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CSSE devoted to student and alumni success

01/14/15

MCLA is dedicated to student success – not only on campus, but beyond, whether they choose to continue their studies in graduate school or find meaningful employment once they finish their degree.

Perhaps some of the strongest evidence of this dedication is to be found in our Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE), located in the heart of campus in Eldridge Hall. This Center, which includes academic support, advising and career services, is housed under the same roof as financial aid offices, student records and accounts, and the registrar – all vital resources for students.  

C:\fakepath\Manat better photo.JPGAt CSSE, students can get help with resume building, cover letters, graduate school applications, internship assistance, study abroad/away options, and on-campus student employment, among other services.

Having a variety of these types of services available in one location has worked well, according to Manat Wooten, assistant director of CSSE/Career Services (right). Her duties include promoting internships for students within their major or field of interest, connecting alumni to students for possible mentorship opportunities, and working with the local business and arts communities to connect students to internships and jobs.

“A student could stop by CSSE to see my colleague about tutoring services, and is possibly thinking about an internship for the following semester,” she explained. “After their initial conversation, my colleague can walk the student over to my area, where I can explain the internship process and offer suggestions about possibilities in the area. In one visit to CSSE, a student can accomplish quite a bit just by asking the right questions.”

For undergraduates who wish to attend graduate school, CSSE staff can help them with the application process, the personal statement essay, GRE information, as well as the curriculum vitae that most graduate schools request.

While Wooten’s office does not provide students with a job upon graduation, they do help them to develop their own targeted and strategic career development plan.

“We prepare students for their long career trajectory, as well as their first entry-level job,” she explained. “The work begins and ends with the student. I am only as helpful and meaningful as the work the student is willing to do to be successful post-MCLA.

“That means making an appointment to see Career Services sometime before their junior year; attending career service events when available; doing an internship – even if it isn’t for credit – to bolster their resume; and spending the necessary time it takes to carefully craft their resume and cover letter for each job application.”

CSSE staff are invested in their students – a quality our undergraduates not only recognize, but appreciate.

“Students write our office all the time, thanking us for our dedication and attention toward their personal growth,” Wooten said. “We get emails about the first job they landed and their excitement about working in a field they love.”

In addition to asking students who travel abroad to send her a postcard, “Alumni stay in contact with me as they move and change jobs so we can revise their resume. Students whom I’ve helped with their graduate school application process inform me which offer they accepted and how life is different in grad school.”

She added, “I like that we are able to make a difference in the lives of MCLA students. Sometimes it is as simple as confirming and believing in a student’s dream and helping them to make it.”