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The workshops will facilitate informal conversation between UF students and alumni, said Kiera Simmonds, senior assistant director for campus initiatives. UF Division of Student Life photo by Amy Xie

The Career Connections Center will hold five hour-long virtual workshops hosted by University of Florida alumni between July 12-22.

The sessions, which students can register for here, will feature experts in electrical engineering, human resources, entomology, product management and fundraising. Students will also get a clear look at how the graduates turned their degrees into job opportunities, said Keira Simmonds, senior assistant director for campus initiatives.

“If your career choice has been made, this is a wonderful opportunity for you to identify an alum who is already in your field that you can ask questions to affirm your choice and use that as motivation to move forward,” she said. “No matter your industry, it doesn’t hurt to hear the lived experience of others.”

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The variety of the sessions, which comprise the Career Exploration Series, is evidence of the non-linear paths careers can take, Simmonds said.

“We all know that majors don’t necessarily equal career. And so, if students can see the progression from graduating UF to entering the workforce and having a meaningful career, no matter what the path is that they took, I think that’s wonderful,” she said.

Although alumni will lead the workshops, students will be able to direct the conversation by asking questions and sharing their own experiences. Simmonds said the events are designed to help students learn from the mistakes and successes of others – and understand that they’re not alone as they explore career options.

“It’s a lot of informal conversation, which is really, really nice. We try to make it lighthearted, but also to just be transparent and say, ‘This is how I dealt with this situation,’ or, ‘This is what I was pursuing, and here’s how I navigated that space,’” she added. “It’s very real in that respect.”

The sessions are part of the Gator2Gator series, led by the Gator Career Consultant Program, which was launched more than a year ago and has since offered mentoring, resume reviews and informational interviews to current students. Now, the network of participating alumni is more than 230 people strong.

“The overwhelming support they have provided has been just phenomenal,” Simmonds said. “Our students seem to really appreciate their perspective.”

Simmonds said connecting students to alumni and resources at the Career Connections Center are central to the series, especially if they are just starting to think intentionally about their careers.

“Ultimately, this is a wonderful opportunity for students to get their questions answered, think outside the box, learn from the experiences of others and reflect and make meaning for themselves,” she said.

Attendees can register up until the time of a session here. Workshops will take place from 1-2 p.m. on July 12, 14, 15, 19 and 22. Or, join the Gator2Gator alumni network here.


Source: Keira Simmonds, ksimmonds@ufsa.ufl.edu