It’s a statistic University Career Services-New Brunswick is proud of and attributes to the guidance of dedicated mentors, campus partners, hiring employers and the hard work of student interns.
Members of these groups were honored this week for their significant contributions to the career development of Rutgers students at the third Career Knights of Distinction Awards Dinner on May 4.
Top employer awards went to JPMorgan Chase, Amazon, and seven other employers for bringing so many Rutgers graduates into their ranks. Target received special acknowledgement for volunteering to assist current students at various career development programs this year.
“Establishing relationships with, and engaging employers, is a vital part of how University Career Services impacts student employment success,” said Janet Jones, director of Employer Relations. “When employers know about and utilize our services, they can connect with Rutgers top talent. We work with organizations of all types and sizes to grow their brand on campus, while also creating opportunities for students to find the right position for themselves.”
That pipeline from campus to career is forged by Rutgers professors, including Jack Grasso, Career Mentor of the Year, and Daniel J. Van Abs, Campus Partner of the Year, who strive to connect their students with networking resources and experiential opportunities in their fields of study.An adjunct professor with the School of Communication and Information, Grasso draws on his 40-year career in marketing and public relations when teaching students.
“It’s not just good grades. You need experiences, internships or even a part-time job to understand the rigors and demands of the work world,” said Grasso, a former vice president of communications at AT&T. “What I try to point out to my students is that the world they will face outside of college is not quite as forgiving than the one they face now.”
As adviser of the Rutgers chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, Grasso reinvigorated the group, bringing in more working professionals as guest speakers, hosting workshops and networking events, and founding ScarletPR. The student-run public relations firm’s clients include Brother Jimmy’s BBQ, Hotoke and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
Van Abs, an associate professor of practice for water, society and environment with the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, is being recognized for bolstering SEBS internship opportunities through the “Raritan Scholars” course he launched in the spring of 2013. Utilizing the contacts he amassed during a career in nonprofit and state government, Van Abs, places students with environmental agencies along the Raritan River basin to assist with everything from land management to research.Van Abs also teaches “Careers in Environmental Policy Institutions and Behavior” a mandatory 3-credit career course designed to help SEBS majors connect their passion with existing professions.
“Our students tend to be mission driven. They want to correct a problem with the environment,” he said. “What many of them lack is an understanding of all the ways in which you can do that.”
Students also were recognized by Career Services for their contributions at the awards ceremony. These seven Internship Excellence Honorees advanced their own careers – and the reputation of Rutgers students and graduates among employers.
“Successful students go on to become successful alumni who often serve as champions for our work to secure opportunities for students,” said William Jones, senior director of University Career Services and Chair of the Career Knights of Distinction planning committee. “When looking at Rutgers University, we want potential students to know that not only will they come here and receive a world-class education, but they will also have access to a robust network of alumni and employment opportunities.”
Utilizing that network is what gave Chloe Cooper an in at “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
Cooper – one of the intern honorees – reached out to another Rutgers student who was interning with the show. She connected Cooper with the intern coordinator and told her to use her as a reference. Cooper landed the internship three weeks after an email exchange with the coordinator.
“There were thousands who applied online,” she said. “Having a mutual connection of a prior intern I think helped me stand out.”
The journalism and media studies major, who also interned at “Live! With Kelly” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” said she hopes to work in television as a talent coordinator or booker after graduating in May. “Being able to work alongside people at the top of their field, and observe was a great learning experience,” she said. “I never would have got that sitting in a class room. It solidified this is what I want to do.”
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