Career Center Pushes For Diversity and Inclusion Through Diversity Initiatives
By Maya Brown
The Career Center has been long focused on pushing for diversity and inclusion .
About 15 years ago, the Career Center realized that it needed to change its approach to producing a viable underrepresented and underserved (URM) pipeline. Employees and professionals at the Career Center host various activities for employers to get involved, including events with the Diversity Professional Leadership Network (DPLN), one-day recruiting events, diversity panels and information sessions, and general recruiting and educational events.
The Career Center has also been assisting employers with creating diversity recruiting plans to attract and connect with diverse student talent at Stony Brook University, including discussing strategic planning for employers.
There are also many programs under the Career Center that aligns with the goals of creating an environment around diversity. Since the first signature diversity program back around 2007-2008, the Career Center’s URM engagement has increased by 48%. Regarding student success, more than 60% of participants from all programs and events secured internships and more than 90% of graduating seniors who conducted a job search were successful within 12 months.
The DPLN program helps underrepresented students increase their knowledge of careers and enhances their career skills. Exclusive programming that DPLN students get to take advantage of include leadership development workshops, effective communication workshops, special internship preparation, one-to-one ongoing coaching and job shadowing opportunities — which all put an emphasis on networking. The program began back in 2007 and has had over 400 students since its inception.
The Future Ready Student program focuses on connecting women in STEM to the professional industry and supports their endeavors in looking to gain experience to complement their academic coursework. Through the program, students have been able to shadow professionals, intern or volunteer with various companies, and work part-time at large companies. Students also have the opportunity to attend weekly workshops that connect them with industry representatives.
“Your instruction has helped me build myself up as a professional in so many ways and I will continue to work at improving myself and applying to as many opportunities as I can,” Carolina Ruiz, a former Future Ready participant and a junior biology major said.
The JFEW SUNY Global Scholars program is a two-year diversity scholarship and internship program that was designed to narrow the gender gap in the field of international relations, global affairs, and diplomacy. Through funding from the Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women (JFEW), the program provides scholarships and a paid summer internship to 20 women from SUNY campuses, including Stony Brook University. Each student is also provided a mentor in the field and has the opportunity to hear from guest speakers.
The LGBTQ* Career Awareness program gives students the opportunity to attend campus tours, gain mentorship and have access to networking. Students also attend workshops including topics such as legal issues in the workplace regarding LGBTQ* rights, LGBTQ* students and interview success, and how to research and evaluate employer culture.
The PSEG Explorations in STEM provides professional development for undergraduate students who are interested in scientific research by giving them a 10-week paid summer research opportunity. This program also prepares students for careers in academic STEM fields and increases students’ research and communication skills.
The Career Center also partners with multiple cultural organizations at the university including the Black Student Union, the Black Womyn’s Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People at Stony Brook, the Latin American Student Organization and Student African American Brotherhood. Through partnership and programming, the Career Center hosts Diversity Professional Development Workshops with these groups covering topics such as navigating a career search during the pandemic and a changing job market, resume and cover letter writing, and identifying diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Even in the midst of the pandemic, the Career Center conducted its first ever Diversity Town Hall for employers during Summer 2020. The town hall gave employers a safe space to discuss how the Black Lives Matter movement affected their recruitment efforts and how their companies were making changes to their everyday work culture. About 22 employers attended the event and joined in on an engaging discussion on what diversity and inclusion looks like in the workplace.
The Annual Diversity Recruitment Event has also been held for the past 13 years. The event is typically two parts and includes a diversity and inclusion panel and a fair where students and employers can network. At last year’s event , the number of employers in attendance almost doubled and student and alumni attendance shot up from 160 in 2019 to 400 this year.
With all of these diversity initiatives, students from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to advance their careers and become the best professionals they can be.