Created by: Katie Smith, 2012-2013 Career Advising Fellow
On October 26th, Mikki and I had the opportunity to join several of our colleagues at the annual North Carolina Career Development Association (NCCDA) Conference held this year at High Point University. NCCDA is a branch of the North Carolina Counseling Association (NCCA) and is a professional association for career counselors in North Carolina and surrounding areas. Our supervisor Ross Wade is the current President-Elect and Conference Chair of NCCDA and his hard work in organizing and coordinating the conference was critical to its success. He did a wonderful job.
Dr. Patrick Akos, Professor of School Counseling at UNC Chapel Hill, was the conference’s keynote speaker. Akos kicked off the day by presenting a variety of approaches to career counseling, having us practice several techniques along the way. During his workshop, I met a career counselor from another institution as we shared our life-career stories in narrative form, titled “Amazed and Confused: Everything Sounds Good” (mine) and “The Trained Teacher Who Doesn’t Want to Teach,” (hers). Surrounded by others who value careers as an integral part of life, discussion was lively and enthusiastic. Akos summed up the values that many of us shared as he stated “the key to happiness, is determining what you do, who you do it with, and where you do it.”
The keynote speech was followed by a panel on career paths in career counseling (a meta-career counseling session?), a lunch/business meeting, and an afternoon session of our choice. Here, I had the opportunity to see Darris Means from Elon University’s Elon Academy present on diversity issues within higher education and strategies for supporting the career development of underrepresented college students. The day ended with a presentation from Rebecca Cooper, a representative from a North Carolina nonprofit career exploration organization, Futures for Kids.
Overall, the NCCDA Conference offered a day of learning, networking, and reflection. Throughout the conference I was able to connect with independent career counselors, current graduate students, and professionals from local institutions such as High Point University, Guilford College, and Virginia Tech while sharing my own experience as a Career Fellow at Elon. I look forward to continuing to build these relationships and becoming more involved in NCCDA.