International Students in the United States: What Every Higher Education Professional Should Know

by Iyad Uakoub

Iyad Uakoub and his students

As a higher education and career services professional, coming from an international background, I have always related to issues on diversity and social justice on a professional and personal level. After finishing my master’s at Purdue University—#1 in the United States for international students majoring in STEM—and working with thousands of international students and scholars at International Center, Purdue University and Stanford University, it became apparent to me that the challenges international students face have roots in systematic social inequity.  In this blog, I will be taking a look at the issue of social justice for international students in the United States and the role of student services professionals in promoting equity within this community.

Why International Students?

More than a million international students are currently studying in the United States, a 9 percent increase over 2014. Enrollment trends show all time high with 4.8 percent of total student enrollment in 2015. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and business majors attract most international students. Students from China, India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia represent 58 percent of the total enrollment of international students in the United States.


In 2014-15 alone, international students contributed $30.5 billion dollars to the U.S economy and supported 373,381 jobs. NASFA reported, for every 7seven international students enrolled, three U.S. jobs are created or supported by spending occurring in the following sectors: higher education, accommodation, dining, retail, transportation, telecommunications, and health insurance. Although one could argue that international students receive U.S. money to fund their educations, IIE’s Open Door reports that only 21 percent of funding comes though U.S. scholarships, assistantships, or fellowships. The majority of funding comes through personal, family, foreign government, or international organizations.


Although the number of international students in the United States is increasing, the bigger picture tells a different story. According to OECD, international students comprise of 4 percent only of total enrollment in the United States when compared to countries like the UK (18 percent) and Australia (19 percent).

Economic values and opportunities are not the most important thing international students bring to the United States: They bring global perspectives and innovative approaches along with diversity and cultural exposure. No wonder these students are actively sought after by American universities. However, they face four major challenges during their college career:

  1. Job market: International students struggle during and after earning their degrees to find major-related internships and jobs. Most of them are funded by their families. They are pressured to secure employment in the United States to compensate for the investment in education and to gain social capital upon their return to their home countries.
  2. New academic environment: New topics, professors, and teaching methods— these are challenges that apply to all students, domestic and international, and they exert a higher effect on those who have never experienced the U.S. educational system.
  3. Different country: International students are challenged to adapt to barriers that naturally arise in a new country, such as culture, weather, food, and language. The latter in particular discourages the brightest international students from active class and team participation as they expect negative social outcomes and they fall into evaluation apprehension social stigma.
  4. Neo-racism: In her research, Professor Jennie J. Lee of the University of Arizona, shows that international students from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East struggle with covert and overt forms of neo-racism. They deal with peer, faculty, administrators’, and employers’ stereotypes and negative assumptions and are subject to inappropriate remarks on accents, discrimination and verbal insults, or even physical assaults.

Unfortunately, the majority of neo-racism-related events against international students are not reported. I argue that this is because international students either don’t know whom to talk to, or they don’t believe reporting on discrimination incidents is actually worth the trouble. Lee argues that awareness and trust are lacking between international students and student affairs professionals.

There is an absence sense of urgency when it comes to empowering international students in higher education. It is in the heart of our job to go beyond advising and programming, we must to step up and take action to stop these moral and social crises. Consequently, I recommend three integrated solutions:

  • First, painting international students with the same social brush and one-size-fits-all strategy is something we have to be cognizant of. If we are to tailor our services to international students’ microcommunities, we must be mindful of how that will impact their college careers.
  • Second, Student Services should fully embrace their role of not only being the primary resource of international students’ co-curricular opportunities, but also be active promoters of the benefits of these opportunities throughout students’ college journey.
  • Last, international students’ programs shouldn’t be a stand-alone department or a center; rather, it should be a university-wide ecosystem, where faculty, staff, and students are actively engaged in cross-cultural communications initiatives that create a welcoming and responsive environment to the needs of the international students.

Since higher education is going through transformational change, I see our strategic role within this change is to embark upon a new path of boosting engagement and building collaborative communities so our students can flourish, thrive and succeed.

Where to start? Here are some related resources:

  1. Wall Street Journal – History of International Students in America
  2. Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
  3. The Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)
  4. The Institute of International Education (IIE)
  5. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
  6. Power Ties: The International Student’s Guide to Finding a Job in the United States
  7. International Student Experiences of Neo-Racism and Discrimination

iyad uakoub
Iyad Uakoub, M.S., B.Eng., Manager of Branding & Digital Communities/User Experience, BEAM, Stanford Career Education, Stanford University
Twitter: @iyadsy

Understanding Future Work Force Trends and Addressing Professional Development Opportunities

by Dorothy Hayden

Our field and the way that we do our jobs 10 years from now will be different from the way we do them today. Last November, I attended a talk by Phil Gardner on recruiting trends. During the talk, Gardner focused on some of the new challenges that employers and career services must address. He notes that employers are less likely to act in an uncertain environment.

Before entering into the information age, employers met potential employees during career fairs and this was likely their only point of contact. Today the search for talent is 24/7 with the advent of ATS, advanced analytics, and social media. For career services, we’ve gone from being the principal provider of information to connectors and consultants (Gardner, 2015). The disruption of innovation is one challenge, but another challenge we must anticipate is the staggering number of retirements that will take place in the next decade by Baby Boomers. Gardner cites a 2010 Pew Research Study saying that about 10,000 Baby Boomers a day will retire. It’s not clear how many Baby Boomers work in career services, but what is clear is that Generation X and Millennials will need to fill the gap in talent. In 2025, the percentage of those born after 1980 will make up around 75 percent of the work force according to Gardner (Gardner, 2015).

You may think that this number seems unreal, but Millennials recently (Quarter 1 of 2015) passed Generation X has the largest population in the workforce (Pew, 2015). With the generational shift, we will need to be adaptive and perceptive to changes in the way that we do our work.

As a millennial, I have been reading about this upcoming generational shift since I was in graduate school. However, I have been challenged to understand how I take the next step in my leadership development. Earlier this month I attended the NACE Management Leadership Institute (MLI) with 65 other career services professionals from around the country. This training challenged my thinking about how I view leadership and it also gave me a bit of a road map for how I can best continue to develop as a leader. Through the MLI, I learned more about the Five Practices for Exemplary Leadership Model developed by Kouzes and Posner in the early 1980s. With this particular leadership model, Posner and Kouzes discuss how we all are leaders but that there are five key leadership practices that exemplary leaders regularly practice in their work. The Five Exemplary Practices are:

  1. Model the way
  2. Inspire a shared vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart

During MLI, we received the results of a 360 evaluation on each of these areas. We were told during the training that the average age that an adult receives a formal leadership training is 42. Many larger for-profit organizations, are now adding formal leadership training in the first one- to three-years for their recent college hires. It’s highly unlikely that every office that hires new professionals will be able to provide a structured leadership training for their new professionals. I also know that not every institution has the resources to send their mid-level professionals to attend a formal training like MLI. What can we do? How can we help our profession’s new professionals gain competency and increase their capacities as leaders? I don’t believe that there is a simple solution. I also don’t believe that millennials are the only generation that needs to work on leadership development. We all can gain from improving one or more of the five exemplary leadership practices.

I would like to share some ideas (with minimal costs) that we can use to maximize our leadership potential.

  • Identify your personal mission, vision, and values. When we do assessment in our offices, we frequently go back to our office mission and vision statements. The practice of going through and identifying your career mission, vision, and values statements can help you to begin the process of identifying areas of success and growth.
  • Learn more about the Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders: YouTube has a number of videos by Kouzes and Posner on the Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders. I’ve listed a few of the videos that I have enjoyed below, but I would also encourage you to watch videos that focus on different leadership models, ideas, and styles.
  • Be a mentor/mentee. Seek out people who can teach and advise you in your areas of growth. The surprising thing to me about being a mentee is that there is also an opportunity to be a mentor. NACE offers a Mentor Program, but you can also find mentors within your region, state, or school.
  • Develop a professional development plan. A professional development plan can be as simple or complex as you need it to be. The professional development differs from something like the set of annual performance goals that you do, in that no one else but you is evaluating your success. Items you may want to include: Your current vision, mission, and values plus a set of short-term (one to three months) and long-term (six to 18 months) goals that you hope to accomplish. You can also include smaller goals and check points to keep you accountable.
  • Engage on social media. Do you tweet? Do you use LinkedIn? Do you blog? Encourage the new professionals around you to engage with other career services professionals through social media. One of the Exemplary Leadership Practices is, Inspire a Shared Vision. In order to inspire others, we need more people to contribute to the conversation about the present and future in our field.

I know that this is not a complete list. My goal is to share some information about the shift of generations, encourage you to think about your own leadership development, and consider ways to foster leadership potential within your own organization. Please share your ideas for professional development here and feel free to share your ideas on Twitter as well.

Dorothy HaydenDorothy Hayden, Assistant Director, Office of Career Services, Virginia Military Institute
Twitter: @dorothyhayden


Gardner, Phil. “Recruiting Trends 2015-16” Michigan State University:

Fry, Richard. “Millennials surpass Gen Xers as the largest generation in U.S. labor force” April 2015.

Dorothy HaydenDorothy Hayden, Assistant Director, Office of Career Services, Virginia Military Institute
Twitter: @dorothyhayden



Career Research: How to Measure Career Success

by Desalina Guarise and James W. Kostenblatt

This is the first of several blog posts that will explore career-related research and feature interviews with those researchers. Let us know if you have individuals you would like to see featured.

As recipients of a NACE Research Grant, we will be kicking off a study this fall to explore the long-term impact unpaid internships have on career success (30 institutions are participating and we are looking for more partners to join; contact us if interested!) As a part of this project, we began exploring how to define  and measure career success—a complicated and somewhat nebulous concept. Luckily, we came across a research study recently published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior, “Development of a New Scale to Measure Subjective Career Success: A Mixed-Methods Study” 37.1 (2015): 128-53, where Dr. Kristen Shockley and her colleagues did the heavy lifting for us. We will be using both objective measure of success (i.e. salary) and the subjective measures Dr. Shockley developed in our study.

In an interview, Dr. Shockley shared details about her research and the release of the “Subjective Career Success Inventory”—a 24-item questionnaire and validated measure of career success that resulted from the study.

Tell us about your professional background. How did you come to focus on career-related research?
I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia and my Ph.D. in Industrial organizational psychology from the University of South Florida. From beginning of my doctoral program I was interested in how people manage work and family and how to have a fulfilling work life and personal life at the same time.

In the article, you mention that measures of career success have evolved over time, shifting from objective measures to subjective measures. Tell us more about this evolution.
Years ago, you started at one company, paid your dues, and retired from that company. Now people have something like seven jobs over the course of their career.  With this shift people’s values have also changed. When we interviewed people for the study, they spoke about how important it is to having a meaningful personal life outside of their career as well as clear work/life boundaries. They also want to feel like their work is meaningful. When we looked at the existing career research, they used to measure career success very objectively—you are successful if you make a lot of money. The previous subjective measures were just about satisfaction. That’s where this career success model—the subjective model—came from; it takes into account these newer values. 

Tell us about your development of the Subjective Career Success Inventory?
We began by conducting interviews and focus groups with people from all different types of careers. We then transcribed all of the interviews, coded them, and came up with themes. Finally we focused on testing the scale for validity and reliability. The research took seven years from start to finish and we ended up with a 24-item questionnaire broken out into eight dimensions or categories that were important to these professionals when assessing their own career success: recognition, quality work, meaningful work, influence, authenticity, personal life, growth and development, and satisfaction.  

What implications do you think this has for practitioners like ourselves in career services?
Practitioners already know that it’s a daunting task for students to pick a field to go into. It’s important to have some sense of what you value and how likely it is that those values will map onto careers you are considering. This research further supports the importance of students reflecting on their values and thinking beyond objective measures of career success when decision-making. 

What are you working on now with your research?
Right now I’m trying to establish an inventory for the family-friendliness of different career paths using data from O*Net.  Hopefully this will help students and professionals make decisions about which career path may be right for them.

If you’d like to participate in research exploring the long-term impact unpaid internships have on career success , contact Alina Guarise or James Kostenblatt.

Alina GuariseDesalina (Alina) Guarise, Associate Director of Career Advancement Center at Lake Forest College




James W. Kostenblatt

James, W. Kostenblatt, Associate Director, New York University’s Wasserman Center for Career Development

Career Services Programs that Engage Employers

Irene Hillman

Irene Hillman, Manager of Career Development, College of Business, Decosimo Success Center, The University of Tennessee Chattanooga

College career fairs can feel like a blur. Hundreds of college students—many of them prepared, but just as many of them unprepared— shuffle in and wander from table to table giving employers their pitch. Employers return the favor and point these young professionals to their websites to apply for positions. It’s a way to build visibility on both sides—company and candidate—but creating a meaningful connection simply isn’t in the cards.

So, how can colleges support the authentic engagement needed for their students to build relationships that will help them launch careers and their employers to gain in-depth access to a targeted and valuable candidate group? Here are some methods being used by the College of Business at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to provide some inspiration.

Take the Freshmen Employer Tour

The Company Tour Program was developed specifically for entering freshmen to help tie them into both the UTC and business community very early on in their college careers. The college develops a schedule of bi-weekly tours for approximately 20 students (lasting one to two hours) into the facilities of the area’s top employers and these students gain access to companies to learn more about the area’s economy, explore potential employers, and network with Chattanooga’s business community in a very familiar and engaging fashion. This encourages students to think about how their degrees can be leveraged and their academic learning can be applied following graduation, motivating them to be better students who are engaged in networking within professional circles of the city.

Invite Employers to Lunch

Through Bridge Luncheons, the College of Business invites businesses seeking a way in which to connect with current students, pending graduates, or alumni to sponsor a business meal. This series brings business students and local or regional organizations together in an intimate setting over a served lunch where candid and interactive dialogue can occur. Typically this is used by companies as a recruiting venue for open positions. Such events are an effective means for companies to spend quality time with multiple candidates at once and serves, in many cases, as a first and simple step in the vetting process. Bridge Luncheons are by invitation only based on the criteria set by the sponsoring companies and students receive e-mails requesting an RSVP if they care to attend. It is also an ideal place to practice business meal etiquette.

Jennifer Johnson, UTC accounting student (Class of 2015), says “The luncheons have given me an opportunity to connect with local businesses and to build relationships with their owners and employees before joining the work force.”

She adds, “I am very thankful that UTC has provided me with the opportunity to participate in these luncheons because they have helped ease my apprehension interacting with potential employers and colleagues.”

As an additional perk beyond assisting students transition from students to professionals, colleges can consider such luncheons as a minor revenue stream since a reasonable flat rate can be charged to companies and remaining funds (after catering and room costs are covered) would be retained to support other career services activities and events.

Pair Students With Professionals

The Business Mentor Program is available to sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate students. Experienced professionals support students who are paired in a mentoring relationship based on common professional interests in order to guide students toward best practices for career success. Valued employers are encouraged to nominate a seasoned professional to the Business Mentor Program. The program provides a great opportunity for professionals to counsel and influence the next generation of business leaders and increase the work force readiness of future recruits. Undergraduates may even engage in the program for academic credit (one credit). The course integrates academic learning with business world application and experiences. Students meet in class for one month to prepare for the mentoring relationship and then pair with mentors for the remaining weeks of the semester.

Use Feedback From the Professionals

The semiannual Resume Week and Mock Interview Week events are another way to help recruiters and students engage in effective networking and develop significant dialogue. During Resume Week, the college seeks out a few dozen professionals (hiring managers or recruiters) whose careers align with the College of Business academic programs and invites them to participate in the event. Students visit the centrally located student lounge with their resumes to give managers and recruiters from participating companies a chance provide their professional opinions through a 15-minute resume review while networking one-on-one with these high-impact business people.

Bios of the volunteers are provided to students so they can plan who they want to meet. We encourage students to dress professionally and bring a business card to make a great first impression on our visitors.

Abdul Hanan Sheikh, UTC human resource management student (Class of 2015),  summarizes the impact that the Resume Review event has had on his career launch: “By attending this event, I received remarkable feedback, which helped me make adjustments to my resume. This event helped me get more engaged in networking effectively. It was a great opportunity for me to make connections with business professionals from around Chattanooga. Furthermore, I believe these events helped me land my first internship last fall and then my summer internship as well, and those positions gave me the experience I needed in HR to feel confident about finding a great job after graduation. So now I have a strong resume and solid experience.”

A month following Resume Week, the college holds a similarly arranged series of events for Mock Interview Week. Not only do students walk away with invaluable advice on developing a robust resume and interviewing successfully, but they get a chance to ask questions about launching their careers to people with realistic answers. And the hope is, as a result, a connection is made and networking flourishes between the student and the professionals with whom they have met.

Engaging with employers need not be an awkward or hurried venture that happens once a semester. When students are provided multiple opportunities for directed networking, relationships can unfold in an enriching manner for our students and our employers!



The Differences Between Working in Higher Education and Corporate America

kelly d. scottKelly Scott, Campus Recruiter at Liberty Mutual Insurance

I never thought I would do anything other than work in higher education. With a background in educational counseling psychology and a job as a career counselor and assistant director within a career center at a Boston-area university, I had no need to look for a life outside the ivy-covered walls. But then an intriguing opportunity presented itself and I made the leap to corporate America. And I now find myself as a de facto spokesperson for corporate America among my higher education friends and colleagues. The information that most piques their interest is: “What are the differences between working there and here?” And I always tell them, while there are differences, the two worlds aren’t as far apart as you might think.

It’s a different kind of fast paced.

I thought there was only one kind of fast paced, but I was wrong. As an assistant director at a career center, I had a lot to do. There were student appointments, large- and small-scale events to plan and facilitate, workshops, class presentations, semester planning, and ad hoc projects. As a recruiter, it is also fast paced with numerous projects to complete, yearly planning, interviews, and regular meetings with various stakeholders across the organization.

So, what’s the difference then? The difference are the deadlines. I can’t speak for all universities because I’m drawing from personal experience, but overall, I had a lot of autonomy when it came to deadlines. “When do you think you could have that done?” was a question I was frequently fielding as a career counselor. Additionally, it was acceptable to spend a semester or two hammering out a new program or idea and generally the only people you were answering to were those in your department and the students.

Deadlines in corporate America are much less fluid. Many of the decisions and projects that I’m working on directly affect a team in a completely different department or business unit. As a result, deadlines are determined by a group and driven by quarterly business needs and recruiting cycle timelines. This creates a different sense of urgency than what I experienced in the higher education sector. Not better or worse, just different.

The private sector is more formal.

This shouldn’t be a shocker: it’s more formal. Working with college students makes for a much more casual environment than working with business leaders in a Fortune 100 company. The casual nature lends itself to forming deep personal connections with co-workers and, in my opinion, is one of its most appealing attributes of working in at a college or university. It wasn’t uncommon to share personal successes and even heartaches and frustrations with your direct co-workers or even your supervisor. Mind you, you’ve got a bunch of counselors sharing feelings, so it’s probably not that unusual, but when you’re in the mix of it, you don’t realize what was going on until you leave.

There’s not so much sharing in the corporate world. While there is a huge emphasis on respect, integrity and development—and my colleagues are incredibly supportive and caring—the mushy-gushy feeling of my last department is gone. I have a few co-workers that I am thankful to have developed very close friendships with over the last year, but corporate culture doesn’t support oversharing the way education does. Again, neither one is better or worse than the other, but there are recognizable differences.

People move around a lot more in corporate.

My personal experience in higher education is that a lot of people stay put or climb the ladder within their particular function or department. My former boss had been at the university for more than 15 years—almost entirely as a career counselor with notable promotions within her department. Her boss was there just as long and on the same path. Many of my co-workers were self-proclaimed “lifers” and stayed within the academic counseling field in some capacity. You get to know your co-workers really well and they have in-depth knowledge about the organization and the department history.

Corporate works a little differently. Since I started a year ago, multiple people have moved to completely different business units and taken on very different roles. My company puts an emphasis on professional development and growth, so it isn’t surprising that there is a lot of movement. In fact, people are encouraged to explore new opportunities that will challenge their professional growth within the organization. The drawback is that people move around a lot and it seems as though as soon as I think I am getting to know somebody, they get promoted or move on to another part of the organization. Definitely all great things, but it is a stark contrast to what I saw working in higher education.

Both the corporate and higher education cultures have their pros and cons and I think it really all comes down to what you value in work and in your career. There are certainly things I miss about higher education (holiday break) and other things I certainly do not miss (freshman orientation). That said, work values and skills change and develop as we grow professionally. Who knows what the next 10 years will bring, but for those of you wondering, corporate is not as scary as you think and has almost as much free food as you get in higher education.

We Are All Career Services

Michelle Bata

Michelle Bata, Associate Dean and Director of the LEEP Center, Clark University


This is my first post for the NACE blog, and I’m going to use this opportunity to share a secret: I’m not in career services. I’m not even in recruiting or career counseling or talent management or any of those areas to which most NACE members belong. Rather, I’m in academic affairs and oversee a center that houses several different offices, one of which is career services.

So why am I here?

To show that one doesn’t have to be in career services to help students identify, work toward, and achieve their professional goals. In fact, career services professionals should be but just a few nodes in a student’s emerging professional network, and it is all of our responsibilities – administrators, faculty, and staff alike – to ensure that our students are prepared for life beyond college.

So how do you get others to recognize that they, too, share this responsibility?

  1. Educate the university community – particularly faculty and staff – on policy, procedure, and resources. Tell them about your online job posting board. Inform them of recruiting practices. Make sure they know about legal issues in letter writing. And do all of this in a way that makes this information relevant to them.  You need to be audience-centric instead of career services-centric.
  2. Recruit key allies from among administration, faculty, and students. Your allies might be deans, faculty chairs, or student leaders, but they’re the ones who take an interest in what you do and care deeply about your students. Take them to lunch, keep them updated, befriend them, and you’ll find you not only have allies, but missionaries.
  3. Make your work visible. Ask if you can present at a forum, assembly, or faculty meeting. Go to staff meetings. Organize your own presentation. In addition to sending out a general invitation, specifically invite key people.  And, make sure to send your presentation around afterwards. Taking initiative to make your work public will create a sense of transparency and accessibility.
  4. Leverage existing relationships from around the university. Are you regularly talking to your alumni office, your community engagement office, your pre-health advisers, or your entrepreneurship instructors? Career services is not the only office on campus with connections to potential employers.  Find out who else has resources and pow-wow to figure out how you can better share them.
  5. Share results and data. Data such as first destination results, internship, and recruiting information is fine – that bird’s-eye view is for your supervisor, senior leadership, and marketing.  But building relationships around the university is going to require that you make your data relevant to your audience.  Consider crafting audience-specific results: pull together outcomes for certain majors or student groups, and include information like employing organizations and job titles.
  6. Follow up.  Let people know how their efforts and connections panned out.  It can be a full-time job, but following up and deeper communication can pay off in dividends.

Through careful communication, relationship building, and education, you will find that what you are really doing is cultivating partnerships and creating a culture of professional awareness and development around campus. And in doing so, you’ll be sending the message that we are all career services.


Meet the 2016-17 NACE Board of Directors

Kathleen PowellKathleen I. Powell, NACE President; Associate Vice President for Career Development at William & Mary University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? When I started in the profession, many years ago, I was told you get out of an organization what you put in to it.  So, very early in my career, I pursued opportunities to serve on committees, chair and co-chair, eventually serving on the board at different times in my career.  It was a natural way to be of service to an organization that has a national voice in our profession.
What led you to your career path? This is a funny one. I went to college to be a nurse. Truth of the matter, I really don’t like being around sick people and organic chemistry, carbon bonds, and my interests were not a good fit.  I tried five majors and it was my time as a resident assistant that the director of residence life sat me down and told me about higher education careers. The rest is history!  (P.S.  For all the nurses and chemistry majors out there, thank you!)
What was your very first job?  My very first job was working at a convenience store in high school!  My best friend’s mom managed the store and it was quite the job. Then, during college, in the summers, I worked in an amusement park as a ride hostess—what a blast!  After college, I went to graduate school and landed my first job in career services and NEVER looked back!
Something personal: I enjoy basket weaving and biking. I biked across Iowa and Ohio and that was amazing.  I love to eat and cook and we have two dogs that I adore.  Cooper is a chocolate lab and Tucker is an English black lab.  I enjoy spending time with my husband and children, and life in general!

glen fowlerGlen Fowler, NACE President-Elect; Recruiting & Training Manager at California State Auditor

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I sought increased engagement with the NACE community because it inspires and recharges me!  Through NACE I am able to learn from my peers, and contribute to the profession.  I appreciate NACE’s emphasis on member resources, providing a forum to discuss industry challenges and opportunities, and leading initiatives like the 21st Century Career Services Model and Professional Standards for University Relations & Recruiting—but, and most importantly, I appreciate the opportunity NACE provides me to network and have fun with my peers.
What led you to your career path? My path to recruiting was not intentional.  After completing my master’s degree, I joined the California State Auditor’s office as a performance auditor.  I audited for a number of years, and then joined the executive team where I conducted legislative bill and audit analyses, among other responsibilities.  After several years, the Auditor General offered me the office’s recruiter role.  A year later he asked me to rejoin the executive team.  He sensed my reluctance, and recognized that I’d found a passion for recruiting.  I’d discovered how rewarding it was to find talented folks and support them in their success with our organization.
What was your very first job? My first job was at a golf course where I washed golf carts and picked up range balls.  Keep in mind that in those days, golfers would continue to hit range balls while I was out picking them up.  Occasionally I’d hear one fly past my head—really, I’m not kidding!  Thank goodness for today’s child protection laws.
Something personal: I’m the proud owner of two misbehaving dogs named Molly and Leo.  For instance, we often find our outdoor chair cushions strewn about the back lawn. Just when I’m going to discipline my furry friends for their naughty behavior, they pounce on me and lick me—and all the while their tales are wagging!  Molly’s and Leo’s “wonderful way” keeps everything in perspective for me.

dawn carterDawn Carter, NACE Past-President; Director, Early Careers at Intuit

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? After pursing leadership avenues through the regional associations, I wanted to continue to expand my experience and volunteer leadership voice at a national level.  Through my time in various NACE leadership roles I have had the opportunity to work on and with such amazing people in the field.  Many times I was provided opportunities to learn new things by jumping into a team, taskforce, or committee that was a new topic for me.
What led you to your career path? As I started my career in talent acquisition, I loved the part of my job of that helped folks find their role in the company in a way that tied their passion.  I fell into university recruiting by chance and immediately fell in love. Where else do you have a chance to help students launch their careers.
What was your very first job? My first job out of university was into Marriott’s leadership program. As I transitioned my career from the hospitality industry into human resources, I started as a HR coordinator role and then worked my way up into different roles in university programs and recruiting.
Something personal: Love to travel!  Enjoy traveling to somewhere new and learning about food, art, and cultural differences.

chris carlsonChristopher Carlson, NACE Vice President-Employer; Director of Talent Acquisition and Diversity at Tennessee Valley Authority

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I pursued leadership with NACE for a number of reasons with the foremost being that NACE is about innovation and service.  The opportunity to help serve with other innovators toward a mission that is critical to our nation’s success is what drives me.
What led you to your career path? An inspiring mentor and manager led me into my career path. She was a wonderful woman who taught me the importance of human in human resources.
What was your very first job? My first job was working the Haunted River at Kings Dominion just outside of Richmond, Virginia.  I still know the announcements if you want to hear them.
Something personal: I am an urban hiker.  Drop me in a major city and I can wander for hours.

norma Guerra gaierNorma Guerra Gaier, NACE Vice President-College; Director, Career Services, Texas State University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I was fortunate to have strong professional mentors who inspired and encouraged me to get involved early in my career. That’s all it took—once I served on a committee and met (via phone conferences) colleagues from across the country, I knew that I wanted to serve. Many of the colleagues I met over the years are now life-long friends who continue to inspire and challenge my thinking regarding our work. I am honored to serve our profession through my involvement with NACE, and my hope is that I can serve as a resource for others who seek to learn more about our work and get involved in the career services and university recruitment field.
What lead you to your career path? I have always had a passion for the art of communication, both verbal and written. As a college student, I spent countless hours in the career center creating and perfecting various cover letters and resumes for the different jobs that I interviewed for through the on-campus interviewing program. I found interviewing intriguing and spent much of my time studying the various types of interview styles and questions that I encountered. I got my first job through this process, but more importantly, just a year later, I got my start as a career services professional with the same career center I used as a student.
What was your very first job? As a recent college graduate, my first job was in retail. I was hired as the manager of a brand new sock shop called Something’s Afoot. I was able to help create store design, hire all staff, and create policies for operations and staffing.
Something personal: In my spare time, I enjoy exploring and traveling with my husband, Bill, and teenagers, Jacob and Abbie. We also love our four-legged family members, Roxy (pug), Bella (rat terrier/Chihuahua), and Kramer (Chihuahua).

o ray angleO. Ray Angle, NACE Director-College; Assistant Vice President for Career & Professional Development, Gonzaga University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? NACE has provided the profession with so much content and support over the years that I wanted the chance to give back by serving the NACE membership.
What led you to your career path? I worked in a college career center as an undergrad student and, by chance, discovered career services as a profession.
What was your very first job? I was a newspaper delivery boy starting when I was 11 years old.
Something personal: I’ve been in all 50 states, in 17 countries, and on five continents.

susan brennanSusan Brennan, NACE Director-College; Associate Vice President, University Career Services at Bentley University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I am a passionate career services leader and advocate and excited to share my ideas and energy with wonderful NACE colleagues. I am proud of the groundbreaking work happening in our profession and ready to broaden my perspective, to learn and grow personally and professionally, and to have fun and build new friendships in the process.
What led you to your career path? After graduate school, I worked as a human resources strategy consultant and found myself consistently gravitating toward higher education assignments and clients. Through many soul searching conversations with my personal career advisory board and mentors, I learned about an opportunity to transition to career services and have never looked back!
What was your very first job? After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, I wanted to find a way to combine my passions for education and service with my strengths in marketing and relationship building. Working with the Board of Trustees as a development assistant at the Boston Children’s Museum allowed me to learn the fundamentals of nonprofit management while feeling like I was making a difference in the lives of children and families.
Something personal: I have been married for 23 wonderful years to Mike, who is a lawyer by day and a chef by hobby, requiring me to wake up at 5 a.m. each morning to try to work off the previous evening’s delicious calories! The importance of our work hits home every day, as our son, Jake, just completed sophomore year at Tulane and is interning on Capitol Hill while our son, Dan, is wrapping up junior year of high school and is now embarking on his college search journey.

Christine CruzvergaraChristine Cruzvergara, NACE Director-College; Associate Provost and Executive Director for Career Education, Wellesley College

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? NACE is an organization that has given me a lot in my career. Over the years, I’ve made deep friendships, benchmarked with exceptional colleagues, and grown as a professional. It’s my desire to give back to my colleagues and to serve my profession.
What led you to your career path? I originally thought I’d be a family and marriage counselor but feared that I would get burnt out listening to people’s marital problems for 40 hours a week! My advisers in college encouraged me to think about a career in higher education as a way to use my helping skills in a different context. Along the way, great colleagues and mentors pushed me to realize my potential in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
What was your very first job? My first job was running new student orientation at George Washington University. My first part-time job (at 15) was a waitress in a retirement home.
Something personal: I love travel, tv, skiing, and eating, in no particular order! I especially love doing those things with my husband, Alex and my playful 3-year-old, Andreas.

caroline cunninghamCaroline Cunningham, NACE Director-Employer; Director, University Relations & Diversity Programs, GE Digital

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I have learned so much and made so many wonderful friends throughout my nine years of involvement with NACE that I really wanted to give back.  The future of URR and career services is so dynamic and exciting and I want to be a part of shaping NACE’s strategy to support that.
What led you to your career path? I fell into recruiting. I started out in HR thinking I wanted to be in employee relations and had a former boss suggest that I would be good at recruiting. After a few years on the experienced side, I had an opportunity to assist with university recruiting and found my true passion. I have never looked back.
What was your very first job? Outside of babysitting and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood, I worked as a summer day camp counselor at our local community center.  I had a group of 3- and 4-year-olds for three hours a day and had to keep them entertained with fun and enriching activities.  It was a ton of fun and definitely lead me to a life-long path of being linked to education and supporting future generations in their development.
Something personal: I never played team sports when I was growing up but have two daughters who play competitive soccer. Most of my spare time is spent shuttling them to practice, attending games and tournaments, and volunteering for their teams.  Through my daughter’s experiences I have seen them grow in so many areas— leadership, teamwork, integrity, and perseverance to name a few. Supporting their commitment is truly one of the most rewarding parts of my life as a parent. When I do have a few minutes to myself, you will most likely find me catching the latest and greatest Broadway show, attending a concert, or simply watching The Voice!

 carlena harrisCarlena Harris, NACE Director-Employer; Human Resources Manager, Recruiting Operations, National Instruments

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned and experienced to assist individuals, teams, and organizations in reaching their goals.  National Instruments has been a member of NACE for many years and I thought it would be great to serve on behalf of my employer.
What led you to your career path? I was promoted to a software development manager position mid-way in my career, which allowed me to recruit team members for the organization via conferences and university career fairs.  I enjoyed that part of my job, so I decided to prepare for a full–time talent recruiting opportunity.  I joined National Instruments in 2014 as a human resources manager within the University Recruiting Operations team.
What was your very first job? I worked at AstroWorld in Houston, Texas in the games operation department. That job helped me develop my customer service skills.
Something personal:  I’m an active mom of two teenagers, a cyclist, a huge Prince fan, and I love to cook.

Janet LasaterJennifer Lasater, NACE Director-College; Vice President, Employer and Career Services, Kaplan University

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  I wanted to give back to my profession. I started getting involved by volunteering on committees for NACE and really enjoyed the work and time with others, that led to me exploring additional roles with NACE.
What led you to your career path? I was a resident assistant in college and loved working in student affairs, but I wanted to try a few years in the “real world” after graduating with my B.A. I got involved with recruiting for a staffing company and one of our recruiting sites was a small art/design school. I found that career services was the perfect fit for me because it combined my passion for students along with the motivation of hitting goals in recruiting.
What was your very first job? When I was 14, I worked at a Dairy Queen for a few weeks—not that exciting or glamorous. That was clearly not my career path.
Something personal: My family and I love going on Disney cruises—we’ve been on quite a few now. Our favorites so far have been the Mediterranean and Alaska.

Margaret paulinMargaret Paulin, NACE Director-Employer; Manager, Sector University Relations & Recruiting, Northrop Grumman

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE? I have had the good fortune to serve on several NACE committees and decided to further serve NACE members by contributing as a board member.
What led you to your career path? My first position in university relations and recruiting started as a six-month rotational assignment. Well beyond those six months now, I moved forward in the profession and never looked back.
What was your very first job?  
I worked at USA cheerleading camps the summer after graduating from college and managed a red brick residence hall at San Jose State University.
Something personal: I have two senior furry children, Sadie and Buddy, which rule our house. Sadie is a chocolate lab that we raised as a puppy and Buddy is an American Bulldog, pit mix—he is a rescue shelter dog. The two complement and keep each other occupied during the day.

pam websterPam Webster, NACE Director-Employer; Assistant Vice President, Talent Acquisition, Enterprise Holdings

What led you to pursue leadership with NACE?  As a leader in Talent Acquisition for Enterprise, I believe it’s important to give back to the profession in a volunteer capacity.  Not only does it help strengthen our brand within the college/university community, but it gives me the opportunity to network and learn from thought leaders in the space.  I have gained lifelong friends along the way which is a bonus!
What led you to your career path?  Getting into recruiting was a little bit of luck and a leap of faith. Enterprise promotes from within and when we started expanding significantly in the late 80s, new positions were created in our field operations. I was a branch manager at the time and had been with the company about four years and my manager (our current CEO, Pam Nicholson) came to me to ask if I would be interested in filling one of the new spots. I have been with Enterprise for 31 years and in some form of talent acquisition for 27 of those years, being one of the pioneers in campus recruiting for Enterprise.
What was your very first job?  My first job was in high school, working at a plant nursery. I was responsible for watering, fertilizing, and transplanting plants as they grew to get them ready for retail sales. Unfortunately my experience did not pay off as I do not have a green thumb and can’t keep most plants alive.
Something personal: I am an avid animal lover and in the past two years after losing two cats who were 17 and 19, I adopted a pit bull mix, Tilly, who was a street dog and in foster care for a year. Last summer, I took in a stray cat I named Coco and her litter of five kittens, that were about three weeks old. When the kittens were 12 weeks old, two of my work colleagues each took one of the kittens, another friend took one, my mom took Coco, and we kept two of the kittens, Jaxon and Princess, and added to our household of now three cats and a dog. I have also spent time volunteering for the Humane Society of Missouri and served on the board for a local horse rescue.

Read the full biographies of NACE’s 2016-17 Board of Directors on NACEWeb.