It was recently announced that the Center for Work & Service (CWS) would be making drastic changes in the coming year. The CWS is Wellesley College’s career service for both current students and alumni. Beyond a variety of career resources, workshops, and events that the CWS offers for students and alumni, the CWS also aims to help students and alumnae obtain useful skills for lifelong career development.
As Christine Yip Cruzvergara, the Executive Director and Associate Provost for Career Education announced, the CWS will change how it distributes resources to fortify a greater connection between Wellesley alumnae and current students as well as a redesign of the website. To further highlight just how drastic these changes will be, a new name will also be given to CWS.
Cruzvergara is looking forward to these changes, saying “This is an exciting time for Wellesley and our students as we reimagine what career education could look like at our institution. I believe we can design a career education model for the liberal arts that focuses on connections and communities.”
She continues, “Our students will proactively engage in a process to explore the intersection between self and society, engage and test their curiosities, and make meaningful connections within newly formed career communities that cover a broad array of industries and career fields.”
In order to gain more input on these changes with CWS, Cruzvergara embarked on a “listening tour”. She commented that the listening tour was important as it has “allowed me to develop important relationships with students, alumnae, faculty, Trustees, employers, and campus partners.”
Recently hired in the past year, Cruzvergara believes that “there is great value in listening and learning the culture.” Through her listening tour, she has gained a greater understanding of people’s current and past experiences and seen what gaps and needs the community has. She said, “By looking for patterns and pulling out common themes from all stakeholder groups, we will be able to design a new model for career education that is uniquely Wellesley.”
Cruzvergara also wants to receive direct feedback from students as well, and will begin holding office hours on March 10 for students to ask questions and give input. Cruzvergara wants students to share their experiences and suggestions for the future, and hopes these office hours will “be the start of a conversation and relationship that will only grow stronger with time.”
As to what students are saying about this new movement with CWS, the responses appear consistent and directly relate to how the students feel their experiences with CWS has been.
Xueying Chen ’16 also brought up the fact that the CWS lacks the ability to give strong cover letter and resume advice, which has not been as helpful as “some of the advice I’ve gotten from alums.” Chen particularly emphasized the relationship-building that the CWS should strengthen between alumnae and students, and says she definitely thinks that the CWS needs to “make it easier for students to find and reach out to alums”. Chen suggests that the CWS “organize events where alums who have succeeded in their fields come back and lead workshops on how to tailor cover letters for their specific fields and such.”
Some students believe that although the CWS is already a helpful resource at Wellesley, it could be even better with the announced new changes it would be going through. Judy Zhang ’17 believes that “the CWS is a great resource for internships and job search, but its website can definitely be more user friendly and efficient”.
Grace Williams ’16 really enjoys engaging in service projects and alternative breaks, and has had a very positive experience with CWS, which has helped her several times with finding alternative break opportunities and internships. As she explained, “I’ve interned at a non-profit in Boston through Lumpkin Institute for Summer Learning, participated in two Alternative Breaks trip (one of which I served as a site leader) and am participating in my third Alternative Break trip this spring break.”
Williams approves of the idea of having a stronger connection between alumnae and students, as she has seen what the results of such a connection could bring. Interning last summer through Wellesley in Washington, Williams was matched up with an alumna and also met other alumnae as well. She “found their advice very helpful as far as job searching goes” and thinks that “the CWS would definitely benefit from this type of relationship and it would help strengthen their career services.”
Much can be speculated upon about what these changes will be like, but rest assured, Wellesley students will be experiencing these changes very soon.
Photo by Natalia Marques ‘ 19, Photography Editor