A&S Next
Students at A&S Next gathered at the Omni Hotel in downtown Richmond. "It was a wonderful weekend that fully replicated a professional conference event," said Jenny Cavenaugh, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

Students sharpen their professional know-how at UR career camps

March 26, 2024


Preparing students for the job market is the focus of A&S Next, Jepson EDGE, and Robins Q-camp, held each winter. This year’s career camps offered students the opportunity to connect with alums and practice interviewing and problem-solving skills.

Arts & Sciences Next was held at a new location in February, the Richmond Omni Hotel. The school’s annual career camp gave students insights into future occupations and the opportunity to meet alumni in their fields of interest. Students attending the two-day program learned networking skills, which they could then practice at an alumni reception. New this year was a case study, where students met nonprofit partners to learn about issues they faced. The students crafted solutions which they formally presented to faculty and other guests.

Junior Gretchen Harding, a cognitive science major with a passion for education, took part in the “Multilingualism in Schools” case study. Her group visited a school and learned about the low graduation rates for LatinX students in Richmond Public Schools, currently 44%. Her group explored ways to improve outcomes for these students, which include many English language learners.

“I had no idea the scale of the LatinX students in Richmond Public Schools and the lack of support for them,” Harding said. “The alumni working on our case loved some of our ideas and wanted to implement them in their workplace. Knowing that we developed something that could make an impact on people's lives in the real world is an amazing educational experience.” 

Jepson juniors met alumni throughout the day during the Jepson EDGE Institute event.

Alumni planned and implemented the Jepson EDGE Institute this year for juniors in leadership studies. Held at the Jepson Alumni Center, 40 alums and 68 students attended the event, which included a lively “Refining & Practicing Your Elevator Pitch” session among other workshops and a networking reception.

“Such a high alumni-to-student ratio ensures that each of our students receives individual attention,” said Kirsten Soderland, associate dean of the School of Leadership Studies. “Students had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with alumni to ask questions, discuss their career interests, and receive detailed feedback on their elevator pitches. Participating alumni continue to make themselves available to mentor students after EDGE.”

Leadership studies junior Mary Beatty felt excited but also nervous about the EDGE Institute, since she is undecided about her career plans. She found many alums had felt the same way as an undergraduate. “I learned that applying to internships and jobs are more about passion than being locked into a particular field or area,” Beatty said. “I also learned that it’s never too late to change paths and try something completely out of your comfort zone.”

“EDGE was an impactful day spent with exceptional students, alumni, faculty, and staff who reminded me how grateful I am to be part of the Jepson community,” said Suzy Keller, a 2006 alum and member of the Jepson School Executive Board of Advisors.

Robins students took part in speed networking with alumni.

The Robins Business School held its Q-camp Conference at the Richmond Westin. Most of the students who attended were sophomores, along with a few transfer students. Themed “Navigating the New World of Work,” the conference included speakers and sessions such as “Tuning In: Fine-Tuning Your Career First Impressions and Communication Skills” and “Job Search 2.0.” Jeremy Schifeling, author of LinkedIn and Chat GPT for Careers, spoke on key strategies for using the most advanced techniques for a job search.

“The LinkedIn/Chat GPT event blew me away,” said Caroline White, who is double majoring in accounting and mathematical economics. “I thought my LinkedIn profile was decent prior to Q-camp. However, I quickly learned through this interactive presentation where the search engine draws its data and how to modify my profile to better position myself for future job and internship searches.”

 “The content was timely, relevant, and hands-on,” said Shelley Burns, director of the Center for Professional Skills & Development at the Robins School of Business. “We work to establish a culture of psychological safety, so students feel comfortable trying employer-desired career readiness skills in a supportive environment.”