Through a new series of panels offered by the Office of Career Strategy, students can get a taste of five different career paths before applying for jobs.

The series — called “What Is … ” — included six events to introduce students to five different industries: education, finance, consulting, non-profit and engineering, which was the subject of two panels. The panels, which began at the end of August and ended two weeks ago, featured professionals working in relevant fields who shared their work experiences and answered questions from students. Jeanine Dames, OCS director and associate dean of Yale College, said the series was scheduled before many campus recruiting events in order to expose students to different fields before they began meeting with employers.

“In creating this series for Yale, the intention was to introduce various industries before students started the application process, and thereby show students what it is really like to work in these industries, ” Dames said. “Each program was a panel of representatives — mostly alumni — from organizations across that industry to show an honest snapshot of what it is like to work there.”

OCS Assistant Director Stephanie Waite, who organized the “What is Education” session, said panelists’ topics spanned from teaching to operations to policy work. In addition to presenting their various roles, Waite said, the panelists also spoke anecdotally, discussing the greatest rewards and challenges in their positions, and offering advice for current students interested in pursuing education careers.

Brian Frenette, OCS associate director and organizer of the two “What is Engineering” events, said panelists were selected to offer a wide range of perspectives and to give the panels as broad a scope as possible. The first engineering panel focused on software engineering and programming, while the second centered on chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. The events featured professionals from Facebook, Google and Bloomberg LP, among others.

“‘Engineering’ is such a sweeping area, professionally speaking, and therefore it is important to understand that each panel was designed to offer insight into a specific and targeted aspect within the field,” Frenette said, adding that he hopes to host similar panels on other engineering fields in the future.

Nedgine Paul ’08 -— the co-founder and CEO of Anseye Pou Ayiti, which means “Teach For Haiti” in Haitian Creole and a panelist at the “What is Education” event — said she encouraged attendees to understand how a career in education intersects with other sectors including law, policy, social entrepreneurship and healthcare. Paul said she addressed questions ranging from “Should everyone interested in education start their career as a classroom teacher?” to “What are charter schools?”

“My experiences at Yale have shaped my career path in several ways, so it was great to connect with current students and share some lessons I have learned along the way,” Paul said, adding that the panel was helpful not only in bringing up ideas related to education, but also in offering concrete ways for students to get involved.

Four students interviewed spoke positively about OCS’ goal in hosting the events, though none attended the panels. Amber Tang ’18 thought the series would be helpful because students could get advice on real-life experiences, though it can be difficult to find time for such sessions with many things happening on campus.

Nathan Ewing-Crystal ’19 said such events hosted by OCS will become more valuable as he progresses through his Yale career.

“I think [the series] will be useful when I become a senior, trying to figure out what to do with my life and what directions to possibly go into,” he said.

OCS will continue to organize “What Is … ” panels next semester that highlight other industries.

  • Woody Mellor

    So…Yale engineering students need to have “what is engineering?” explained to them? Bravo, OCS, bravo.