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ZebraCAN Links Students and Professionals

Career Center Director Marianna Savoca Career Center Director Marianna Savoca

It has a new name and a new image, but the same great service. The Career Contact and Alumni Network, formerly known as CCAN, is now called ZebraCAN, reinforcing the brand and linking it to its geographical proximity in the Career Center at the foot of Stony Brook’s Zebra Path.

Career Center Director Marianna Savoca is hoping the rebranding will net at least one result—get Stony Brook students talking to real professionals who will share their work experiences and offer a clearer idea of the many vocations available to them when they graduate.

Savoca said ZebraCAN benefits two groups, professional alumni and friends, and students. “You have a no-cost, low-commitment opportunity to help students out, not for a long time, but in a small way. Students can find professionals online.”

Would-be mentors need only to fill out an industry profile, list their titles and assigned duties, and indicate how many student contacts they desire. Students are only allowed to make ten contacts per year so that the mentors are not overutilized.

A CAN-Do Approach

Savoca cautions that ZebraCAN is not a job-listing service but more of an outlet for students to learn about careers in which they might be interested but know little about. It is also a way for professionals to talk about themselves. Mentors can choose to make a presentation to students as an alternative to an informational interview or they can review a student’s résumé.

Interest in ZebraCAN is already high, Savoca said, with 300 mentors signed up from a range of careers, including engineering and teaching. Senior Career Associate Nikki Barnett tracks the number of searches that students do to find professionals and predicts that both that number and the number of mentors will skyrocket once the network reaches its full potential.

“As a mentor, it doesn’t matter to us whether you went to Stony Brook or not,” said Barnett. “We just want our students to talk to professionals as if they are investigative reporters.” Students are encouraged to do research and ask meaningful questions about the occupational fields that interest them. In the process, they learn how to impress future employers by appearing well informed.

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