The Center for Global Studies, along with its partner Centers in the Illinois Global Institute, hosted the Spring 2023 Career Day on March 3, 2023, from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. About 40 University of Illinois students attended the event to meet and interact with alumni speakers and former FLAS fellows across disciplines in foreign language, area studies, and thematic studies, and with careers in academia, technology, non-profit, government, and non-tenure track teaching and Post-Doc positions.
The event kicked off with a light breakfast and introductions followed by resume workshops conducted by Kirsten Wilcox, the Director of LAS Career Services, and Derek Attig, the Assistant Dean of Career and Professional Development respectively. These were followed by varied panel discussions including:- Foreign Language and Area Studies Skills at Work in the U.S. Government; A Look Inside Language & Technology Jobs; Career Paths in Non-Profit Organizations; and Working in Non-Tenure Track Teaching & Post-Doc Positions. Most importantly, students had the opportunity to interact privately with alumni speakers through informational interviews.
The panel discussions and informational interviews sought to empower students in their career search and engender cross-disciplinary and cross-program conversations about career skills and job markets. By the end, students left the events with advanced knowledge and techniques in navigating the job search, as well as enthusiasm for how their current skills could not only be put to productive use but how to tailor their skills to their dream careers and future goals.
For instance, the Foreign Language and Area Studies Skills at Work in the U.S. Government panel directed students looking for federal work to relevant resources and avenues of benefit. Similarly, they stressed the importance of volunteer work, study abroad programs, and internships in securing federal and government jobs.
Eduardo Alvarez, an alumnus of Middle East Studies and a FLAS Fellow currently working as a Refugee Officer for the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the Refugee and International Operations division, highly recommended current students take advantage of the FLAS Fellowship to learn a foreign language.
Vernita Pearl Fort, a Research Scholar in two Centers of the Illinois Global Institute at the University of Illinois and former U.S. Diplomat in 40 countries across Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia shared her experience as a young graduate working in a foreign country and advised students to take advantage of the many opportunities presented by international organizations and bodies.
Laura Fyfe, Course Design Specialist at the Foreign Service Institute, suggested students try to determine what they enjoyed doing day to day, as this could help influence the type of position they hoped to obtain.
The event culminated in a reception that celebrated the achievements of Illinois’ alumni while also offering students further opportunities to network and engage with their peers, Center staff, and the many accomplished alumni that helped make the event a success.