On Friday morning March 6, at CCBC-Dundalk, students gathered on the second floor of the College Community Center Student Lounge to take part in CCBC’s spring Pathways to Career event. The event, sponsored by CCBC’s Pathways Program, is designed to introduce students to a wide range of college majors and potential future careers while also delivering practical advice.
“The overall goal of the event is for students to gain a greater understanding of where their area of interest fits into a college pathway so that we can help them find an opportunity to use their areas of interest - whatever their areas of interest are - for careers,” said Susan Delker-Grauel, CCBC’s Department Chair for Academic Development 101. “The pathways are designed to help students figure out that there’s not just one career, that there are lots of careers on the periphery of every major.”
The event included a series of activities including a poster competition, guest speaker presentations, career-planning videos, practice interviews, and the completion of career-oriented development packets.
The program, which was also held on the Essex campus on March 9 and the Catonsville campus March 11, hopes to get students to ask questions about themselves and their interests.
“[Students] fill out a career packet where they can talk about interests and values and a little bit about themselves and what job would fit…so we hope that through that process they connect it with their pathway, they connect it a little bit with their major,” says ACDV 101 adjunct professor Stacy Hurley. “If they say...‘I love gaming'...well, great! How can you turn your interests into a skill that can lead to not just a job, but a career?”
The Pathways Program invited all ACDV 101 students currently researching future majors or careers to create a poster and bring it to the event. Students then had the chance to browse the posters, learn about each career or major, and vote on their favorites.
Guest speaker presentations focused on topics including the importance of planning for a successful future career by making smart decisions in the present; another highlighted the importance of following career paths that students have a passion for, even if that passion and that career path changes over time. The speaker told a story about his wife, who switched from a career in forensics to cancer research following the death of her father from pancreatic cancer.
“[I liked hearing] that our career shouldn’t determine what our job is going to be, it should just be a gateway to lead us to different paths,” said Vivian Delgado, a student ambassador assisting with the Dundalk event. ”She was driven to do something that she had an interest in, and I feel like that’s also what I want to do. If I [care about] something, I feel like that’s what I would want to do with my life, so I feel like that was very motivational.”
This semester marks the fifth event sponsored by the Pathways program. Originally starting on the Catonsville and Essex campuses, the program expanded to the Dundalk campus last fall, and Delker-Grauel mentioned that a potential expansion to the Owings Mills Extension Campus is currently in discussion.
Students with any questions related to potential future majors or related careers are encouraged to go to the Pathways section on CCBC’s website. “You’ll find all the information about CCBC Pathways, what majors fall under each Pathway, and the name of the coordinator for each Pathway,” said Delker-Grauel. “If you contact that person they can put you in touch with a professional or a professor at CCBC who could answer questions about a particular major.”