Whitman hosts first annual career center event

Originally Published by Whitman Communications
May 18, 2015

Career Center EventThis past Friday, career center administrators from 15 colleges around Washington state met in the Reid Campus Center ballroom to discuss their work connecting students with professional development opportunities.

“Getting together with your professional colleagues from different schools provides for a wealth of new ideas, support and engagement in trends for career counseling, advising and networking,” Assistant Director for Career Development Gayle Townsend ’80 said.

The morning consisted of a session addressing key issues for career centers, including living/learning communities, bridge-to-work programs, career trends, conferences and more.

This was followed by a discussion with four students (two from Whitman, two from Walla Walla University), who joined the group to give some insight into how career centers can best engage with students.

Whitman student and economics major Susanna Bowers ’15 (pictured above) has worked in Whitman’s Student Engagement Center for the past three years. She got a spring internship with the Walla Walla Sweets baseball team and a summer internship with Alaska Airlines.

“I wouldn’t have had such a great experience without the SEC,” she said. After she graduates, Bowers has a job with Expedia, which she credits to her experiences with her past internships.

“I feel like a lot of my friends don’t know what services we offer,” she added, suggesting that students should have to produce a resume after their first semester of college just to get them started.

Tyler Sherman, a junior business major from Walla Walla University, agreed, commenting that the key to engaging with students is awareness. This past summer, he interned for the Washington State legislature. To get this job, he relied on the Walla Walla University career center for help.

“I appreciated the help navigating the job search. David [Lindstrom, the director of the career development center,] coached me through the interview, resume and so much more,” he said, but wished that he had known about the resources available to him from the start of his college experience.

After the student panel, employers from both sides of the state replaced the students to discuss what employers want from recent college graduates.

Townsend said of the student panel, “[We learned that] it is incredibly important to connect with first-year students right at the beginning. Being accessible and familiar to students will increase their tendency to seek out help from the Student Engagement Center. Also [to] tap into ideas from current interns and office employees working in the SEC to find out what they think is on student’s minds and what they are concerned about.”

The group moved to Walla Walla University after lunch to discuss the future of college career centers, which they did in small groups until the end of the day.

“Developing professional relationships with career center staffs from schools around the state provides a connection that is invaluable to professional development in our profession,” Townsend said.

Community Service Year-End Celebration


Romanita Hairston, Vice President for US Programs for World Vision (www.worldvision.org) spent an engaging day on campus this past Monday, May 11, listening and responding to students from the service, faith and social justice orientation which informed her about both the Whitman and the Walla Walla communities. Through telling stories about herself coming from a poor childhood in Arkansas to being  the national leader she is today on child well-building and community transformation, Romanita compelled us to continue to “make service a life-choice, not a vocational choice.”

Over 120 Whitman students who participated in service events, trips, weekly programs,  internships, and fellowships in the local community were honored and thanked for being “actionists” – people who, at the end of the day are willing to do something for someone else. Also, prestigious Community Service awards were given to the following volunteers for outstanding and exceptional participation:

America Reads/Counts – Marci Parra

Adopt a Grandparent – Mary Welter

The Buddy Program – Isabel Mills

College Coaches – Clara Merlino

Events and Reflection – Nicole Hodgkinson

Green Park Bilingual – Carrie Walker

Mentor program – Alex Waheed and Callie Brown

Science Outreach – Willem Rasmussen

Spring Break Service Trips – Sarah Dunn (participant) and Molly Emmet (leader)

Storytime – Ali Holmes

Whitman Teaches the Movement – Drew Edmonds

Attendees were left with questions to ponder both individually, and in community – What is shaping you?  What do you worship?  Are you willing to be a person of paradox who is willing to be uncomfortable with the coexistence of both pain and hope?

Unsolicited feedback has been so very positive about this year-end celebration of service.  As Rachel Palfini shared, “… in my religion class, multiple people told me how much they enjoyed Romanita’s key note. One student had mentioned that at these types of events, she knows what to expect from the key note, but how Romanita surprised her and really tackled tough issues in a lighthearted manner. Great job on getting us a fantastic key note addressee!”

In President Bridge’ final Union Bulletin article, he thanked the Walla Walla community for welcoming “Whitman volunteers into schools, community organizations and agencies which helps the College achieve the well-rounded education we define as part of our institutional mission.”



Spring Service Day Photos

This gallery contains 100 photos.

Tri-College Spring Service Day was a huge success this year! Thank you to our wonderful community partners who hosted 27 different projects across Walla Walla and College Place. We were able to send hundreds of students from Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University, and Whitman College out into their community to learn and to […]

Whitman Alumni to share experiences in Management Consulting

“What do consultants do?”

“Why are the top firms so incredibly competitive?”

“If they’re not recruiting at Whitman, how can I apply for an internship or a job?”

“When does the application process start?”

Learn more here:TOP final

If you are curious, interested or considering consulting, you will not want to miss this panel and networking session with the folks that can not only help you get your foot in the door, but can help your application be seen by key decisions makers

Only 10 seats left, so to save your spot here.

Student Engagement Center Celebrates President Bridges!


L to R: Gina Yonts, Green Park Elementary School Principal; Elissa Picozzi '15, 2014-'15 Intern; President George Bridges; Devyani Gupta '15, Program Creator and previous Intern.

L to R: Gina Yonts, Green Park Elementary School Principal; Elissa Picozzi ’15, 2014-’15 Intern; President George Bridges; Devyani Gupta ’15, Program Creator and previous Intern.


Students from the Green Park Bi-Lingual Program

Friday April 24th the Student Engagement Center hosted President George Bridges to celebrate his support of the many programs that the SEC sponsors. Over the last 5 years President Bridges’ commitment and investment in Whitman student success has contributed to thousands of educational and professional experiences that have significantly impacted Whitman students and the Walla Walla community.

Our first stop was at the Green Park Elementary Bi-Lingual program where student mentors from Whitman work one on one with Spanish speaking students. Devyani Gupta ’15  conceived of an idea to provide mentoring to these students. She spent hours developing the concept, presented the idea, and a program was born! There are now over 80 Whitman students who cross Isaacs St. to work with these students and develop supportive relationships to increase student success. This mentor program has been embraced by the school community and families of these children. Gina Yonts, Green Park Elementary Principal, Devyani, Elissa Picozzi ’15, Mrs. Rosas, Green Park Bi-Lingual teacher, and 15 students helped to celebrate President Bridges support of this wonderful program.


L-R: Abby Juhasz, Kari Tupper, Victoria Wolff, President Bridges, Ashley Hansack ’15, Kim Rolfe, Noah Leavitt, Gayle Townsend ’80, Susan Prudente, Fernando Medina-Corey ’14


President Bridges, Ashley Hansack ’15, Fernando Medina-Corey ’14

Our next stop was to the Walla Walla Downtown Foundation where the SEC has had Interns and Fellows who have worked collaboratively with the WWDF staff on many creative ways to highlight Walla Walla downtown events. Currently Ashley Hansack ’15, a Whitman Community Fellow, is involved in the upcoming “Gentlemen of the Road” event, August 2015, that includes bands such as Mumford and Sons, The Foo Fighters, and many other musical groups. This event is expected to bring over 40,000 visitors to the Walla Walla Valley. Elio Agostini, Executive Director, Gina Grant Bull, Events & Public Relations, and Becca Palmer, Membership & Program Coordinaltor, joined us to honor President Bridges.

In 2013-14 over 1045 students participated in community service events through the SEC – the highest number ever! The SEC has hosted 770 students, parents, alumni, and recruiters at recent networking events. The SEC currently supports 9 student run community service programs, 4 of which were able to begin due to President Bridges support. In 2014 Whitman students interned in 17 different states and 5 foreign countries. 28 students have participated in the year long Sherwood Fellows program that takes them into the local community. Over the last 5 years internship grants offered to students have risen almost 700%.

This just goes to show that when supported to spread their community involvement wings to move out of the “Whitman Bubble”, Whitman students accomplish awesome things. Connecting students to the community helps to develop great partnerships with those community members. We were honored to celebrate these wonderful accomplishments by giving President Bridges a small snapshot of what his support has helped to create!