Created by: Mikki Hornstein, 2012-2013 Career Advising Fellow
A few weeks ago Dawn Morgan, Associate Director of Residence Life, invited Katie and I to participate in the NEXTGEN NC conference as speakers on a panel of student affairs professionals. NEXTGEN NC is a conference targeted toward undergraduates who are interested in careers in the field of student affairs. It is hosted by NCCPA, which is the North Carolina state division of ACPA. Though Katie was out of town, I was able to participate on Sunday, October 14 as a panelist with other student affairs professionals.
This was my first time presenting at a conference and I don’t love public speaking so I was feeling nervous. However, because I was talking directly about my personal experiences, I found that once I started talking, I felt more comfortable – especially since I knew that what I was saying was helping a group of students make informed decisions about their career paths. The panel consisted of myself and four other women. The women worked in different functional areas within student affairs. Each panel member addressed the students about her educational background, what motivated her to pursue a career in student affairs, some of the challenges of working in the field, and overall words of advice.
Not only did I graduate college without a clear idea of what career path I wanted to pursue, I also had no clue what student affairs was when I was an undergraduate. To see undergraduate students who have already connected with the field of student affairs and are actively learning more about it from current professionals was a great experience for me, especially since I work in student professional development. I am always advising students to conduct informational interviews, and the students who were in attendance at the NEXTGEN NC conference got a chance to hear from five student affairs professionals – five informational interviews in one!
Thanks to Dawn who helped coordinate the conference, I had a great time and I’ll definitely look into presenting at future conferences.