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Career Treks

Photos courtesy of Career Services Center

UD students take to the road for a look at career opportunities

University of Delaware Career Treks are site visits to companies located within a geographic region or industry that are designed to provide an insider’s view of an organizations employment opportunities and culture.

The Career Treks are coordinated by the UD Career Services Center, in collaboration with the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics Career Services Center and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations to bring students to employers who typically don’t visit campus to recruit.

On April 5, 115 students went on four buses to three cities – New York, Washington, D.C., and Silver Spring, Maryland – with several different industry areas. The treks were focused on: marketing and communications, fashion, health, science, engineering and technology, as well as government, nonprofit and policy. Students were encouraged to use social media to document their day, using the hashtag #UDcareertrek.

Marketing and Communications

On the first visit of the marketing and communications trek, to HBO Studios, students toured the studio, as well as many multimillion dollar control and edit rooms.

They met Coco Cocoves, a parent of a current first-year UD student, as well as producers and editors. Students were even privy to a few sneak peaks at some upcoming boxing and women’s basketball documentaries soon to air.

At the second destination, MongoDB, students heard from a panel that included two UD alumni, Emily Cardner and Marissa Chieco. Students said they were very impressed with the team culture and core values of the organization, as Emily Whelahan tweeted, “Pizza and razor scooters at @MongoDB? I think I can handle that #UDCareerTrek.” Devany Burke tweeted “@MongoDB had one of the coolest offices I’ve seen, complete with free food and a nap room! Thanks for showing us around #UDCareerTrek.”

At the third and final stop of the day, students were greeted by HunterPR CEO Grace T. Leong, a UD alum who took time to speak to the group and offer advice for pursuing different career interests. During the HunterPR visit, students were also guided through a brainstorming activity that current employees often take part in during weekly meetings to enhance creativity and collaboration.

At each and every employer visit, students heard consistent themes about networking, building relationships, reaching out to alumni, and gaining experience in fields of interest.

Government, Policy and Nonprofit

Students who attended the Washington trek also toured facilities and met with UD alumni. All students visited the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in the morning, while the afternoon visit split in two, with 12 students visiting National Public Radio (NPR) and seven students visiting Mercury LLC, a bipartisan public affairs firm.

At the Smithsonian, students got to hear from archivist and UD alum Craig Orr. They also learned about the origins of the Smithsonian and received detailed information on the vast array of internship and career opportunities. The host for the visit, Omar Eaton-Martinez, shared information on the Smithsonian-UD partnership and also gave students insight into the career pathway which led him to the Smithsonian Institution.

Highlights of the NPR visit included a private talk with NPR’s lead editor for political content, UD alum Domenico Montanaro, as well as a guided tour of the headquarters, including a stop at the famous Tiny Desk Concert location.

UD alum Greg Lankler hosted the Mercury Public Affairs visit and shared detailed information about his career journey which included 20-plus years working on the Hill and his current work with the firm. Students also heard from former congressman Vin Weber and Brian Lanza, a former adviser to President Donald Trump, and learned about internship opportunities and what it takes to stand out as a competitive candidate in the application process. 

Engineering and Technology/Health and Science

UD students who participated in the health, science, engineering and technology trek visited two centers of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first stop was the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), where students heard from Michael Adjodha, a 1993 UD graduate who has served as a chemical engineer in the Office of Device Evaluation within CDRH for more than 17 years.

Adjodha spoke to students about his role and explained the evaluation process for premarket notification submissions for dental devices. Students also got the chance to hear current FDA student interns and learn about the hiring processes specific to the CDRH.

Participants then visited the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) in College Park, Maryland. Here, students were able to meet UD alum Kevin Smith, director, Retail Food Protection staff. Smith moderated a panel of several CFSAN employees from departments such as the offices of Food Additive Safety, Analytics and Outreach, Nutrition and Food Labeling and Management. The students learned about the different facets of the center’s regulations on domestic and imported foods and cosmetics sold in the U.S and how the center ensures that the nation’s food supply is safe and properly labeled.

Students were able to view first-hand a number of different research laboratories housed within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and learn about the many opportunities the centers offer for students and recent graduates.

Kaitlyn O'Shaughnessy, sophomore food sciences major, said, “I really enjoyed the FDA Career Trek and learned a tremendous amount about the different departments. I now think this would be a great career path for me to pursue and am looking forward to applying for an internship in the future.”

Fashion

The fashion trek to New York City provided 45 students with insight into the fashion world in an exciting day of networking and learning. Students were able to visit with either Ross Stores or Castlewood Apparel in the morning and PVH or Ralph Lauren in the afternoon.

The Ross Stores visit was hosted by Kaley Polhill and featured presentations on buying from UD alums Courtney Martin and Megan Kirby. Castlewood Apparel provided an in-depth overview of the fashion world. Students heard from contacts in design, sales, human resources, social media, and brand building.

The visit was highlighted by Nick Koles, a parent of a UD student, who was able to tie all areas of the fashion world together and give students an understanding of the variety that the fashion world can provide.

In the afternoon, some students visited PVH, which owns brands such as Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger. Amy Anderson provided information on how PVH works and the many job and internships in which student might be interested.

Other students went to Ralph Lauren for an event hosted in the exclusive Ralph Lauren Library. Students heard from and got to network with three UD alums, Lauren Saracen, Michelle Sagastume, and Megan Melofchik.

The Career Treks will continue to be an annual outing offering exclusive behind the scenes opportunities to UD students. 

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