To better serve underrepresented students, Veronica Heiskell, a Career Services graduate assistant, holds drop-in hours in the Pride Center.
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Career Services is bringing its resources right to students’ doorsteps — or at least to the doorstep of the Cross Cultural Centers.
To serve underrepresented students, Career Services counselors hold weekly drop-in hours in the Pride Center and the Gender Equity Center (GEC). These hours are open to any student, but are intended to provide services to students who might not reach out to Career Services.
“It offers a welcoming hand, I would say, from our department to them — giving some students who may not have had exposure to our services know that they’re here and there’s somebody here to help them,” said Ashleigh Halter, the College of Liberal Arts career counselor. “In addition, it also brings more students who didn’t know about the Cross Cultural Centers in.”
Halter, a Cal Poly alumna, worked with Safer and the GEC during her time at the university. Since that’s her place of interest, she decided to hold one drop-in hour each week in the GEC, she said.
During drop-in hours, students can ask quick questions, review resumes and cover letters and get interview tips, Halter said. They’re more accessible to students, since they don’t require an appointment and each meeting takes approximately 10 minutes. Instead of seeing one or two students who scheduled appointments, Halter said, she can see up to six.
Students who are underrepresented — students of color, or those who have dealt with sexual assault, for example — have different concerns they might have to deal with, she said. Issues include discrimination, the gender wage gap and companies ignoring employment equity hiring laws, she said.
“There’s a wide variety of issues that could come up,” Halter said. “They shouldn’t in the first place, but they do, and sometimes some people face those challenges, and they have very real effects on people.”
LGBT students have different concerns than other students might, Pride Center assistant coordinator Adam Serafin said. Students have asked whether they should come out during an interview, how they list their work experience with the Pride Center or other LGBT-related organizations on their résumés and which companies are welcoming and inclusive.
Veronica Heiskell, a Career Services graduate assistant, holds drop-in hours at the Pride Center to help alleviate concerns of queer-identified students.
Heiskell is also developing Queer Careers, a career workshop series for LGBT students. The workshop will meet every Thursday starting April 17, and Heiskell will go over general career advice, discuss how to come out at work and address other issues these students might face as they enter the professional world.
“Holding drop-in hours, holding this workshop series is a huge step for us,” Heiskell said. “We’re a little bit isolated on campus, down in building 124, so it’s exciting to be able to bring ourselves to where students are, and to meet them where they’re at.”
Career Services and the Pride Center partner in other ways, as well. For the Career Fair, the Pride Center compiles a list of companies that score well on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index — meaning they would be inclusive work environments for students of a different background, Serafin said. Career Services displays these lists at the Career Fair, making them available to any student who is interested.
Career Services makes an effort to be available for any student’s needs, Halter said.
“We are here for every student, regardless of cultural background in any capacity, whether it’s ethnicity, race, nationality to gender, age, disability to sexual orientation, socio-economic status, all of those,” she said. “We’re here as a resource for everyone.”