Marianna Savoca, director of the Career Center, spoke to us about the Center’s long-running commitment to excellence and collaborations with partners on and off campus.
WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT STONY BROOK?
In addition to leading a team to accomplish our “Educate-Prepare-Connect” mission, I keep stakeholders informed about market and industry needs, employer feedback on student competitiveness and strategic priorities. Career development is not an office — it’s an ecosystem. It’s my job to make sure that our ecosystem is filled with committed Seawolves and our extended alumni and employer “families.”
WHOM DOES THE CAREER CENTER SUPPORT?
As the career service for the entire campus, we serve all students — freshmen through doctoral students and postdocs. We have an innovative career service for alumni, too. We invest in employer development, helping them to brand themselves on campus, connect with appropriate faculty and student organizations, and match their opportunities to candidates. We also provide hundreds of faculty partners with job market information, industry trends, career programming and employer connections.
WITH WHOM DOES THE CAREER CENTER COLLABORATE?
We’ve cultivated a fabulous relationship with Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities and jointly coordinate Explorations in STEM, a unique summer research initiative with a career development overlay. We team with the Office of Multicultural Affairs on our Diversity Professional Leadership Network to match students with mentors from several corporate partners. We have many alliances on campus — we work with dozens of academic departments in every school and college. We partner with the Office for the Integration of Research, Education and Professional Development; Student Affairs; Advancement; and Alumni Relations. We even work with Corporate Education and Training to support displaced Long Islanders.
WHAT DIFFERENTIATES YOUR SERVICES FROM THOSE AT OTHER HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS?
We’ve earned a stellar reputation by doing outstanding work, sharing our knowledge with others, coaching and consulting for peers, and always looking for ways to improve. We are not afraid to take risks and go for the unusual. The numbers tell our success story: During my tenure, our staff has held 80 leadership roles in regional, state and national organizations; we’ve led 60 presentations at regional and national conferences; and we’ve received 16 awards from regional and national professional associations and four SUNY awards for excellence. If you tally all the grants we have secured and/or managed over the years, it totals more than $2.7 million.
NAME SOME OF THE COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE OFFERING STUDENTS OPPORTUNITIES.
Last year we had more than 10,500 positions posted in Handshake — our job and internship database — with nearly 500 highly active employer partners from many industries recruiting our student talent. That includes a mix of big names such as Google, Facebook, JPMorgan, Memorial Sloan Kettering, PwC and AT&T, as well as many midsize organizations. What’s more, we are the only campus in the State University of New York system to have an on-site Peace Corps recruiter (funded by a grant from Peace Corps). This enables us to raise the overall profile of international service opportunities for students and alumni.
THE NATIONAL STUDENT EMPLOYMENT ASSOCIATION RECOGNIZED STONY BROOK AS A LEADER IN TRANSFORMATIVE STUDENT EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMS. WHAT FACTORS LED TO THIS DISTINCTION?
I am tremendously proud of what we have accomplished in student employment in a very short time frame, especially because it’s only been two years since we’ve acquired this responsibility. Stony Brook has earned this recognition for two reasons: We have a great foundation in our internship program and a clear vision for making campus jobs transformative, skill-building experiences for students. I am part of much larger conversations taking place nationwide about how to improve campus jobs and assist students in better articulating and selling their acquired skills to the world of work beyond campus.