Every spring, undergraduate students in public health, health management, biostatistics, and emergency management at Saint Louis University don their professional attire to attend Career Spotlight, a fun and fast-paced event designed to give students a peek into the professional world.
[Photo: “Speed networking” at Career Spotlight. Photo: Jonathan Ernst]
Now in its fifth year, Career Spotlight brings eight to 10 hand-picked professionals from diverse fields together with students in a “speed-networking” format, with groups of students rotating among tables manned by the pros, who share stories from the field and answer questions.
“The students start to realize how interdisciplinary jobs really are,” said Dr. Lauren Arnold, assistant professor of epidemiology and director of Undergraduate Public Health Programs at the College for Public Health and Social Justice. “People in public health do emergency management, hospital administrators are better when they know population health; there are no walls up between these disciplines.”
The professionals come from areas such as health departments, law enforcement, consulting, healthcare, academia, and emergency management, and a different group of attends each year so students can attend throughout their time at SLU and get fresh perspectives.
Career Spotlight is part of an ongoing professional development program for undergraduate students, with sessions throughout the year in areas such as resume writing, interviewing and presentation skills, and building effective online profiles.
After the formal event, traditional networking over hors d’oeuvres gives students a chance for one-on-one interaction with professionals in their areas of interest. While not billed as a job fair, Career Spotlight has led directly to part- and full-time employment opportunities for some students.
“I experienced firsthand the quality education and experiences [Saint Louis] University provides for students,” said Ms. Christine Zirges, director of infection prevention at SSM Health in St. Louis, who participated in the 2016 Career Spotlight as a professional. “I would be most happy to do this again.”