|• Fall 2002||Magazine Archive & Search • Muhlenberg Home|
The informational interview component of Alumni in the Classroom Week
gives students the opportunity to have a group discussion with alumni
who are employed or experienced in their field of interest. Each interview
session – held in the Office of Career Development and Placement
– is organized as a small group meeting so that students and alums
can interact on a more discussion-based level, rather than in a lecture-based
environment. Students have the chance to ask questions and also benefit
from hearing the answers given to other students in the group.
OCDP encourages the students to be prepared for the informational interviews with specific questions about the speaker and his/her current job situation. Furthermore, Garow Grossman says the office expects the alum to be just as involved in the inquiry process as the students, so they ask each student participating in an interview to submit a resume or a brief information sheet for the alumni panelist to review prior to the interview. This way, she says, both parties will have an opportunity to know a bit about the other before entering the interview, which helps to make for an engaging session.
Me and my shadow
The other main program that the OCDP offers, the Muhlenberg Shadow Program, is meant to further familiarize students with career opportunities by allowing them to spend a day with an alum in a field of interest over winter break.
Garow Grossman says the program is based on the philosophy that “the more a student sees, the more information they have to make decisions.” It is the application of this practical, hands-on approach to exploring career options that makes the program invaluable, she says.
Before the visit, students are required to participate in a series of preliminary programs designed to give them an understanding of what the day entails, and to assist them in preparing for it. For example, the office sponsors a Dining for Success Program in which the students are taught proper dining etiquette since visits sometimes include lunch. Each student also attends an orientation about networking and how maintaining and furthering contacts with alumni is beneficial for the participant’s career prospects.
Catina Crismale ’04, a biology major, took part in the Shadow Program by spending a day shadowing pediatrician Barry Evans ’72, M.D. at his medical practice at Beth Israel Children’s Hospital in Newark, N.J. last winter.
Crismale feels that one of the major benefits of the program is that it allows students to see the practical side of every profession. In her case, she saw how Evans and his staff work with patients on a first-hand basis and, in her own words, “I got to see a more in-depth perspective of how things work.”
Crismale highly recommends the Shadow Program to aspiring medical students because the experience provides them with real medical insight and disproves many of the common misconceptions that people have about medicine. “If you’ve never worked in a doctor’s office you don’t have that insight, all you have is the image,” she says.
According to Evans, an active participant in the Shadow Program, the program is beneficial for students who wish to enter the medical field because it allows for them to gain exposure to the medical field in real life by working with residents and interviewing patients. This allows the student to see the practical, human side of the profession as well as how their academic preparation applies to everyday medical practice.
Evans summarizes his reasons for getting involved with the Shadow Program: “I’ve been very successful. Muhlenberg got me where I’m going, and so I felt I should give back to the college.”
Garow Grossman encourages those who would like to become a member of the Muhlenberg Career Network, serve as a shadow host, and/or speak to students during Alumni in the Classroom Week, to go to www.muhlenberg.edu/ocdp/alumni.html and submit the volunteer form.
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