer to graduation, and she challenged them to be bold and proactive in achieving their career goals. Proctor encouraged students to “take the limits off of your career and create the work you love.”
Sheatiel Harris, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering, said, “I liked the way she broke down the interview process and the things that you need to do to effectively prepare for the job search, such as composing a biography and creating a list of professional contacts and target employers.”
After lunch, students had the opportunity to network with more than 20 employers, including those who co-sponsored the conference: Target, Air Products, Discover, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ernst & Young, Macy's, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Public Allies.
Jakob Fasika Stühler, a business student from the Berlin School of Economics, said he was particularly pleased with the contacts he made during the networking session. “I have already made use of what I learned [during] yesterday's conference and sent out some notes so that potential employers know that I am seriously looking for an internship. [One] representative wanted me to stay in touch with him. We were talking about hedging their price risk -- something to which I would like to have exposure in my next internship,” he said.
Closing remarks were presented by Dawn Thompson, dean of students and associate vice president of student life, and Deputy Provost Havidán Rodríguez.
The day concluded with a drawing of more than 13 prizes donated by companies and UD departments, including a 32GB iPod Touch, courtesy of the Center for Black Culture, and a Dell Inspiron Mini Net Book, courtesy of the Career Services Center. The grand prize -- a $750 gift certificate to the UD Bookstore -- was won by Gealina Dun, a senior neuroscience major.
Over the years, the MECC has become an important campus event, bringing together a diverse group of students, UD alumni from various backgrounds and industries and UD faculty and staff, as well as companies in the Delaware Valley.
Araya Debessay, professor of accounting at UD and chairperson of the African Heritage Caucus Board, summed up its importance: “The Multi-Ethnic Career Conference is an excellent opportunity for underrepresented freshmen and sophomores to learn how to prepare early for their career. I was impressed to see how UD alums engaged students and shared their thoughts on how to market oneself, network and prepare for graduate school.”
The 23rd annual Multi-Ethnic Career Development Conference was sponsored by the Division of Student Life, Bank of America Career Services Center, ASPIRE, Center for Black Culture, Center for Counseling and Student Development, the College of Arts and Sciences, EXCEL, RISE and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute NUCLEUS Program.
Article by Stefanie Busch