Upperclassmen share career passions with peers, win scholarships

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Above image: John Pruden (pictured, center)  won first place in the Lyon College Career Center Summer Experience Fair for his presentation on his internship with Hexion. / Article by Madeline Pyle Lyon College / Image submitted

Students encouraged peers to pursue opportunities at last week’s Lyon College Career Center Summer Experience Fair (SEF).

Annette Castleberry, director of Career Services, said the SEF is a casual, interactive forum where upperclassmen share their experiences from summer internships, jobs, academic travel and research.

“Students come to college knowing that they’ll have to find employment one day,” she said, “but a college degree doesn’t guarantee that outcome. Students must have relevant experience and skills in addition to the degree to qualify for the jobs they want.

“The goal of the SEF is for upperclassmen to encourage their younger peers to pursue similar opportunities.”

This year, the Career Center was able to increase the prize money thanks to a generous donation. The first place “Dean’s Prize” winner, John Pruden, received $1,000 for his presentation on his internship at Hexion in the Dallas area. Second place winner, Jordan Webb, won $750 for presenting her ecology research. Third place winner, Ellie Embry, won $250 for discussing her internship at the Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville and Springdale, where she focused on neuropsychology.

Held Thursday, Aug. 29, SEF not only showed newer students what opportunities may be out there for them but also gave presenters the chance to reflect on their experience and how it has impacted their career decisions.

Sophomore Debjanee Nandy, an international student from Bangladesh studying economics and math, attended the University of Akron for the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program, which provided an intense focus on the skills required to succeed in law school and legal professions.

The experience helped her determine that she is definitely headed in the right direction.

“I wanted to figure out if going to law school is an appropriate choice for me, especially because I’m an international student and a lot of the opportunities are not open to me,” Nandy said.

“This program exposed me to various career opportunities, so now I figure, yeah, I want to go to law school and I want to be an immigration lawyer.”

Junior Allison Mundy, of Bryant, is studying Biology and did ecological research on bugs over the summer to get a closer look at chicken pollution in the local stream area from Batesville up to the Missouri line. She previously presented her data at the Arkansas Water Research Center (AWRC).

Mundy’s research opportunity gave her insight into what she does and doesn’t like about the field.

“It made me certain that I don’t want to go into academia,” she said. “I’m not writing all those papers. [However,] I don’t mind bench work. Some doctors hate it, and some doctors love it. I think I can live with it.”

Some students also learned where their passions lie.

Senior Navy Griffin, of Sherwood, worked at the Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis, Minn., over the summer, sharing art with people in low income communities. The theater hosted the National Institute for Directing and Ensemble Creation, a program that “helps bridge the gap between white male directors and people of color, women and queer people.”

“Younger directors learn from older directors, and everyone learns from everyone else,” Griffin said. “After this, I know that I want to go into queer art. As a queer woman, I don’t hear stories that are about my community.”

“I really want to show the world what I see.”

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