K-Plan Cultivation

Marketing Extern William Cagney and Culinary Extern Alexandra Smith
Bridgett Blough ’08 is hosting two current K students this summer through the CCPD’s Discovery Externship Program. Marketing Extern William Cagney ’15 and Culinary Extern Alexandra Smith ’16 are pictured during a recent lunchtime in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park. Blough is the owner of Organic Gypsy.

Kalamazoo College students may not be in class during the summer, but they are busy cultivating their K-Plans, across the country and around the world, in externships and internships supported by the Center for Career and Professional Development.

This summer 109 students are taking part in the CCPD’s summer career development programs. The Discovery Externship Program, in its 12th year, offers 46 first-year and sophomore students the opportunity to test the waters of a possible career by living and working with an alumni or parent professional for up to four weeks. Externs and hosts agree that the intensity of sharing both workday and “porchtime” experiences leads to rich relationships and deep discovery about the reality of the working world. This summer discovery externs can be found shadowing alumni in hospitals and health networks, a maritime museum, an organic food truck, dentistry and veterinary practices, financial and consulting firms, a school in India and a farm in Michigan.

To ensure the educational quality of their workplace experience, interns enrolled in the CCPD’s Field Experience Program agree with their supervisor on a learning contract outlining mutual goals and objectives for their summer together. They commit to regular structured reflection about their workplace experience, and they receive evaluation feedback at the conclusion of the internship. This summer, 63 interns are spending at least six weeks working with alumni professionals, Kalamazoo area non-profits, social justice organizations, and a wide range of independently-secured experiences across the country. Most Field Experience Program interns receive a stipend to help defray the costs of their unpaid experiences.

Externships and internships challenge students to apply theoretical learning to practical situations and to examine assumptions about work and careers. One current student mid-way through her internship described her summer work experience as “both gratifying and challenging.” She said, “In many ways this internship is not meeting my expectations and is showing me how off-base those expectations have been. These past three weeks have helped me rid myself of assumptions I held, and have given me new ways of thinking about how work at a non-profit can be done.”

The CCPD is already at work recruiting hosts and supervisors for summer 2014. Alumni and parents interested in offering a workplace experience to a student may contact career@kzoo.edu to request more information about becoming part of the Discovery Externship Program or the Field Experience Program.

Post-Grad Public Service

Arnold Campbell, Martha Campbell, Alex Werder, Aubry McIntyre and Amanda Stitt
Left to Right: Arnold Campbell, Martha Campbell, Alex Werder, Aubry McIntyre, and Amanda Stitt.

“Politics and Public Service: K-Plans and Career Paths” was the theme of the Week Six (Oct. 19) Community Reflection in Stetson Chapel. Co-sponsored by the Center for Career and Professional Development and Alumni Relations, the reflection hosted a panel of Kalamazoo College alumni working in the areas of politics or public service.

College Republicans Co-Leader Aubry McIntyre ’15 and College Democrats President Alex Werder ’15 began the Reflection with a mock political debate. They sparred over the issues central to this year’s presidential election, modeling “civilized political discourse” for the audience of students and alumni present for Homecoming weekend.

Arnold Campbell ’72 spoke about his meandering path from study abroad at K to the United States Foreign Service, where he currently serves as Officer and Chargé d’Affaires for the U.S. Embassy in Malta. After studying abroad in Germany, he said he found his calling. “I no longer wanted to be a tourist in the world; I wanted to be participating in those other cultures, and that was because of what I’d experienced here.” His wife, Martha Campbell ’72, also held office in the Foreign Service after K, most recently as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Marshall Islands. She said her K education prepared her for a rigorous, demanding, and exciting job.

Lastly, Amanda Stitt ’02 read from an essay chronicling her journey in Michigan politics rooted in a few influential K classes. She founded K’s chapter of the College Democrats and opted to leave school during her junior fall to help with the 2000 election. Stitt served as former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s political director, ran a statewide nonprofit, and now works with the UAW. She said her K-Plan helped her develop the communication, networking, and leadership skills she would later need in the political world.

Community Reflection offers a unique forum for discussion, worship, performance, and community expression each Friday at 10:50 AM in Stetson Chapel. The campus community and general public are invited. [Story and photo by Elaine Ezekiel ’13]