Stony Brook Career Center holds DPLN event with company recruiters addressing program’s goals and expectations
By Fanni Frankl
The Stony Brook University Career Center held a virtual Diversity Professional Leadership Network (DPLN) mentor networking event on Sept. 2, addressing how employers can improve their relationship with their mentees and better understand the leadership program.
Thirteen company recruiters attended the meeting, including representatives from Target, Amazon, Northwell Health and P.S.E.G. electric company. The event started with each company representative introducing themselves and stating what kinds of positions they were hiring for. This was in preparation for the job and internship fair that Stony Brook students attend to meet with employers to gain career opportunities. DPLN Supervisor Jia Wei Cao outlined the purpose of DPLN and emphasized the benefits it has on underserved and underrepresented students.
DPLN is a program conducted by Stony Brook University that strives to help underrepresented students increase their knowledge of careers and enhance their career skills. Through the program, students gain insight about professional business etiquette and learn how to transition from school to work. It requires students to go through an application process complete with interview, references, career interests and academic performance. The DPLN program includes numerous counseling sessions, networking opportunities and workshops.
“Being in this program, we see so much professional as well as personal growth from students at this point to when they complete the program in May,” Cao said. He added that “By being in this program, they really get a better idea of what a career and company looks like from the inside.”
Cao described the benefits that DPLN provides. In the program, students have access to a range of employers. They can gain an outside company perception, their leadership and teaching skills are enhanced and they are diverse candidates sourced for open positions. DPLN participants gain these insights and as a result, develop skills needed for their future careers.
Throughout the meeting, Cao stressed the importance of maintaining a consistent stream of communication with the mentees to ensure students stay engaged. “High-touch meetings,” such as video chatting through Zoom or Skype was emphasized to check in with interns. This is to ensure that interns do not feel intimidated to ask questions and to establish a friendly, professional relationship.
Former DPLN students also attended the meeting, detailing their positive experiences with the program. Junior computer science major Angel Velazquez reflected on his gratitude for the program and how it helped evolve his network.
“I wish I can talk on structure but I really can’t because DPLN was such a pivotal moment in my career,” Velazquez said. “DPLN has changed my trajectory in ways that I can’t even imagine. For instance, I went from being a kid not knowing where to go and not having a lot of opportunities for me to actually being flown to San Francisco to Texas absolutely free. DPLN really gave me the skills, leadership and communication I needed.”
Even though most of the communication between students and employers turned virtual because of COVID-19, the DPLN program highlights the students and is determined to give them opportunities that they might not have thought were possible.