The UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media launched a new Career Peers program, featuring three students who will help fellow undergraduates prepare for jobs and internships.
The program, initiated this year, recruits paid seniors as “career peers” who will serve as mentors, while offering professional advice through reviewing and editing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, portfolios and cover letters.
Isabel Hewgley, one of the three inaugural career peers, said she feels that being a part of the program is rewarding on a community level because she can connect with other students. Hewgley said the program is not just a teaching experience, but a learning experience as well.
“I can do as much research as I want, or I can try to apply these topics or understand the industry better just from my personal research, but when I have to explain it to a student who’s asking me, I think that’s totally where the learning comes in,” Hewgley said.
Louise Spieler, senior associate dean for strategy and administration for the Hussman School, said the peers are trained by Hussman Career Services professionals, which sets them apart from other peer-to-peer resources.
Because career peers are selected to be representative of all Hussman School majors, the three seniors specialize in different areas of journalism and media.
“All the career peers are also going through the exact same process of finding internships or finding jobs and whatnot, so we kind of provide a firsthand experience really of how the process goes, and I think that’s what’s really valuable,” Alice Lim, another career peer, said.
Lim said she believes the program is an excellent way of including student voices in the Hussman Career Services department.
“We also serve as a kind of bridge between the Hussman students and the career program that already exists in the school,” Lim said.
Niki Suchy said she and the other career peers are available outside of the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedules that most campus departments stick to, allowing students more time to access resources within their own schedules.
“I think this is really great opportunity to have students come and talk to other students, because I hope to be a friendly face for people to talk to,” Suchy said.
Although the program launched this year, Jenn Sipe, Hussman Career Services assistant director, said initial planning for the program began years earlier. Since then, she said they’ve had to move program components to a remote format.
“Our career peers are students, and they’re experiencing a lot of the similar things that the students they’re serving are experiencing, and I think having that relatability just really helps make you feel like you’re not in this alone,” Sipe said.
Until recently, the seniors have been training with Sipe. They are now beginning to introduce themselves to Hussman students and organize events.
The program's first event is a virtual student-to-student internship fair on Friday. Following the event, the peers will begin meeting one-on-one with undergraduates.
“We’re really, really happy to get it off the ground, it’s been something that we’ve been thinking about for a while, and I think we all agree we couldn’t have found three better students to have as our inaugural career peers,” Spieler said.
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