Heart of the Matter

Andy Chan's Blog for Parents, Mentors and Teachers


TEDx Highlights

I love the following social media highlights from Saturday’s TEDx Event! Special thanks to Stephanie Skordas for her compelling use of Storify to share tweets from audience members at the conference. For the full Wake Forest story on the event and its impact, click here.

[View the story “TEDxWakeForestU Highlights” on Storify]

TEDx Comes to Wake Forest

I have always been impressed by our students’ resourcefulness and passion for new ideas.  Every week, collegiate student groups, clubs, and organizations provide a great variety of opportunities for out-of-classroom, experiential learning.

For the past two months Wake Forest student organizers have been working alongside faculty and community partners to bring a variety of national experts to campus during Family Weekend. Inspired by TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, Lucy Lan, Wake Forest’s student ambassador for the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance, has enlisted the support of over forty student volunteers to plan and host the first annual TEDxWakeForestU speakers series.

With the support of TED’s delivery platform, Lucy and her team have sourced eighteen engaging speakers to share insight on technological innovation, social impact and entrepreneurship. Their six-hour Saturday, February 25th event provides Wake Forest students with the opportunity to learn from an array of forward thinking practitioners, including:

Anthony Atala, Regenerative medicine researcher

Chris Bashinelli, TV host and activist

Lynn Book, Transmedia artist

Don deBethizy, CEO  of Targacept

Samuel Cochran, Solar Ivy CEO and CDO

Andrew DiMeo, NC State entrepreneurship & design instructor

Detta Famiano, Founder of Famiano Design Group

Jacque Fetrow, Dean of the College, Wake Forest University

Peter Gilbert, Acclaimed filmmaker

Natasha Gore, ECHO program director

Paul Laurienti, Brain networks researcher

Jason Manley, Founder of Conceptart.org, The Art Department, One Big Mob, CA Social and President of Massive Black Inc.

Paúl Pauca, Developer of Verbal Victor

Mary Martin Niepold, Nyanya Project coordinator

Carl Nordgren, Founder and Creative Director of Creative Populist, Co-Founder of Minogi, and an Adjunct Professor in Creative Entrepreneurship at Duke University

Chuck Pell, CSO of Physcient

Dennis Quaintance, Weaver Quaintance hotel entrepreneur

Carol Strohecker, Director of the Center for Design Innovation

Polly Black, director of the OPCD’s Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship, believes that the TEDx event has been an exciting experience for the student organizers: “they selected the speakers for the innovative ideas they are championing, the spark they bring to the stage and their ties to the community.” The CICE is one of the event’s four co-sponsors.

Student organizer Jake Graham (’13) has compared his experience on the conference planning committee to starting a small business: “We worked well as a team, even meeting via Skype from different sides of the earth over winter break to keep the event going. I think our collaboration with faculty and staff from offices around campus allowed us to consider our ideas with unique points of view that are different from our perspective as students to create a wonderful conference.”

Please encourage your students and members of the Winston-Salem community to attend this fantastic event. To date, over 900 students and community members have registered to attend. The event is FREE for Wake Forest University students, faculty and staff and is $10 for all other attendees.  Attendees must reserve tickets online prior to the event and ticketing is only available at TEDxWakeForestU.com along with up-to-date information on the event program and other important information.

Internship Search Strategies

It may be hard to believe (considering winter break was just last month!), but the summer is almost here. The biggest question our career counselors are asking students is: “have you started your summer internship search?” No matter where a student is in the process, the OPCD is here to help. Read on for our top 3 tips of what students should be doing now to look for and prepare for a summer internship.

1.  Utilize your resources. The OPCD website is full of helpful internship tips and resources. We’ve recently updated our website to include information about earning internship credit, funding your internship, and finding internship housingDeaconSource, our on-line career portal for students, also contains a variety of internship postings.

2.  Set goals and execute your plan. Use this tracking tool on the “Find an Internship” page to track the contacts made, the internships applied for, and the follow-up required. Set specific goals for the number of internships you will apply for and the industries and locations you want to pursue.

3.  Get in touch and stay in touch. Networking is the single best way to identify opportunities, research information for interviews, and build relationships that will help you land an internship.

  • Here are 3 great tips for building a network:
    • Create a LinkedIn account today and start making connections.
    • Join the Wake Forest Career Connectors group on LinkedIn to get access to the more than 2,800 Wake Forest alumni willing to help you get started on your career search.
    • If you are involved in a sorority, fraternity, or other campus organization, see if the organization has a LinkedIn group. If they do, join that group, too.

Wake Forest Turns 178

Dear old Wake Forest turned 178 this February, and the community here on-campus felt that it was important to celebrate! The OPCD, along with the Office of the President, the Division of Student Life, and the Office of Alumni Services kicked off the celebrations with a birthday salute to encourage students and alumni to gift a gift to the 1834 Campaign. To watch the video, click here.

As we celebrate this week, I’d like to quote an excerpt from a recent article on the Wake Forest homepage that articulates the reason why I believe in Wake Forest:

“On February 3, 1834, Wake Forest Manual Labor Institute opened its doors to its first student, John Crenshaw. Crenshaw, along with the 71 other young men who enrolled within the first year, were schooled in agriculture by day and the Baptist ministry by night. The long hours spent doing chores around the farm, learning how to care for the spiritual needs of others, and how to be a contributing member of society forged values which are still synonymous with Wake Forest to this day. Hard work, dedication to helping others, and the drive to finding one’s true passion in life have long been values of the Wake Forester.”

Wake Forest is a place that not only challenges its students to work hard, but instills the drive in each one of them to find true purpose. I am proud to be a member of the Wake Forest community.

The Wake Forest Model of Career Development

I recently gave the keynote address at the Intern Bridge Career Services Online Conference. Career development professionals from across the country attended my session to learn about the Wake Forest Model of Personal and Career Development, which we have come to learn is one of the most unique and innovative programs of its kind.
One common challenge that all career centers face is the increasing pressure to “do more with less”, so how can collegiate career service centers succeed in this climate?  I offered a few transferable lessons based on the model that we’ve created at Wake Forest:

1. Design an ecosystem, not a service unit.
Individual career services departments cannot shoulder the burden of educating, advising and supporting students on their own. It is crucial that other constituents (faculty, staff, parents, alumni) are trained, encouraged and motivated to help students in a variety of ways – as advisors, connectors, influencers, and mentors.
2. Align your office’s vision with the university’s educational mission.
By aligning the career development department’s mission with the educational mission of the university, the more you will be seen as a strategic resource. Communicate this mission widely, especially to faculty.

3. Secure top administration support.
Build consensus with those in the administration who can support your office initiatives. Start with the president and vice presidents. They need to understand that your students expect the university to help them successfully navigate the college-to-career path. If you don’t, these soon-to-be-alumni won’t be very interested in staying connected with the school in the future.

4. Develop faculty partners-one person at a time.
Meet with faculty who care deeply about their students. They likely care about their personal and career development as well. Identify ways to work together and offer resources and programs to help their students. Over time, you’ll develop new ways to work together – all in the interest of your students.

5. Spend your time effectively.
Most career center leaders focus on spending time with their staff, with students and with employers. To take a career center to the next level, the leader must develop (or hire) a team of managers who can run the daily operations. Then, the leader must build cross-campus relationships so that the community participates in the process. Finally, the leader must devote time to securing additional resources. At Wake Forest, I spend about ⅓ of my time on friend- and fund-raising activities.

I am very thankful to Intern Bridge for the opportunity to speak to the vision of what can be possible for many colleges and universities. If you are a career services professional who would like to learn more, I encourage you to review my keynote address or consider attending our conference on Rethinking Success: From the Liberal Arts to Careers in the 21st Century this April.

*If you have difficulty opening the keynote address, please contact Robert Shindell at robert@nullinternbridge.com.

Spring Job and Internship Fair

Last week, the OPCD hosted our annual Spring Job and Internship Fair, giving our students an opportunity to talk with representatives from over 35 companies in various industries including Finance, Sales, Marketing and Communication, Computer Science, and Education. For a full list of the represented companies please click here.

Part of our commitment to our students is making sure that they feel prepared and confident when attending these types of events. Leading up to the fair, our office provided extended resume review hours, workshops on how to make the most of the job and internship fair, and one on one counseling appointments.  The efforts of our students paid off, as evident in the remarks by some of the representatives on campus:

“Very impressed to see so many students, especially first year students”- Deloitte Representative

“A WF Alumna is doing extremely well at our company. This year’s career fair went well and I hope to return to future fairs”- Abercrombie & Fitch Representative

Company representatives and students alike were also very impressed with a new addition to this year’s Job and Internship Fair- a LinkedIn Photo Booth.

With the growing interest and use of LinkedIn, the OPCD wanted to give students the opportunity to have great quality, professional LinkedIn profile photos.  During the fair OPCD staff set up a camera and backdrop and took over 350 student headshots. The photo booth was so impressive that company representatives even came over to get their profile photos taken!  We are excited to continue to offer new and helpful opportunities to our students and look forward to seeing their photos on LinkedIn.

Young Alumni Get LinkedIn

Earlier this week, OPCD Career Counselor Lauren Beam met with twenty young Wake Forest alums to discuss the importance of LinkedIn and networking. Here are some key takeaways from Lauren’s presentation that I think are beneficial for professionals of every age:

  • Over 70% of jobs are secured because of networking/connections, not through job postings or advertisements.  So don’t focus all your time applying to online job postings.
  • 89% of recruiters say they are checking LinkedIn during the hiring process, which makes having a positive online presence (especially LinkedIn!) an essential step of your job search.
  • LinkedIn is a useful tool for young alums to:
    • Search and apply for jobs (Many companies now pay to post jobs via LinkedIn).
    • Join groups (College alumni-related, location-specific, industry-specific) to find potential contacts.  These groups also post many sector- or affinity-specific opportunities.
    • Research organizations of interest.  You can learn a lot about the people who work there and find potential connections.
    • Create a strong online personal brand.
  • LinkedIn and networking isn’t about asking for a job – it’s about connecting with and learning from people who work at jobs or companies that are of interest to you.  The point is to put yourself out there as someone who is actively seeking career information and advice, and who is professional in their interactions with others. It’s not about expecting your contacts to hand you a job.

Use LinkedIn to supplement your other networking opportunities, to stay in touch and follow-up with key contacts, and to take advantage of the affinity you share with other Wake Forest alumni. The WF family is Pro Humanitate – of service to one another!

Career and Life Vision with the Fellows

This week, I spoke to the Wake Forest Fellows on the subject of Career and Life Vision.  For those of you that are unfamiliar, the Wake Forest Fellows Program was established by President Hatch’s Office in 2008 to provide recent graduates the opportunity to work in higher administration in a year-long post-graduate internship. In addition to the assignment in a particular administrative department of the university, each Fellow has opportunities to interact with and be mentored by key administrators and faculty; to learn about various administrative areas of the university; and to participate in a series of leadership lunches and enrichment activities with leaders at Wake Forest and in the larger Winston-Salem community.

I was honored to speak to this group of bright and determined Wake Forest graduates. I wanted to emphasize the challenge and importance of thinking about and articulating one’s personal career and life vision which I define as “the ability to see life and work in a way that is inspiring, fulfilling and meaningful AND in alignment with who you are.”

I assured them that very few people are able to articulate their vision in their mid-20’s. In fact, it took me until I was forty before I could clearly articulate my own career and life vision. However, in beginning to understand their unique purpose, strengths, values and interests at an early age, these young alumni will be far more prepared to discover what really matters most and seek and acquire future opportunities that will help develop and define their career and life vision.

I applaud the Office of the President for its commitment to the Wake Forest Fellows program. These graduates offer a fresh, inspiring perspective. We are thankful for they have added substantial value to the Wake Forest community.

It’s National Mentoring Month

President Barack Obama has declared January 2012 National Mentoring Month, and calls upon “public officials, business and community leaders, educators, and Americans across the country to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.”

Here at Wake Forest University, our Mentoring Resource Center, led by Dr. Allison McWilliams, has developed a Mentor Toolkit, which contains tips and tools for developing effective relationships, leading discussions about mentoring, asking key questions, and providing feedback.

If you have a mentor who has made a difference in your life, please take the time to send them a note of thanks this month. I encourage you to visit our website for information on the Mentoring Resource Center and to learn more about this important month for both mentors and mentees!

College-to-Career Courses

When I first arrived at Wake Forest, I envisioned a set of career courses that would help students answer: “Who am I?”, “Where am I going?” and “How do I get there?”

Two years later, my vision is now a reality. Thanks to the outstanding collaboration between the Wake Forest academic department of Counseling (CNS) and Office of Personal and Career Development, we now offer students the College-to-Career course series designed to help answer these questions. In CNS 120: Personal Framework for Career Exploration, students experience activities that help them understand their personal strengths, interests, and beliefs, which develops their ability to make sound decisions. Taught by Wake Forest Masters of Counseling graduate and professor Heidi Robinson, this course asks students to consider their values and the influences that have helped them attain their current goals. Furthermore, they explore and understand the majors that are offered at WFU and how majors relate to career options.

In CNS 220: Options in the World of Work, students begin the crucial task of understanding the range of careers available and considering which careers will best align with their interests, needs and aspirations. Students conduct a series of informational interviews with professionals, begin to build a professional network and explore the range of careers and career paths.

Two more courses, CNS 320: The Strategic Job Search and CNS 360: Professional and Life Skills, are in development and will be introduced next fall.

I am so excited and enthusiastic about these courses that I know will make a significant impact on a student’s personal and career development experience here at Wake Forest. I encourage you to read a little more about the courses and hear what our students learned in our first CNS 120 class here.