By Marianne Brigola, Career Counseling Fellow 2011-2012
One of my favorite things about this career is professional development. I know it’s nerdy, but sometimes I truly miss graduate school. I miss reading interesting articles, discussing new ideas and interventions, learning about new things… reading articles on my own is not quite the same. That’s why I was so excited when I learned that Ashley and I had to opportunity to attend a conference of our choice this semester! So this past Friday, I found myself at UNC-Wilmington for the North Carolina College Personnel Association‘s Fall Conference: On the Road, ACPA2U.
It was great to network with student affairs professionals from so many different schools. I met people from High Point University, Mount Olive College, NC State, and many other universities throughout the state. Some were just starting out in their student affairs careers, others have had several years of experience. It was great learning about their transitions into their new roles at their institutions and hear about some of the exciting programming they’re doing.
I attended a session led by Diane Reed and Sarah Clark, two of the career counselors at UNCW’s Career Center. They spoke of an innovative and exciting multicultural career mentoring program they facilitated for three years, matching students with mentors in the Wilmington community who were working in the industries and fields they were interested in. Diana and Sarah spoke of how they set up the program, the matching process, providing training for mentors and mentee and what things worked and didn’t work with the program. I was impressed with the program’s emphasis on collaborating with the greater Wilmington community, not just at the institutional level.
Other themes of sessions throughout the day including student affairs collaboration with faculty, multicultural issues of microaggression and students’ perceptions of racial relationships on their campus, and concerns and issues of new professionals. It was a great balance of providing programming for multiple student affairs departments as well as including sessions for personal professional development. One of the things that I always struggle with at conferences is choosing which concurrent sessions to go to! I could have attended every session and been very happy.
The NCCPA fall conference was a great warm up for the NCCDA fall conference, which will be held here at Elon University on Friday, November 18th. It’s not too late yet to register, and I highly encourage anyone interested in career development to attend if they can! Ashley and I will be presenting at the conference as well, which I’m very excited for!