The City Urban Perspectives
Center Gives SPU Graduates a Strategic Boost
An Urban Jobs Network
By Clint Kelly (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Photo by Luke Rutan
Career counselor Christina McCracken (left) meets with Jessica Hartono ’13
Cameron Lowell ’11 is a program analyst in finance operations at Amazon.com, but he didn’t get there overnight. He started his career search in a Seattle Pacific University internship class required for his accounting and business finance majors. Though the then-sophomore already felt he was experienced in writing résumés and interviewing, he thought he might at least gain some interview practice.
“I quickly learned that I had only scratched the surface in these areas,” says Lowell. “SPU’s Center for Career and Calling helped me craft a powerful résumé, earn a highly competitive internship at an accounting firm, KPMG, and even negotiate my salary at Amazon.” It was a three-year partnership that still reverberates in his professional life.
Seattle Pacific’s location in the center of a city is maximized by the staff of the CCC. Each year, the amalgam of experienced career counselors, employer connections, and job-search expertise provides individual coaching and advising to 700–800 students and alumni; teaches specific career-related skills to more than 2,000 students through workshops and career events; and enrolls approximately 350 students in four different career classes taught by career counselors.
It doesn’t end there. Students are exposed in those career events to area employers from a wide variety of fields, more than 160 employers last year alone. The list has included Alaska Airlines, Boeing, Nordstrom, and Seattle Children’s Hospital, to name a few. If the proof is in the employment pudding, the 350–400 credited student internships that annually result from connection with Seattle firms and organizations have built a strong platform from which hundreds of SPU graduates have launched careers.
“Our students are sought after because we are known citywide for intelligent, thoughtful, and ethical graduates in all fields,” says CCC Director Jacqui Smith-Bates. “We have a particularly strong track record in the fields of accounting and business, education, ministry and public service, health sciences, and visual communication, and we’re also seeing increasing requests from employers for graduates in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.”
Other fields are also represented. Clothing and textiles major Rebekah Koonce Brouwer ’12 interned with apparel and accessories supplier SanMar Corporation. Today she is global sourcing coordinator for Eddie Bauer. “Because I did a double emphasis at SPU in apparel design and fashion merchandising, and had internships in merchandising and technical design, I already had an understanding of the apparel production process,” Brouwer says. “In my position with Eddie Bauer, I work with apparel at many different stages.”
“SPU’s strategic location allows for endless networking opportunities,” says Lowell. “Local professionals are excited to meet with students who show initiative and a desire to learn.”
This past year, 125 alumni used career counseling services in the CCC. For the first year after graduation, alumni are eligible for unlimited counseling/coaching appointments. Beyond the first year, alumni can access one free appointment yearly and subsequent appointments at reduced rates. No matter how long after graduation, says Smith-Bates, alumni are welcome at all CCC events and workshops, and to use the career and job-posting tools on the CCC website.
Lowell is glad he joined forces with the CCC. Today he enjoys the freedom to be creative and “drive my own schedule” as afforded him by Amazon. Valued by his employer and able to utilize and develop his skillset as a data expert, he is grateful to SPU for equipping him to go from one “great learning environment” to another.