A woman stands at a podium explaining her career to students and faculty
Linda Laskowski-Jones, chair of the CHS Advisory Council, led a presentation explaining her nursing and clinical career experience to a group of students and faculty attending the first discussion of the Ask Me Anything! series.

Kicking off career talk series

November 27, 2023 Written by Colin Heffinger | Photos by Ashley Barnas

This past September, the College of Health Sciences (CHS) kicked off a new event series connecting students with industry and healthcare leaders. Titled “Ask Me Anything!”, each monthly event hosts two different members of the CHS Advisory Council to share insights they’ve learned throughout their unique career experiences.

Coming from a variety of backgrounds such as careers with Nemours Children’s Health Systems, the Delaware BioScience Association, or Beebe Healthcare, the CHS Advisory Council holds 17 dedicated industry and healthcare leaders with a breadth of knowledge in ways to excel and explore new pathways within the healthcare field. Both freshmen and upperclassmen attended, showcasing a wide level of interest throughout the college.

Every “Ask Me Anything!” event will start off with Bill Farquhar, Dean of CHS, introducing two council members to give presentations explaining their career background and fields of expertise. From there, the remainder of the event is dedicated to students asking questions that appeal to their own goals, interests, and considered career pathways.

For the kick-off event, presentations were led by Ted Foltyn, adjunct faculty with Horn Entrepreneurship, and Linda Laskowski-Jones, editor-in-chief of Nursing for the Journal of Clinical Excellence published by Wolters Kluwer and the chair of the CHS Advisory Council. With Foltyn’s business background in pharmaceutical and medical devices combined with Laskowski-Jones’ long career in nursing and her clinical expertise, students were provided with two completely different professional perspectives across unique career paths tied to healthcare.

Foltyn spent most of his career at leading major marketing and sales roles with Johnson & Johnson, including managing large pharmaceutical brands, leading a 450-person sales organization, and developing a medical device pipeline. In Horn Entrepreneurship, Foltyn teaches entrepreneurial marketing and selling courses. He channels his passion for helping students identify career path options through the internship program he runs as part of Horn Entrepreneurship.

Laskowski-Jones has more than 35 years of professional nursing experience. She served as the vice president of emergency and trauma services for Christiana Care Health Systems where she also held roles such as a clinical nurse specialist, educator, and trauma program manager. She has over 160 published works spanning expertise in emergency departments, trauma center operations, wilderness medicine education, and leadership advancement in nursing. Today, she is the chair of the State of Delaware’s Trauma System Quality Evaluation Committee and the executive director of the Appalachian Center for Wilderness Medicine.

“You don’t typically learn about these kinds of career experiences in any classroom,” Foltyn said. “The best way to gain this knowledge is through those who have lived it.”

After sharing career backgrounds, Foltyn and Laskowski-Jones opened the discussion directly to students in attendance. Students pitched various questions around themes such as preparing the best version of their resume, best ways to use LinkedIn for building connections, how to get more involved on campus, and details about different majors that best apply to individual goals.

“Students were looking to learn how to plan ahead for their careers,” said Laskowski-Jones. “We explained that it’s always the right time to look for a job, whether it’s in the summer, while a student is at UD, or any other times. To help strengthen their background when they finish their degrees, we shared ideas on how students can use experiences at UD to help shape their resumes further.” 

A man stands at a podium explaining his career to students and faculty
Ted Foltyn, adjunct faculty with Horn Entrepreneurship, explains his professional business experience to students and faculty at the first Ask Me Anything! discussion.

Both industry leaders stressed the importance of meeting new people who could become a potential connection for jobs. Even as a freshman, building a network by being involved in events for the university campus, volunteering for programs like the student-run emergency care unit ambulance, or contributing to student-focused organizations are critical to opening opportunities for future employment. These experiences also build leadership and competence, better preparing students for challenges of entering the workforce.

“This event series is unique because it offers students an opportunity to have an insider’s view of proven success strategies,” said Laskowski-Jones. “These strategies can be considered as they’re building their network and experience through the university – leading to new courses and groups to join - and even onward into developing their future careers.”

Laskowski-Jones continued by reminding students that their life shouldn’t be entirely focused on work. “A lot of what we do in our down time is what clears our minds,” she said. “Developing healthy life habits and interests is what helps keep you motivated and passionate about your future.”

Looking ahead, Foltyn reflected on opportunities for future “Ask Me Anything!” events. Because each event hosts a different duo of council members, there’s immeasurable value in repeat attendance.

“I have high hopes that other council members leading this series will provide entirely different perspectives,” Foltyn said. “Students can benefit from attending at least a few of these to learn from different backgrounds the best strategies for making their time at UD meaningful.”

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