New summit will give Baylor liberal arts students valuable career help

By Katherine McClellan

Baylor students majoring in the liberal arts will soon have a new opportunity to learn about potential careers and take steps towards planning their futures. Encompassing more than a traditional career fair, the brand-new Liberal Arts Career Summit will take a holistic approach to students’ futures.

Baylor University Career and Professional Development (CPD) is introducing the Liberal Arts Career Summit, to be held Tuesday, April 16, beginning at 4 p.m. and ending at 7:30 p.m. at the Mayborn Museum.

Desiree Foley, employer relations specialist with CPD, is excited that the Liberal Arts Career Summit is being held at the Mayborn Museum.

“A lot of our events are on the fifth floor of Cashion, but we felt that the Mayborn is a good reflection of the students we are targeting with this Summit — students within the humanities and liberal arts,” she said. “We think this venue change will allow these students to feel valued and sought after.”

While students at the Summit will have the chance to network with potential employers, Foley hopes that students will do more than that — and gain valuable information about their futures.

“Students at the Summit can go and attend breakout sessions, or hear from Baylor alumni with similar backgrounds as them,” Foley said. “We pulled together these events that we normally host separately into one streamlined Summit so that students could come to one event that is multi-dimensional.”

The Summit is different from past career events sponsored by CPD for several reasons. It’s a Baylor event thoroughly tailored to students in the liberal arts and humanities, and it seeks to make these students aware of desirable opportunities. While the Summit will include employers looking for liberal arts students for internships and employment, Jarrod Mathis, employer relations specialist, said the event is designed to do more than just aid a job search.

“A big portion of the Summit is education and preparation, and we provide that in a couple of different ways,” Mathis said. “One of those ways is breakout sessions led by employers and by Baylor alumni. Those will cover everything from how to build relationships in the workplace and how to get an internship, to, ‘How do I talk about my liberal arts degree when I’m applying for jobs?'”

After an opening message from College of Arts & Sciences Dean Lee Nordt, the Liberal Arts Career Summit will offer a panel discussion featuring Baylor alumni who graduated with a degree in the liberal arts, and who are working in a variety of industries — including media, technology and nonprofits. The alumni panelists will be able to share their successes and struggles with students, framing their journeys in the light of their liberal arts educations.

In designing the Summit, CPD staff addressed the fact that students attending a career fair sometimes feel intimidated by rows and rows of tables.

“What we want to create is a space for conversation and a less stressful environment for our students,” Mathis said. “While we will have some employers there, they won’t be restricted to tables. They’ll be in the rotunda with the students, with food and drink there for the sharing.”

As a humanities alumna herself, Shelby Cefaratti, marketing and graphic design specialist with CPD, thinks that liberal arts students will jump at this new platform to not only approach and converse with recruiters about jobs, but to learn about the many doors they can open because of their majors.

“As humanities students, we’re learning how to think — both about ourselves and the world around us,” Cefaratti said. “But when it comes to finding a job, it can be daunting.” The Summit seeks to teach students in the liberal arts and humanities how to best market the skills they are learning.

CPD hopes students will walk away from this event with some more clarity in regards to their future careers.

“Through these panels and sessions and networking with the employers that come, students can gain a better understanding of what they are looking for, as well as better insight into what that could look like five to 10 years down the road,” Foley said. The panels and breakout sessions are designed to help students think about internships and entry-level opportunities, as well as where their degrees can take them.

“The Summit will hopefully be an encouragement to our students that the major they’re pursuing has so many different outcomes that could go in a variety of directions, as they’ll hear from different alumni,” Mathis said. “So hopefully they’ll see their program as valuable — no less valuable than a major that might have a very specific path.”

NOTE: While the Summit is free and open to Baylor undergraduate and graduate students of all majors, students must register in advance for this event because space is limited to 175 attendees. To register, follow this link to the Liberal Arts Career Summit Handshake page. The page also lists the registered employers that will attend the Summit.

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