Grad Week celebrates, prepares winter grads
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
Inside the Career IMPACT Center on Tuesday, several graduating seniors sat in chairs with their resumes and prepared to test their interview skills with career coaches and professionals at Grand Canyon University.
“It’s all about the opportunity to get our winter graduates thinking about that next step,” Alumni Communications Specialist Aaron Walth said. “I think a lot of students, especially in their senior year, get so caught up in finishing finals and making sure their GPA looks good that they forget what happens after they cross that stage. As an institution, we want to make sure they don’t lose sight of that and that they have all of the tools to be successful at their disposal.”
Walth explained that while traditionally GCU hosts several campus events for spring graduates in preparation for life after college, December graduates usually have to prepare a semester early or miss out on the opportunity. This year, the Career IMPACT Center partnered with the Alumni Relations department to host Winter Grad Week, a weeklong combination of career opportunities and appreciation for the soon-to-be grads.
At the event, Alumni Relations Manager Liz Conwell demonstrated how tapping into social media sites such as LinkedIn can help grow your professional network.
Alexa Wennet, Employer Outreach Supervisor at the Career IMPACT Center, pointed to the professional clothing closet also available at the Center.
Wennet said the Career IMPACT Center understands that college students are often on a budget, so the clothing resource gives them one less thing to worry about when planning for a job or an interview. Students are encouraged to use the items for interviews, etiquette dinners, networking events and other professional opportunities.
The attire is generously donated from faculty, staff and alumni. Donations can be directed to the Career IMPACT Center by contacting [email protected]
“If they have an interview they can come in here and grab pants, a dress shirt, a blazer, shoes, a purse – any items they want and take them at no charge,” Wennet said.
“Soon-to-be graduates will find being involved in Grad Week will enhance their chances to find purposeful employment, and we are pleased to support their efforts and to be a part of their continued success,” said Jacqueline Smith, GCU’s Director of Career Services.
Katalina Inzunza, full-time career coach, added, “Students are being very proactive in their efforts, and the fact that they come here shows that.”
Throughout the week, students also picked up grad grams at the Promenade and wrote notes of encouragement to their graduating friends, mingled with GCU alumni and business professionals from a variety of industries, and on Thursday were invited to celebrate at the alumni tailgate before the men’s basketball home opener.
Meet and Mingle with Professionals
For Scot Madison Quiggle, a business management major, the chance to mingle with professionals Wednesday provided a new sense of ease.
“I love seeing how GCU wants to connect and support graduating students with different networking opportunities,” she said. “Today I learned about a new coding opportunity that I may want to be a part of. It’s exciting.
“I’m trying to enjoy the present moment and soak up every opportunity and relationship accessible to me. I’ve realized there’s never a straight path for any career, but as I begin taking entrepreneurial risks I know that GCU will support me in whatever it is that I do in the real world.”
Carter Vaughn, a GCU alum representing Central Christian Church, was excited to share information about the Leadership Institute and mission trip opportunities available through the organization with his alma mater.
“It’s kind of cool to be able to come from the perspective of knowing what it’s like to be coming up on graduation and having that stress factor of not knowing what is going to happen next and to be able to put them at peace by showing them that there are many things they can do,” Vaughn said.
He told the students to “take advantage of all of the programs that are around GCU. Get plugged in with different businesses.”
Quiggle gave a shoutout to several GCU faculty in the Colangelo College of Business:
“Paul Waterman, Jon Ruybalid, Dr. Randy Gibb … they really push people to be creative, make a difference and to chase their own dreams. I hope to be a rock star.”
The final Grad Week events of the week are the Grad Giveaway, where the winter grads can get swag and treats, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday on the Promenade, and Senior and Alumni Night at the men’s soccer game at 7 p.m. Saturday, when there will be free tickets and pizza for the winter graduates and the alumni.
Contact Jeannette Cruz at [email protected] or (602) 639-6631.