Skip to main content
Fall 2012
Print Bookmark and Share


Career Training in CALS Creates Opportunities

By Jennifer Pierre ‘13

Oscar-winning producer Ryan Silbert '02 counsels a student as parto f the 2012 Department of Communication Job Communication Alumni Mentorship Program (Job CAMP).
Photo: Robert Barker/University Photography

Oscar-winning producer Ryan Silbert '02 counsels a student as part of the 2012 Department of Communication Job Communication Alumni Mentorship Program (Job CAMP).

With high unemployment rates for recent college graduates, even ambitious Cornell students may have trepidation about entering the workforce. CALS students have access to mentorship and training programs that offer workshops, advice, and even a bit of encouragement for their career paths.

The Extern Program, run by Cornell Career Services, gives sophomores, juniors, and seniors an inside look into a day in the life of a specific career related to their major. Externs shadow a professional for one or two days during winter or spring breaks.

They may find themselves attending executive board meetings or working in Olympic National Forest, with ample opportunities to quiz professionals about their career paths. Many of the mentors are Cornell alumni who want to foster the Cornell connection.

David H. Nelson ’82, managing editor of Conservationist magazine, has offered extern program participants the chance to meet a real editorial board and join in conference calls, and Linda Stillman ’74, a United Nations consultant, meets with students at the Cornell Club in New York City each year.

Alumni are the core of the Communication Department’s Job CAMP (Communication Alumni Mentoring Program), which since 2010 has annually hosted an advisory board of highly talented and successful Cornell alumni from communication-related fields. This year’s all-star team included the chief research officer of Viacom, vice president of legal affairs at Showtime, and an Oscar-winning producer.

“While it would be informative for the students to hear the alumni lecture, we wanted something different,” said Lee Humphreys ‘99, Job CAMP co-organizer and assistant professor of communication. “Our focus is on integrating more interactive and unique activities.”

Along with Communications alumni events coordinator Aimee Woodruff, M.B.A ‘04, Humphreys helps connect students with alumni during the daylong affair held each April. The timing is strategic: the skills learned by attending juniors and seniors can be immediately applied to spring job interviews. The day starts off with a one-on-one resume workshop where students receive direct feedback from members of the board.

“We want to make this more exciting and enhance the undergraduate experience,” Woodruff said. “When students leave Job CAMP, we want them to leave knowing their department and degree will open doors.”

A degree may help a student get a job, but succeeding in a global economy demands additional skills, which students in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management can develop in the Business Opportunities in Leadership and Diversity (BOLD) program. Headed by Dyson School director of diversity programs Cindy van Es, BOLD offers a two-year leadership certificate program, a speaker series, and a general diversity program that works closely with minority students on campus.

“We’re trying to enhance the skill set of students and add skills they don’t get in the classroom,” Van Es said. “BOLD participants develop presence, eloquence, and confidence.”

From the speaker series—which is open to all Cornell students—to the elite leadership program limited to 20 sophomores, the BOLD program promotes students’ development into ethical leaders. BOLD is training future business leaders who will promote an inclusive environment while safeguarding business practices that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.