Asad Moughal ’19 has dreamed of working at Google for as long as he can remember. Thanks to the Stony Brook Career Center, he’s now taken steps toward achieving that goal.
“I was able to connect with three alumni, all of whom had amazing things to say about everything from resume advice to interview preparation,” Asad said. “Best of all, I was able to connect with an alum who works at Google, which is a dream employer of mine, and this alumnus was more than open to sharing her experience and advice.”
Asad, a marketing intern for the Career Center and a Business Management major, made the connection through Career Communities, a university-wide initiative bringing together students, employers, faculty, and staff through common career interests. Through the program, Moughal was offered the opportunity to tour Google’s New York campus while earning a potential future employment resource, turning his dream into a more realistic and achievable goal.
“This is an entirely new way of organizing and delivering career development services to the Stony Brook student and alumni community,” said Career Center Director Marianna Savoca. “Our goal is to create an ecosystem of support through these communities, by bringing together undergraduates, graduates, career field experts, alumni, employers, staff, and faculty who share similar career interests.”
Career Communities, which officially launched at the start of the 2017-18 academic year, is a new approach to helping students build more meaningful futures for themselves by creating networks designed around interest and experience rather than majors.
“Before Career Communities came to be, the job search could be too exclusive to a student’s major,” said Moughal, stressing the importance of other resources such as Handshake, Stony Brook’s student and alumni centered employment and internship hub and SBU CampusTap, the SBU equivalent of Linkedin. “Students had the use of Handshake, and they would get blocks of various emails. But with Career Communities, the process became much more specific and the student could find exactly what they are looking for in a shorter amount of time.”
Since the major-to-career path is not often a linear process, Career Communities sorts career fields by interests, rather than major, which allows students to learn more about a particular field and network within this field. A Biology major, for instance, could be interested in Scientific, Research & Academia, Helping Professions (counseling, social work, psychology, mental health, disability services) and Healthcare and Education, but also have an interest in Arts and Communications.
The “Exploring” community was created specifically for students who are still figuring things out and exploring their options. The Career Center created a framework where there is a place for every student at Stony Brook: those who are focused and have a good sense of their career interests, and those who are open to exploration.
“Before the Communities materialized it was more of a connection with the students on a one-on-one basis, and we were simply not able to reach all of them individually,” said Urszula Zalewski, assistant director of Experiential Programs at the Career Center. “So we came up with the idea to connect students within these communities in a way that they will be provided with first-hand employment opportunities, job fairs, career coaching appointments and career labs.”
Involvement with one or more career communities can help prepare students for the job search process through networking opportunities and connectivity with alumni and mentors to broaden their horizons regarding the variety of careers available.
Each of the eight career communities provides a list of student clubs and organizations on campus that may relate to a student’s interests and career goals. The communities receive tailor-made bi-weekly newsletters, which spotlight opportunities they can apply for, events within that community as well as advice and encouragement from CampusTap mentors.
The Center additionally offers students the opportunity to connect with alumni mentors through each individual Career Community the first week of every month using virtual networking hours through Google Hangouts.
– Anthony Vertucci