Beyond the Paycheck: The Advantages of Part-Time Jobs for Students

Beyond the Paycheck: The Advantages of Part-Time Jobs for Students

By University Career Center Staff

You may be looking for a part-time job (on or off campus) for living expenses or to assist with tuition costs, but there are more benefits to a part-time job than just earning money!  

Beyond the Paycheck


1. You will learn how to manage your money. 

By earning a paycheck, you will learn how to make decisions about spending money on what you need or want. Additionally, you can start to build up long-term savings.

2. You will develop transferable skills. 

Even if your part-time job is not in the exact field you want to work in, you still can develop transferable skills including communication, critical thinking, leadership, professionalism, and many more. Developing your career readiness skills is extremely important as you work with people of various backgrounds and personalities. These skills will transfer both into your personal and professional life. 

3. You will improve your time management skills. 

Having a job, making time for friends, going to on-campus events, doing homework, and going to class seems like a lot to juggle, but it is helping strengthen your time management skills. By understanding the limited time you have and planning ahead, you will be able to complete necessary tasks and enjoy the activities you want to do.  

4. You will meet new people and build a professional network. 

Any job you work will allow you to meet and network with new people including customers and other employees. You never know who you may meet or where a conversation could lead so make sure to introduce yourself! 

5. You will gain work experience.

Employers generally want to hire someone with work experience, even if it is not in their specific field. Having part-time work experience can add something to your resume, but more importantly, make you more attractive to employers as you have an understanding of the world of work. 

6. You will learn what interests you. 

A part-time job allows you to try out different tasks, hone new skills, and learn about different occupations. A part-time job may spark an interest in a new career field or might cause you to pause and reconsider previous career plans. Working in the Student Activities Center may interest you in event planning as a career, or working in retail might help you realize that sales is not the career path for you.

All experience is valuable experience whether it is part-time, temporary, or seasonal!

New Student Resource for International Opportunities

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – The University of Louisville is excited to announce a valuable addition to the online resources available to students: GoinGlobalThis innovative platform provides students of all nationalities with the tools to fast track their career exploration by offering full-time employment and internship opportunities, job search information, cultural advice, and more for over 120 worldwide locations. International students can use the H1B Plus database to research US employers who have hired international talent. The implementation of GoinGlobal at the University of Louisville is the result of a collaborative effort between the International Center, College of Business Ulmer Career Center, Speed School of Engineering Career Services & Cooperative Education, and the University Career Center.  

GoinGlobal is renowned for its constantly updated and expert resources designed to ease the transition into new locations, whether it is for moving across the world or embarking on a global adventure. By offering GoinGlobal to students, the University of Louisville is reinforcing its commitment to fostering global awareness and providing the resources necessary to empower students in their career pursuits.   

Paul Hofmann, Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs, believes GoinGlobal will introduce UofL students to job opportunities around the world 

“Given the interconnected nature of the global economy, UofL graduates will increasingly find themselves working for companies with worldwide operations,” Hofmann said. This platform will allow students to explore the wide range of employment opportunities that exist overseas.  

Some of the outstanding features that GoinGlobal offers include: 

  • Country and City Career Guides: Provides information for over 120 locations worldwide authored by local employment experts to provide invaluable insights into job markets and other information such as cultural practices, work permits, job searching, resume and curriculum vitae recommendations, and more. 

  • Global Job & Internship Search: Access to a vast database of over 16 million job and internship postings, updated daily, which can be searched in both the local language and English. 

  • Key Employer Directory: Detailed profiles and key contact information for more than 450,000 local and multinational companies spanning 196 countries. 

  • H1B Visa/OPT Resources: Assistance for international students in identifying US employers that have submitted H1B visa applications in the past, along with OPT-friendly employer records and guidelines. 

  • CultureWizard: Complimentary access to a culture assessment that assists students in effectively engaging across cultures. This platform offers self-assessment tools, quizzes, videos, webinars, and culture guides for 160 countries. 

Students at the University can now access GoinGlobal through multiple entry points by either logging into Cardinal Careers from anywhere in the world and navigating to the resources tab or by accessing from any computer while on campus. 

Bill Fletcher, Director of the University Career Center, highlights the significance of GoinGlobal as a valuable tool for acquiring the essential career competencies as outlined in the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education's 10 Essential Skills 

“The CultureWizard offered by GoinGlobal aids students in enhancing their cultural competency, while also fostering skills such as communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and collaboration,” Fletcher said. 

With this new tool, students can gain a competitive edge in their job search, study abroad planning, and international career exploration. The implementation of GoinGlobal marks a significant step forward in enhancing the global competencies of our students and opening doors to a world of opportunities. We are excited to witness the positive impact this resource will have on our student body as they navigate their paths to success. 

More information is on the UCC GoinGlobal webpage.  

Beware of Fraudulent Job Postings

By Morgan Flynn, Communication Graduate Assistant

As the fall semester kicks off, this period often finds some of you seeking part-time employment to support your education expenses, while others are about to graduate and embark on the journey to secure their first entry-level job. Consequently, the job market tends to be busy during this time of year, but it also brings a surge in fraudulent activities.  

While it is exciting to be launching your career, looking for your first internship or entry-level job, or graduating, it’s also a time for you to be vigilant. That’s because typically this is also a time of year when fraudsters circulate fake job opportunities.  

Most employment scams utilize the Internet and often involve email to potential victims.  Here are some signs that you should exercise extreme caution: 

  • High pay with little work 
  • Requirements that you cash checks and wire money 
  • Poor grammar or punctuation 
  • Offers of a job without even interviewing you 
  • “Website” is actually an email address 
  • The office listed does not exist by that name and/or no employer information is listed 
  • No telephone number or physical address is listed 
  • The presence of "USA" in the address suggests that the message may originate from a different location. 

Additionally, some of the some of the fraudulent emails will inaccurately mention receiving your resume or personal information from the Career Center or Cardinal Careers as a way to hook you into responding. The University Career Center does not share your resume or personal information.  

Ultimately, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. 

You can avoid becoming a victim by pro-actively searching for positions utilizing established career management platforms and job listings, and employing other savvy job search practices like networking. The UofL career centers including Business, Engineering, Law and the University Career Center urge you to think critically and be vigilant as you search for jobs or internships, so you don’t fall prey to scammers.  

If you receive a phishing or scam email through your UofL email account, you can report it to Information Technology Services (ITS) by following these steps: 

  1. Click on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the email 
  2. Choose Report option 
  3. Click Report Phishing 

Here are some resources to help you protect yourself:  

And, if you ever feel a position is questionable but you are not sure, please contact the University Career Center and ask! 

Transforming Trauma: A Student's Dedication to Empowering Children


By Morgan Flynn, Communication Graduate Assistant 

Sarah Spicer is a junior from Shelbyville, KY pursuing a double major in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, aiming to graduate in the Spring of 2024. Their academic journey at UofL has been enriched by coursework, professors, and on-campus resources that have assisted in preparing them for their future career. 

 One invaluable resource for them was their Career Coach, Erin Heakin, at the University Career Center, who guided them in identifying their ideal career path. "My Career Coach helped me figure out the career that I want to go into,” they said. 

In May 2022, Spicer started a new position as a Direct Care Worker at Maryhurst, the oldest nonprofit in the state of Kentucky that works to prevent abuse, restore hope, and empower survivors. This transformative experience helped to cement their passion for making a difference.  

As a Direct Care Worker at Maryhurst, their responsibilities include supervising and assisting clients during their daily routines. The most rewarding aspect of their internship was the profound impact they had on the lives of the clients they worked with. "Feeling like I have made a difference in the lives of the clients that I work with" was a source of immense satisfaction for them. 

Reflecting on their time so far at Maryhurst, they found every day to be unique, a testament to the importance of their work. This internship provided them with valuable insights, ultimately shaping their career aspirations.  

"I have learned so much about working and interacting with children who have experienced trauma and abuse, which has helped me figure out that I want to work with children who have experienced trauma and abuse as a therapist," Spicer said. 

Looking ahead, Spicer intends to pursue a Master's in Social Work and become a Child Therapist, using their experiences and knowledge to make a lasting impact on the lives of vulnerable children. 

For fellow students searching for internships or jobs, they have valuable advice: "Reach out to your Career Coach and use the resources the Career Center offers."  

More information about internships and jobs can be found on the University Career Center website. Students can talk with theirprogram’s internship coordinator about possible internship opportunities and academic credit. Additionally, students can use Cardinal Careers to find current internship and job opportunities. 

Internship Empowering Future Community Advocate

By Morgan Flynn, Communication Graduate Assistant  

Aiko Jones is a current graduate student from Kingston, Jamaica with a unique academic background. She holds both a B.A. in Biology and a B.A. in Communication from the University of Louisville and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Communication. Alongside her academic pursuits, Jones is a member of the Volleyball team. Beyond her role as a student-athlete, she is committed to forging a career path that leverages various mediums of communicationto bring about meaningful change within her community. 

 Jones completed an internship in the Spring of 2023 as a Communication Intern at The Backside Learning Center of Churchill Downs, an independent non-profit organization providing support and resources for racetrack workers and their families. They offer programs centered around educational support for both adults and youth, health and wellness, human services and more. 

Her responsibilities included assisting the BLC team with event streaming and coverage, organizing records in Microsoft Excel, TikTok strategy and content, and managing the social media initiatives for the Purses for a Purpose program, an initiative providing horse owners a way to give back to those who are the backbone of the horseracing industry. 

Reflecting on her internship experience, Jones shared, "The most rewarding aspect of working at the BLC was contributing to the well-being of racetrack workers and their families, recognizing their often-unacknowledged contributions to the city of Louisville." 

Among the many memorable moments during her internship, one particularly stood out: a morning when she observed the horses' training and gained valuable insights into manual mode photography techniques. She called it a "two-for-one opportunity." 

Jones attributes her success during the internship to the guidance and teachings of her professors in the Communication Department. Their valuable insights equipped her with the skills needed to excel, bridging the gap between her diverse academic background and the requirements of the non-profit sector. She noted, "My professors in the Communication department provided me with skills applicable across various domains, including the non-profit sector. The well-rounded knowledge I gained from my courses enabled me to effectively assist underserved immigrant communities." 

In the future, Jones hopes to create meaningful change within the community through digital storytelling and content creation. “The BLC internship taught me tangible techniques and a great wealth of people skills that will help me as I continue to build my portfolio as a creator and storyteller.” 

She offers advice to students looking for an internship or job, “Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. Be honest with your employer about your experience and be willing to learn new things.”   

More information about internships can be found on the University Career Center website. Students can talk with their program’s internship coordinator about possible opportunities and academic credit. Additionally, students can use Cardinal Careers to find current internship position listings/opportunities. 

Be Aware of Latest Scam!

Scam Alert

Be Aware of Latest Scam Targeting UofL Students

Several students have reported a fraudulent email they have received.  The sender claimed to be a representative of Universal Health Services and stated they were impressed with the student's recent resume upload into Cardinal Careers.  If you received this email, do not reply. They do not represent the employer and they do not have access to your resume in Cardinal Careers.

The fraudulent email encourages students to set up a Chatwork account and add their email address. In that process, it asked for banking information. Never, give out your banking or financial information in the job search process!

Other signs it is not legitimate:

  • Email addressed to "candidate" and not addressing student by name
  • Email does not disclose the name of the person sending it
  • The email address does not match the email address of that organization 
  • Email address ends in .org and real organization is .com
  • Salary is unrealistically high at $30.50 to $50.50 an hour
  • Misuse of capitalization
  • Position is not identified and only described as remote or on-campus, full-time or part-time

If you receive a phishing or scam email through your UofL email account, you can report it to Information Technology Services (ITS) by following these steps:

  1. Click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner of the email
  2. Choose Report option
  3. Click Report Phishing

More information on Safe Job Hunting can be found at:

If you have any questions about this or other questionable opportunities, please contact the University Career Center by email at or phone at (502) 852-6701.

Big Interview Advice

Big Interview

(Big) Interview Advice

Pamela Skillings, chief coach and co-founder of Big Interview, pinpoints her top five rules that you shouldn’t break when interviewing.

1. Don’t lie (and don’t over exaggerate skills or proficiencies)

The employer will figure it out and it will only end poorly for you. Instead of lying about your perceived shortcomings, emphasize how you plan to improve them.

2. Answer every question (don’t dodge or avoid)

Don’t dodge a question or answer with another question. Still, you want to make sure you know which questions are illegal for interviewers to ask you. Interview questions can sometimes be difficult to answer directly and fully, Interview Q &A can help you navigate those scenarios.  

3. Highlight your ROI  (ROI: return on investment)

Emphasize how you are the best fit for the position. Clearly communicate what you can bring to the table by incorporating key requirements and skills from the job description into your interview. Explain how your previous experiences allowed you to develop the desired qualifications.

4. Think about how you use “I” and “We” (teamwork matters but the interview is about you)

The ability to work well on a team is important, but you will need to be able to pinpoint your individual achievements that helped your team reach a goal. Tell a short story to describe a problem or obstacle and highlight how your contribution and/or initiative helped the team succeed.

5. Show your personality (be your best professional self)

Don’t hide who you are as this has the potential to come across as fake to your interviewer. Be confident and true to yourself. Only the companies that understand and appreciate you for who you are deserve to have you on their team.


Source: Skillings, Pamela. Big Interview email, Feb 14, 2023. “Job Interview Rules You Actually Need to Stick to”

New Career Platform

Cardinal Careers Powered by Symplicity

The University Career Center has joined the Business and Engineering career centers in using Cardinal Careers powered by SymplicityThis change better serves students and employers by centralizing all opportunities under one universal career platform along with the Center for Engaged Learning.

Cardinal Careers contains all postings including full-time positions, internships, Federal Work-study, part-time jobs on and off campus, and mentored research. Additionally, it contains all career-related events including career fairs, employer information sessions, and workshops. 

Students should log in immediately using their ULink credentials and complete their profiles. All students are encouraged to have their resumes reviewed by their career center.  Students served by the University Career Center can use the Document Drop Program on the UCC's website. Alumni can click on the image below, then click on the red Sign-Up button to create an alumni account.

Cardinal Careers Student Login

Employers and campus departments who hire students can create their accounts by following the instructions on the UCC website. Campus Departments who wish to hire Federal Work Study students should follow the instructions from the Office of Financial Aid.

The Implementation Team for Cardinal Careers consisted of members from the University Career Center, Ulmer Career Management Center in the College of Business, Speed School Engineering Career Services and Co-op, Center for Engaged Learning, UofL Information Technology Services, and Symplicity Corporation.  The Implementation Team met regularly for the past eight months to achieve the January 2023 launch goal.  During this time, UCC staff was busy training on the new system.  Implementation team members from the four centers will continue to meet to refine policies and procedures and implement new features throughout the year.  

Now that Cardinal Careers is fully functional, the old Handshake platform will close for students on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, at 12:00 pm.


UofL Sophomore’s Internship Experience Points to a Passion

UofL Sophomore’s Internship Experience Points to a Passion

By: Kristen Dethloff

Some students enter higher education with a clear career path in front of them. Other students are less certain when it comes to their future and use their time in college to explore potential fields or careers. Internships can be an invaluable resource to students looking for direction, and they may be lucky enough to find an internship that clears up the confusion. 


Olivia Roth

Olivia Roth is a sophomore from Owensboro, KY majoring in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. With her expected graduation date in May 2025, she has plenty of time to explore her career options. However, Roth is not one to let an opportunity for work experience pass her by. In the summer of 2022, she completed a 3-month, full-time internship with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department of Homeland Security. “I was on the Workforce Planning Team which is a part of HR. It’s a mixture of IO Psychology and HR, but it’s really interesting and I really loved it.”

IO Psychology is the acronym for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which centers on psychology in the workplace. Roth’s primary responsibilities were to determine the ideal competencies, qualities, knowledge, and skills a candidate should have for a position within the organization. With different positions come different criteria, which also meant Roth was able to dip her toe into IO Psychology research.

Roth secured this internship within a government agency partially by accident but has never looked back. She reports that she was mass-applying for internships on the University Career Center’s job platform and out of more than fifty applications, received only four interviews. “It was offered through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education so I was contracted through them. They were offering a bunch of different internship positions and it was one of the few psychology openings I found so I was fortunate enough to get it.”

Before her summer experience, Roth knew that she wanted to pursue a career in psychology, but she was not quite sure which subfield was the right fit for her. “I’d never considered IO Psychology. I didn’t know what it was before this internship and now I’m really leaning towards pursuing it with a Ph.D. program after I graduate.”

In addition to steering her in a career direction, Roth’s summer internship has impacted other facets of her life. Olivia is also on track to become a Research Assistant with the Psychology Department at UofL after having such a positive experience with the Department of Homeland Security. She is the Vice President of the Kentucky Public Health Association as well as a member of the Commonwealth Policy Coalition on campus. Within both of these organizations, she is spearheading movements and influencing policies about work roles, which she believes stems from her internship experience.

“I would 100% recommend it to anyone. I think I’ve learned invaluable things through my internship, things I would never have experienced even throughout my whole career. It really opened my eyes and, I mean, it changed my career path. Also, I got to talk to a lot of different people across the department, the agency… I even got to talk directly to the director.” What advice does Roth have for fellow students when it comes to experiential learning? “Don’t be discouraged by the nos. You just have to wait and look for the one that is the right fit for you. It’s easy to fall down that path and get discouraged, but you’ll end up where you belong. I believe I got the best internship for me.” 

From Movie Set to Local News Station, this UofL Senior Utilized UCC Resources and Maximized Success!


By: Isabel Abarca

Senior communication major, Haley Sullivan, spent the spring and summer of 2022 pursuing her dream career. Haley expects to graduate in December 2022 and her experiences during her senior year have helped shape her career aspirations for life after college.

Haley Sullivan

In the spring of 2022, Haley worked on a movie set as a production assistant where she supported the production office, manager, and producers. She also managed various administrative tasks that facilitated the success of the production. After the film wrapped up in June, Haley stepped into an internship role at the local news station, WLKY. She worked in the Creative Services Department and learned to create commercials for Louisville businesses as well as promotional ads for the station.

The internship with WLKY was acquired through Haley’s acceptance to the Emma Bowen Fellowship program, a program suggested by her Career Coach, Erin Heakin. Haley first met with Erin early in her junior year, and has continued to utilize the University Career Center’s (UCC) resources ever since.

“Erin is an amazing career counselor. She is always ready to listen to my frustrations with job hunting and offers good advice on how to move forward. She told me about the Emma Bowen Fellowship, a program that offers paid media and tech internships for students of color. After being accepted into the program, I interned with WLKY and was able to learn about commercial production and the television industry.”

Throughout Haley’s time on the movie set and with the local news station, she quickly learned the value and importance of making connections. “While I appreciate the skills I’ve learned during these opportunities, I mostly appreciate the people that I have met through them. Hearing their stories and advice on navigating career and life has helped me confirm my career path and opened the door for similar work opportunities down the road.”

These experiences have helped Haley look at her future with some clarity – she knows she would like to work in the television and film industry after college. Through these opportunities,

Haley is already booked as a production assistant for another movie, was nominated by WLKY for a new producer’s fellowship through Hearst Television, and has been offered a position as producer post-graduation.

Her advice to fellow students? “Always advocate for yourself. You know your worth, the skills you have, and why you deserve the best. Make sure you get the most out of an internship for your needs.”

Recent Graduate Uses Internship as Springboard to Career



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Before the spring semester of 2022, Oliver Kratholm was not sure of the direction he wanted to travel for a career, even though graduation was only months away.  However, after an internship with a mental health provider, Kratholm found his calling.

The Louisville native graduated in May with a BS degree in Psychology.  During the spring semester, Kratholm enrolled in the PSYC 407—Community Internship course and after looking into options, he decided to work with Seven Counties Services.  Seven Counties serves Louisville and surrounding counties with mental and behavioral health services, substance abuse treatment, and intellectual and developmental disabilities services.  

 Intern-Oliver Kratholm

Oliver Kratholm

Kratholm’s responsibilities included helping prepare therapy materials for counselors and therapists, organizing treatment guides, brainstorming/creating new therapeutic aids, and more. “A large portion of my time was also spent shadowing therapists and the psychologists in their work, which provided great exposure to different types of treatment plans and interventions.”

Kratholm said that first-hand exposure to the clinical setting was rewarding and enlightening.  “Being able to shadow professionals as they work with a variety of clients with different mental health concerns really sparked my interest for pursuing further education and a career in the field.” 

The relationships that Kratholm developed opened an immediate opportunity as well.  At the conclusion of the internship, he continued on with Seven Counties and also is doing work with a research lab at UofL Kratholm plans to eventually return to school to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Kratholm’s only regret is that he did not do an internship earlier in his academic career.  He suggests all UofL students take the plunge to do an internship or co-op. “While an internship might not be for everybody, I think it can be incredibly worthwhile for students who are unsure of where they want to take their education or career. There is no substitute for first-hand experience in an area of potential interest.”

If you want to hear about other student internships, the University Career Center posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experience.  You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review a virtual workshop Interning 101. If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  

Gender Pay Inequity A Problem From Day One


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Women continue to earn less than their male counterparts. And a new research study indicates the gap begins as female graduates exit college and start their careers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that overall, women earn 82% of what men make.  And now, research from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) also shows a very similar entry-level salary gap of 18.4% ($52,266 on average for women in entry-level positions versus $64,022 earned by men). 

Given the entry-level salary gap mirrors the overall gap, NACE executive director Shawn VanDerziel said an important conclusion becomes obvious. “Our study dispels the myth that the gender pay gap results from women prioritizing family over career and thus begins later. We’re seeing the disparity right at the beginning of a woman’s career.”

The NACE study also shows that field of study does not fully explain why men earn more than women.  According to VanDerziel, “What we found is that academic major accounts for some but not all of the disparity. Moreover, one has to consider whether women choose lower-paying majors or whether certain majors are lower-paying because women dominate. There is a compelling case that gender discrimination underlies the gap.”

The Chief Economist at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Nicole Smith, describes the phenomenon of women pursuing degrees that pay less (like teaching and nursing for example) as “occupational segregation.”  Smith said, “Yes, it is a personal decision, but it’s also driven by socioeconomic challenges, and it is also driven by expectations about what roles women should play in society.”

Still, Smith like VanDerziel notes that gender discrimination appears to be a factor.  Supporting that conclusion, her team found that among individuals in the same industries with the same jobs and exact same level of education, women earn only about 92% of what men make.  

So, VanDerziel and other labor market observers urge organizations to take concrete steps to alleviate the gender pay gap.  “First, standardize pay and eliminate the discretion to set salaries for new hires. And, second, conduct an annual pay-equity analysis to determine if there are salary differentials correlated to gender or race/ethnicity, and, if so, take immediate action where needed.”

The NACE research about the gender pay gap comes from their analysis of 2020 college graduates’ first entry-level jobs. NACE received data from 342 universities across the nation, encompassing 750,000+ students (at the associate, bachelor’s master’s, and doctoral levels). 

Employers Think Students Lack in Key Characteristics


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Students need to be working on some key traits that, according to employers, are lacking. That’s a key takeaway from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) and their 2022 job outlook study.

NACE surveyed employers of all sizes from across the country about “career readiness competencies,” the importance of these attributes, and what they believe to be the level of student proficiency for each competency.  The study indicates that students should pay special attention to improving their critical thinking, communication skills, and professionalism, the three attributes with the widest gaps between employer perceptions of importance and student proficiency.

The vast majority of employers responding to the survey rated critical thinking and communication as “very” to “extremely important” (See Figure 1 below).  But only a little more than half of the respondents rated recent graduates either “very proficient” or “extremely proficient” in these competencies. (See Figure 2 below). The professionalism competency also showed a substantial gap between employer perceptions of importance and proficiency.

An assistant director/career coach at the UofL University Career Center, Mallory Newby, suggests that students begin their efforts to improve in these areas first with a healthy dose of self-reflection.  “We use various tools such as assessments (Strong Interest Inventory, Focus II, MBTI) to help students discover not only interests but also their innate preferences such as work style, learning environment, leadership style, and team orientation.  This helps students to not only discover more about who they are but also gives them the knowledge to share that information with their supervisors and peers. In addition, it will naturally help students to confidently navigate internship experiences and opportunities for improvement of critical thinking, communication skills, and professionalism.”

The NACE job outlook survey is a forecast of the hiring intentions of employers as they relate to new college graduates. Data from 157 respondents were collected from August 18, 2021, through October 1, 2021.  Full results of employer perceptions regarding the gaps between importance and proficiency are contained in the tables below.

Liberal Arts Majors Getting Into Technology



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Think you have to be a computer or math major to get involved in the technology field?  Wrong!  Increasingly, students with degrees in areas ranging from Art to Communication, Pan African Studies to Sociology, are finding opportunities in technology.

While some observers of the job market argue that getting a tech-oriented degree is the best way to thrive in the technology-driven economy, an increasing chorus of voices are suggesting that not everyone has to become a coder or software engineer.  Author Dan Schawbel, writing on LinkedIn, each year forecasts a list of workplace trends.  He foresees increasing demand for liberal arts students from majors like literature, philosophy and history to work in the technology fields.  

Schawbel said, “AI will automate technical skills and drive the demand for soft skills like creativity, communication and empathy. While there's been such a focus on recruiting STEM over the past several years, those majors will continue to lose relevance, while liberal arts majors will become more valuable to companies moving forward.”

But this trend is not just a prognostication; it is already reality.  Indeed, many tech-company CEOs today earned these types of degrees, relying on the critical thinking and communication skills they learned in liberal arts.

UofL students will have the chance soon to learn more about this trend and the technology opportunities that exist in the job market for liberal arts majors.  Hear from professionals that work in technology and have degrees in such majors as Biology, Art Education, History, English, Communication, Pan African Studies, Sociology and Anthropology. Learn about their professional journey, how they utilize skills from their undergraduate degree and advice on how to start a career in technology and startups.


Wednesday, March 30th (new date)
4- 5:30 pm
Log into Handshake for more information and to register. 


Employers Looking for Students to Solve Problems


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

More than any other attribute, employers first and foremost are looking for problem-solving skills from entry-level job applicants.  That’s according to a new National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey of employers from across the country. 

NACE asked organizations what they are looking for on the resumes of students they are recruiting. A total of 157 organizations of all sizes responded to the survey. Nearly 86% of those responding listed problem-solving skills.  Analytical/quantitative skills came in second (78.6%), and ability to work as part of a team was third (76.3%). These same three attributes (problem-solving, analytical, and teamwork) were in the top three last year as well.

The biggest increase in what employers are looking for on resumes (compared to 2021 results) was for the attribute of detail orientation (up 6.5% from 2021).  Employers are also putting more emphasis on a strong work ethic, up 5.6% to 70%.  

A career coach at the UofL University Career Center, Rosie Shannon, said students preparing for the job market should pay attention to these results as they fine tune their resumes.  “Students should always tailor their resume to show the employer how they are a good fit for the job opportunity.  Most importantly students should read the job description carefully and make a list of the attributes/skills needed for that particular position, and then be sure to list those attributes/skills on their resume.  These attributes can be listed in the student's ‘summary profile’ section or listed in short bullet statements in their work experience section, highlighting their accomplishments utilizing these skills.”

The full results of the NACE study on important resume attributes is included in the table below. 

 NACE Resume Attributes

Internship Leads to Career and Possible Business Ownership


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Tina Nguyen is moving rapidly on a career path to own an insurance agency.  But when she first started an internship with a local insurance office, that idea never crossed her mind. 


Nguyen was a Marketing major at UofL with a minor in Management.  She had no real idea what she wanted to do with her degree when she found an insurance sales internship through a marketing class in the College of Business. Nguyen quickly found her footing working for Adam Waldner’s local State Farm agency. “I really liked how I was allowed to shadow people who were actually doing the job so I could see what it would be like. I liked that even though I was the intern, I was a front-line person and had a hand involved with the business because they allowed me to do the prospecting side to sales. I learned a lot from it, from learning to talk to people, to connecting and building a trust relationship with customers.”

Working as an intern with Waldner and his wife Megan Imel (a UofL BA in Communication/BFA in Studio Art, class of 2011), Nguyen finally found what she had been looking for. “I came to the realization during the internship that this sales role was for me and I did see myself making a career out of it.”

And when Megan Imel decided to open her own State Farm agency, she offered a job to Nguyen. Imel said, “Tina’s work ethic was leaps and bounds beyond any other intern or recent grad that I had interacted with. She came in each day ready to work, and when she was done with the tasks that we asked of her, she asked for us to assign more. She also had a great attitude when it came to being coached.”

Imel said that Nguyen’s internship was a major factor in her hiring decision.  Now, both Imel and her husband make most of their hires for full-time staff from interns who learn about the details and regulations of the business during their experience and then can hit the ground running as they start full-time work.  So, while Imel is a proponent of internships for that reason, she also looks at the internship experience from another perspective.  “I think internships are a great way for people to find out if they do NOT want to stay in certain industries after college. It’s a good way to try out careers without becoming the dreaded ‘job hopper,’ that employers sometimes steer clear of.”

So, Tina Nguyen graduated from UofL in December, 2019 after completing the internship and immediately started her first job. Now only two years later, she is on the fast track in the insurance industry. “My career plan moving forward is to own my own State Farm office in the next 5 years or so.” 

While not all internship positions like Tina Nguyen’s lead to full-time jobs and the possibility of your own business, there are many other reasons why you should think now about doing an internship this spring or summer. More information about internships can be found on the University Career Center website.  You should also talk with your program’s internship coordinator about possible opportunities and academic credit. And if you really want to get a jump on things now, look at some current internship position listings/opportunities on the UofL Handshake career management platform. 

More Research Highlights Importance of Internships


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

We’ve heard repeatedly that employers value student internship experiences.  The results of a new survey clearly indicate that student internship experience can in fact become a deciding factor in hiring decisions.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed employers across the country during fall, 2021.  A total of 157 organizations of varying sizes responded to the survey.  Based on the results, NACE reports internships are the most influential factors in a hiring decision when a company chooses between two otherwise equally-qualified candidates.

The study actually distinguished between an internship with the company looking to hire and an internship within that organization’s specific industry. Those factors were the only two that employers consider to have “very much influence.” The full results of the study are in this table:

NACE said the drop in the influence of grade point average has been precipitous the last several years and that decline continued in this study, as did the influence of a candidate holding a leadership position.  NACE notes, however, that the influence of both internship attributes, while at the top of deciding factors, has also waned slightly since 2020.  

Nonetheless, the director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said this study again offers concrete evidence that students who want an edge in the job market need to keep internship and co-ops at the top of their to-do list. “There are many benefits to these experiences including exploring particular career paths, applying knowledge gained in the classroom, building skill sets, and networking to name a few. This study reinforces again that employers think internship-oriented experiences are highly desirable and provides yet another reason why UofL is giving more emphasis to ‘engaged learning.’”

More information about internships can be found on the University Career Center website. Students who are interested in an internship or co-op should talk with their program coordinator to discuss academic credit and potential assistance in seeking a position. Some current internship position listings/opportunities are available on Handshake





Intern Advances Medical Interest While Learning About Society



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL pre-med student has been able to apply what he learned in the classroom through his internship with an area medical clinic.  But he has also discovered important lessons about our society through the experience.  Thomas Seebold will graduate in May with a major in Anthropology and minor in Spanish, and he has been interning with the Mercy Medical Clinic in Shelbyville.


Thomas Seebold

The Lexington senior (who thankfully claims to be a long-time Cardinal fan!) is serving as a foreign language interpreter at the clinic. Even though his formal internship has ended, he plans to continue to volunteer there until graduation.

Through the internship, Seebold realized how important the clinic is to those who don’t have insurance.  “The most impactful aspect of my internship was seeing how much one clinic can impact a community. Before going into my internship, I had a general grasp on the healthcare disparities faced by the Hispanic/Latinx community here in Kentucky, but my experience gave me firsthand experience regarding the ways in which these disparities can be mitigated. It gave me the opportunity to feel like I was making a difference, even if it was just one person at a time.”

Seebold said the internship provided hands-on clinical hours for his resumé, which will benefit him as he applies to medical schools. Beyond that, “The experience gave me assurance that I belong in the medical field, and the connections I made there gave me even more motivation to succeed and achieve my goals of becoming a doctor. Before this semester, I didn't realize how much an internship could affect my professional and personal development. This opportunity gave me a window into my possible future and helped me develop many skills that I know will be useful regardless of my career path.”

Seebold advises any student, regardless of major or career goals, to take the time to do an internship. There are many internship opportunities available to UofL students, so you can have the same kind of great experience that Thomas had.  Be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator about possible opportunities and academic credit. More information about internships can be found on the University Career Center website. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake. 


TV News Career Opens to UofL Grad After Internship


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As you read this, recent UofL graduate Ian Lewis is in the first few weeks of his career as a photojournalist for WHAS-TV in Louisville.  But Lewis would not have received this job, were it not for the internship he did in fall, 2021 during his last semester at the University.


Ian Lewis on the job for MetroTV

The Paducah, Kentucky native decided on majoring in Communication during his sophomore year. His Communication degree required an internship and based on his coursework, Lewis decided to look for a position in TV news during his senior year.  But first, he worked with the University Career Center to get prepared.  "In meetings with Erin Heakin, my career coach, we reviewed my resume, cover letters, and emails. We also searched for potential positions. The search started in late winter, early 2021, and ended in the middle of summer. It was a difficult process; many places didn't respond to me. But Erin helped me to continue to move forward.”

Lewis ended up with an internship with MetroTV, the broadcast branch of Louisville Metro Government. The experience was the epitome of the term, “hands-on.” Lewis said, “My internship with Louisville MetroTV allowed me to create my own stories on camera for the first time. The novelty never wore off. I was able to choose my stories with total discretion and offered complete creative control over the final product. Always, my mentors there provided support, guidance, and feedback whenever I needed it. And as someone learning a camera for the first time, I needed it a lot. Especially the feedback.”

When it came time to graduate, Lewis continued to work with Erin Heakin and the University Career Center to look for a full-time job, focusing on updating his LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to be professional. He found an opportunity with WHAS-TV and said he would not have received the job, were it not for his MetroTV internship. “The opportunity to develop a portfolio under the guidance of time-tested storytellers was invaluable. It was the portfolio that landed me a job with a local news station, but the career insights I received from my mentors were just as much a factor in pushing me towards the news industry.”

And so it should not be surprising that Ian Lewis thinks all students should pursue an internship, no matter the obstacles. “It wasn't easy. There were times when I worked two jobs at once to afford this opportunity. Without a doubt, it was worth it, and I recommend the experience to anyone considering it.”

You can have a great internship experience just like Ian Lewis. More information about internships can be found on the University Career Center website. If you are interested in an internship during the spring or upcoming summer semester, be sure to talk now with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.

UofL Intern Helps The Community

UofL Intern Helps The Community

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

A UofL graduate is continuing her internship experience with a local non-profit before entering a graduate school program.  Heba Aljumaily from Louisville graduated with a B.S. in Psychology last May, but has continued working with the UofL Resilient Families Project since graduation. 

Heba Aljumaily

Heba Aljumaily 

The Resilient Families Project (RFP) works to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness as well as women in drug and alcohol recovery programs.  Aljumaily interned with RFP through a Psychology course taught by program director Dr. Lora Haynes. 

Due to the pandemic, she was initially involved in remote program planning and development and then later was able to serve as a lead in RFP's Adult Program. Aljumaily also traveled throughout the city to help our community’s needy.  “I helped conduct a ‘Homeless Shelter Experience’ survey among homeless individuals in the streets of Louisville through RFP. I loved the opportunity to serve the most vulnerable in the city. It's been a joy to lead and interact with the women of the program, and most importantly provide support and friendship at this point in their recovery journey.”

Beyond providing an important service to the community, Aljumaily benefitted personally from her internship experience. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in RFP because it has given me a sense of clarity to what I'd like to do regarding my career path. It's reassured me that I enjoy the field of psychology and I do want to enter a profession where I can help people.” 

And so Aljumaily has applied to various graduate programs, including UofL's M.Ed. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Through her experience, Heba Aljumaily has become a big proponent of internships.  “I absolutely think every student should do internships or volunteer within their major or career field! This is an experience that every student should take advantage of to gain exposure to the real-world and see where their interest lies.” 

If you are interested in the Resilient Families Project, contact Professor Lora Haynes ( More general information about internships can be found on the University Career Center website. If you are interested in an internship during the upcoming spring or summer semesters, be sure to talk now with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.


Recent Graduate Capitalizes On Internship

Recent Graduate Capitalizes On Internship

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A December UofL graduate used a final semester internship to advance her interests in helping others while at the same time building on her foreign language skills. Shanga Mwenda immigrated from Kenya six years ago and just graduated with an individualized major in Intercultural Advocacy as well as a minor in Spanish.

 Shanga Mwenda

Shanga Mwenda

Mwenda did a social services internship at the Backside Learning Center, a non-profit that assists track workers at Churchill Downs.  “The Backside Learning Center provides educational opportunities and resources the workers need to thrive. My work mostly consisted of translation and assisting the staff in the social services department with case management, the food distribution program, and outreach to the community. 

Mwenda was especially appreciative of the opportunity to build on knowledge she gained in the classroom at UofL and working closely with the Center staff. “They are passionate about their work and happy to answer questions. It allowed me to learn a lot about the different roles and paths to working in a non-profit, which I hope to do in the future. My Spanish also greatly improved. This is a great skill to have in any field and is advantageous as a job or graduate school applicant.”

Mwenda was so successful during her internship that, “I did receive a longer-term full-time job offer, and I am excited to have more conversations about that with my superiors.”  In the meantime, she has additional plans post-graduation.  “In the spring, I plan to intern at my church and assist the college ministry staff in planning the summer missions program. In the fall, I hope to start my Masters in Counseling and Personnel Services at UofL.” 

Mwenda advises all UofL students to do an internship or co-op before graduation. “It exposes you to the field you are interested in and helps you discern your strengths, weaknesses, and values in the workplace. An internship also gives you the opportunity to see the ins and outs of the career you are interested in, which can be motivational to keep pursuing it, or could serve as redirection to another career path or passion.”

Shanga Mwenda had a great internship experience and you can, too! More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website. If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.

Making Remote Interviewing and Jobs More Comfortable


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

One of the outgrowths of the COVID-19 pandemic has been more remote/virtual work than ever before.  Along with that, more organizations are recruiting and interviewing job candidates remotely.  National consulting company Gartner reports 86% of organizations are now using video conferencing tools and other virtual technology to interview candidates.  

For some of you, it may be the first time interviewing remotely.  But some employers are now trying to make that experience comfortable for you.  LinkedIn says there’s a number of things organizations can do to make you feel good about them and minimize your virtual apprehension.  Here’s what you might encounter.  

Some organizations are increasingly offering support and guidance even before you apply for a position.  The information you find as you prepare to apply can greatly influence your perception of the organization in a positive manner.  Pre-application resources like tips on getting started in that industry and writing strong applications, and employees discussing team-building efforts, help to position the organization as welcoming and can help to encourage applications.

Another tool that is being employed is virtual office tours. LinkedIn reports the number one way that candidates want to learn about company culture is through an on-site visit.  Given the ongoing complications of the pandemic, companies can bring the office to potential hires in the form of a pre-recorded tour or a live online walk-through of facilities.

It’s also important for organizations to be candid about the current daily work climate in the midst of the pandemic.  While you may be interested in knowing what life will be like once the health crisis eases, companies should willingly talk with you about their culture of collaboration and communication in the remote work environment.   

LinkedIn reports some organizations are providing a helpful listing of resources to their remote job interview invitations. This might include an overview of what to expect, names of people you will meet, tips for excelling during the interview, links to learn about the company culture and organizational structure, and other resources to help prepare.  

Once hired, you will likely be made to feel part of the team at your new company via a social media posting.  This tactic is especially important now when an organization may not be able to welcome you in person due to the company’s COVID-19 protocols. 

Finally, if you are going to be working remotely, most companies are now being diligent about training and transitioning you seamlessly into a productive employee.  Organizations should ensure you have everything that is needed to hit the ground running but they can also take added steps to set a good tone from day one.  Accordingly, your new organization may send you needed technology and possibly some company swag so you feel wanted and a part of the team.  

The global pandemic has clearly affected the recruitment and hiring process as well as daily work life.  Companies always want to make a positive impression in order to attract applications, and to retain good employees, particularly in the current tight labor market. As LinkedIn reports, it means you will likely find these and even other welcoming tactics to make for a satisfying interviewing process and work life.


Cultivate Your Professionalism


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

As you prepare for graduation and the workforce, the CEO of a talent development agency thinks one of the most important things you can do is to enhance your level of professionalism.  

Chelsea Williams heads up College Code, a company that works with education institutions, employers, and students to cultivate workforce development. She said that employers “…want to see how well the candidate is able to exhibit a sense of professionalism and lead their area of expertise on behalf of the department if they were left in a room full of executive leadership.” 

Employers look for a sense of professionalism through examples of collaboration according to Williams. “Sharing examples that focus on the candidate’s ability to influence and lead the right discussions to carry a project through the finish line shows immediate value-add.” 

Professionalism goes beyond these characteristics.  “Employers want new workers to be responsible, ethical, and team oriented, and to possess strong communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. Wrap these skills up all together and you’ve got an insider’s view into professionalism.”  

Students should build on these skills throughout their college career.  And as early as possible you should learn how to articulate these traits to potential employers.  Employers can easily identify evidence of a candidate’s professionalism on a resume and cover letter by the way they organize their thoughts and the experiences they have had throughout their collegiate career. Mock interviewing also provides an opportunity for students to practice how to best verbalize leadership, collaboration, proven results, and professionalism.   

Your UofL career centers can assist in building your professionalism, learning how to communicate that to employers, and other steps in your journey toward a rewarding professional life after college. To find the career center for your major/academic program, check out this link.


From Belle of Louisville to Full-Time Employee



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Charlotte Mason’s career path became a victim of COVID when the professional internship program she was about to enter at Disney World in spring, 2020 was cancelled because of the pandemic.  But little did Mason know at the time that this curve in her career journey would ultimately lead to a job that fit her professional goals.

 Charlotte Mason

Charlotte Mason

The May, 2020 UofL graduate (Individualized Major in Social Media Management with a Minor in Communication) from Mt. Washington had participated in the Disney College Internship Program during the 2018-19 school year at Epcot Center. “It was an amazing experience and I also had the opportunity to take Disney seminars as part of my program.” 

Mason had such a great experience that she applied and was accepted into the advanced Disney Professional Internship Program.  One can only imagine Mason’s disappointment when she found out the program was shut down in spring, 2020, just before she returned to Orlando. 

As Mason contemplated how to proceed, she received assistance from the University Career Center. “The Career Center and (career coach) Rosie Shannon were a huge help in my journey. I visited the Career Center several times pre-pandemic and then did video calls with Rosie once things closed down. She reviewed my resume, helped me network, and assisted me in looking for jobs. It was great knowing that the Career Center was there to support me!”

After graduation, Mason took a part-time position with a marketing agency, and then accepted a full-time position but that proved to be an ill fit.  So Mason began another search for a position that would move her more squarely toward fulfilling her career aspirations. 

In April 2021, Mason was finally able to put to use what she had learned during her time with Disney and her coursework at UofL when she landed a post-graduate marketing and hospitality internship with the Belle of Louisville riverboat.  “As the intern, I assisted the Community Outreach Manager with creating marketing emails, writing social media posts, etc. I also had the opportunity to ride on the chaser boat during the Great Steamboat Race to take photographs, which was an amazing experience! I further helped the Guest Services team by booking tickets, taking phone calls, and welcoming guests aboard the riverboat.”

Rather quickly after starting the position with the Belle, Mason’s internship converted into a full-time job. “It was amazing to be offered the full-time position, especially since it perfectly fits with the type of job I had hoped for after graduation. Since being hired full-time, many of my responsibilities have stayed the same like creating social media and blog posts, but I now have the opportunity to take on additional communication projects as well.”

Charlotte Mason’s journey from a cancelled internship with Disney to her rapid advancement with the Belle of Louisville shows the importance of students getting their “foot in the door” with a company.  Moreover, it also illustrates how important internship experiences have become in this day and age.  

More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website. If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.


Graduate Uses Internship to Springboard to Sports Industry Work


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships are a great way for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom. But you can also use an internship to make connections that can lead to bigger and better things.  That’s exactly what May graduate Kristen Dethloff has done with the help of the University Career Center (UCC) and her internship supervisor.

Kristen Dethloff

The Chicago native received her BA in Communication (with a minor in Criminal Justice) last spring while finishing up an internship with the Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville soccer clubs. “My responsibilities ranged from redesigning and circulating promotional game day emails to fans to distributing newly branded products to season ticket members, and becoming the go-to team member when it comes to the Louisville City FC app.”

Dethloff was actually somewhat hesitant about doing an internship in the first place. However, UCC career coach Rosie Shannon helped to lessen her fears.  “After expressing my worries and career anxieties, Rosie opened my eyes to the fact that an internship could be my ticket to calming those anxieties by getting my foot in the door to potential industries and allowing that experience to help guide me in my career goals. She also taught me the valuable lesson of getting out of my comfort zone when it came to applying for various internships.”

In addition, the lessons she has learned in that internship have been incredibly valuable.  “I have learned more about myself and what I hope to find one day in a permanent workplace. I learned that having a boss and coworkers you look up to and admire can make the difference between dreading a job and looking forward to it. I have learned that I am an individual who thrives on genuine interpersonal relationships and enjoys working on a team that values the importance of human interaction. I have learned that I am capable, driven, accomplished, dependable, eager to learn, and have a positive highly contagious personality.”

Last spring, Dethloff launched into a full-time job search with the assistance of UCC career coach Mallory Newby. “Mallory built me up to grow more confident in myself and the value that I would bring to a workplace. She has helped me with interview prep, the job search itself, applying for jobs, resume cleanups and even little things such as drafting follow up emails."

Now, Dethloff finds herself working part-time as a tutor for the UofL athletic department (where she has worked since 2019) and continuing her involvement with the Louisville FC and Racing clubs.  Since June, she has also been working in a new part-time sports industry position with the Chicago Fire from Major League Soccer, with the possibility of a full-time position this fall.  “I can directly cite my Louisville FC internship as the reason I received this incredible position. I had applied for a full-time position with the Chicago Fire back in March and had asked my boss at LouCity for advice on applying, resumes, etc. I came to find out that the moment I came to my boss for advice, she had begun networking on my behalf and searched the LouCity office for anyone who had a contact within the Chicago Fire. She found someone who knew an employee in the communications department and requested an introduction. Once connected to the Chicago Fire employee, she wrote a glowing and incredibly impactful letter of recommendation on my behalf that was sent to the hiring manager. Within a week I had an interview and while I ended up not being a fit for that particular position, they saw my potential so they hired me to the position I am in now.”

Perhaps most important, Dethloff has become firm in her career plans. “Now that I have had experience and a foot in the door at two professional soccer organizations (and loved every moment of it), I hope to one day work full-time for a sports organization or a sports-related company within their community outreach/engagement department. The idea of being involved in an effort like that gives me goosebumps”

Just as Kristen Dethloff found, internships are an important experience for all students. More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website.  If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and you can potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at some current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.


Career Fair Myths


 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The University Career Center has several career fairs coming up this semester.  Some students think that only seniors should attend career fairs but UCC career coach Erin Heakin said that is far from true.  

According to Heakin, regardless of your class standing and whether you are sure about your career path or not, these events are a great way for all students to learn about different industries and the opportunities that are available. She said, “Don’t be afraid to approach an employer and ask a few general questions about different roles. Just let them know you are still exploring career options and make sure to be respectful of their time.”

Here are some other misconceptions about career fairs that Heakin points out to students:

I must dress up to attend:  FALSE. It is best to dress professionally or semi-professionally.  But Heakin said you don’t need a suit to get through the door.  As long as you are polite, friendly, and communicate in a professional manner, employers understand you may be coming from class and you can still make a good impression on them. Keep in mind that some industries may have different expectations.  For example, media organizations may be more casual than finance companies.

Employers are looking for one specific major - not mine:  FALSE.  Many times, employers are looking for students with specific skills, not specific majors.  Heakin said, “Some companies might list a few majors that would be a good fit, but that isn’t always an all-encompassing list.  Learn how to talk about the knowledge-base and skillset you have developed through your coursework and experiences.” 

I need to have a stack of resumes: FALSE. Sure it works to your advantage to have a couple of updated resume copies with you.  If not, and an employer asks you for a copy, get their contact information and follow-up in a timely manner to send one.  And Heakin suggests that it is a good idea to update your resume before a career fair if you have not done that recently.  Review the University Career Center’s online resume resources.  

I can only talk with recruiters about positions that are listed: FALSE. Employers typically are happy to talk about their organization and other possible positions.  If you have an interest in an employer and they don’t have your dream position listed, you should still talk with them. Heakin said, “Talking with the representative will give you the chance to ask questions you can’t necessarily find out through online research, plus they might have insight on potential internships or when opportunities might open up. Making a good impression will keep you top of mind, so if a position does become available you can follow up with them and let them know that you applied.”

The University Career Center has a number of career fair events planned for this fall including:

August 26, 2021 - Student Employment Fair

September 14, 2021 - Nursing Fair (Online)

September 15, 2021 - Career and Internship Fair

October 6, 2021 - Graduate & Professional School Fair (Online)

No matter where you are in your college journey, these career fairs can be a valuable experience.  The University Career Center encourages you to take advantage of the opportunities.  If you need assistance getting ready for a career fair event, contact your Career Coach



Student Finding Multi-Benefits to Internship



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships provide important practical experience for students and can sometimes lead directly to employment.  But a UofL senior is using his internship as a prelude to further professional schooling while simultaneously enhancing his foreign language skills.

Nick Conces is from New Lenox, Illinois and is majoring in Biology with a minor in Spanish.  He will graduate this fall and then plans to attend dental school at the University of Maryland. Conces has already gained experience in the field, interning with Gentle Excellence Dental in south Louisville.

Nick Conces

Nick Conces

Conces helps the dental hygienists and assistants at Gentle Excellence prepare exam rooms for patients. But perhaps his most important functions involve his minor. “I interact with patients and workers, creating a welcoming, warm environment. The majority of the workers are from Cuba and many of the patients speak Spanish as their first language so it’s a wonderful place to practice my Spanish fluency. I help calm the patients by communicating with them and to reassure that they are in good hands.”

Although Conces plans to enter the dental field, his favorite part of the internship has involved speaking Spanish. “I have been able to learn more Spanish that is applicable for what I’ll be doing in future years to come. Naturally, many Spanish classes do not incorporate vocabulary used throughout the dental field so learning various terms and such was very nice. I have practiced my fluency and have noticed dramatic differences on how my Spanish has improved.”

Internships are an important experience for all students. More information about internships can be found on the UCC Internship website.  If you are interested in an internship during the fall or spring semester, be sure to talk with your program’s internship coordinator in advance since you may be eligible for academic credit and can also potentially get assistance in seeking a position. Finally, if you want to look at current internship position listings/opportunities, log onto Handshake.

Importance of Internships Highlighted Again



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Universities around the nation are increasingly touting internships as a key experience for students to apply what they have learned in the classroom in “real world” settings.  And now there’s additional evidence that students need internships to stand out against the competition as they enter the job market.  

New research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) indicates that internship experience is the most influential factor employers consider when deciding between two otherwise equally qualified job candidates. NACE based the finding on a survey of organizations across the country; 207 companies completed the survey.  Respondents said a job candidate having internship experience in that specific industry has an edge on other applicants. The advantage is even greater if the student’s internship experience is with the specific company doing the hiring. 

Other important attributes employers consider include the student’s major, leadership experience, general work experience, and involvement in extracurricular activities.  While a GPA above 3.0 remains somewhat influential according to NACE, the average influence rating has dropped compared to last year. Further reflecting the trend of less emphasis on grades, NACE said that only 56.6% of responding employers are now using GPA to screen college graduates from the Class of 2021, a steep drop from the nearly 75% that used this method two years ago.

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said the NACE survey reinforces the need for even more emphasis on internships.  “UofL’s new strategic plan calls attention to the importance of all forms of experiential learning including internships and co-ops.  We have known for a long time that internships provide students with a competitive edge in the job market.  Now we also know how these experiences help to round out the academic knowledge base of graduating students. The NACE study once again provides more direct evidence of how students benefit from internships.”

The table below shows the complete results of the NACE study.  

NACE Attributes

Employers Seek Team Work



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As students look for their first entry-level job or internship, they would be wise to emphasize the ability to work in teams.  A new study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows more organizations look for that trait on the resumes of applicants than any other characteristic.  

NACE surveyed more than 200 companies during the spring and 80%-plus listed teamwork as a desired criterion.  Closely following were problem-solving skills and analytical/quantitative skills.   

There were some notable differences in what employers are looking for between this set of results and the results from a similar survey last year. Verbal communication moved up from seventh last year (69.6%) to fourth this year (73.2%), and written communication was also highly desired (72.7%).  On the other hand, work ethic fell from third last year to tenth this year.  

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said students can use the listing for guidance as they revise and tailor resumes before applying for positions. “Students should emphasize internships and part-time jobs as well as specific academic knowledge and coursework that indicate teamwork, the ability to solve problems, and analytic skills. It is crucial students carefully edit their resumes to ensure clear, concise writing since that is always something employers examine carefully.”

Here is a full listing of NACE’s desired resume traits. 

NACE Resume Attributes

New Grads in Job Market Need to be Aware of Scams


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

While it is exciting to be graduating, launching your career, and looking for your first entry-level job, it’s also a time for you to be on-guard. That’s because typically this is also a time of year when fraudsters circulate bogus job opportunities. 

Most employment scams utilize the Internet and often involve email to potential victims.  Here are some signs that you should exercise extreme caution:

  • High pay with little work
  • Requirements that you cash checks and wire money
  • Poor grammar or punctuation
  • Offers of a job without even interviewing you
  • “Website” is actually an email address
  • The office listed does not exist by that name and/or no employer information is listed
  • No telephone number or physical address is listed
  • “USA” is included in address which is usually an indication authors are from outside the country and potentially trying to scam you
  • And if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true

You can avoid becoming a victim by pro-actively searching for positions utilizing established career management platforms and job listings, and employing other savvy job search practices like networking. The UofL career centers including Business, Engineering, Law and the University Career Center urge you to think critically and be vigilant as you search for your first job, so you don’t fall prey to scammers. 

Here are some resources to help you protect yourself: 

And, if you ever feel a position is questionable but you are not sure, please contact the University Career Center and ask!




Intern Benefits from Knowledge in Multiple Academic Disciplines


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

In most internships, students typically focus on applying what they have learned in their academic major. But a UofL Public Health major used her recent internship to also apply foreign language skills she picked up from her Spanish minor.

Charmi Shah from Louisville will be graduating soon, having greatly benefited from her internship with the Family Community Clinic, a non-profit organization in Butchertown that opened in 2011 with a mission to improve the health of the medically uninsured in the area. Shah saw her responsibilities expand over the course of the semester including scribing notes for the doctor and calling in prescriptions to pharmacies, acting as a Spanish interpreter, helping with triage, scheduling new appointments, taking essential vitals for patients, and charting their data.


 Charmi Shah

Charmi Shah


Shah’s internship initially involved both in-person and online communication; she worked directly with staff in the clinic offices, but patient contact was virtual.  “By March things were running fully in-person as all the volunteers and staff were able to get vaccinated. Getting to see patients in-person is definitely a better experience for them, and for us. We get to take their vitals and truly assess them as a whole rather than make decisions off of blood lab results. While I'm grateful we could care for our community via telehealth during the pandemic, I loved when our clinic started operating fully in person again and we could see our patients face-to-face and provide them with a higher quality of care.”

Shah said the best thing about her internship was the people she worked with.  “Everyone that volunteers at the clinic is so welcoming and friendly, and always challenged me to do and learn more as I was comfortable with it. I gained valuable experience that will be useful in my future, learned more about the Hispanic and medically uninsured population in Louisville, built connections and networked with the doctors, nurses, and other volunteers, and made a real difference in my community.”

She also found it highly rewarding to apply what she learned in her minor.  “I'm excited to use my Spanish to be able to communicate independently with Hispanic patients and help them feel comfortable without the need for a translator.”

Charmi Shah continues to volunteer with the Family Community Clinic and will be attending the UofL School of Medicine this fall with plans to be a pediatrician.  She hopes to eventually spend time practicing medicine globally and serving those who need it the most in developing countries.

Find out how you can benefit from an internship or co-op experience:  

  • The recent virtual workshop, Interning 101, provides basic information about internships and how to move forward. 
  • The Internship Student Panel is a virtual session with a group of UofL students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  

Student Converts Internship into Part-time Job



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the internships that many students had to online/virtual work and in some cases, forced the cancellation of the experiences.  But one UofL student took advantage of the situation to convert her internship into a part-time work experience.

Emily Burden is a graduate student in Social Work from Grand Blanc, Michigan and she will graduate this May.  She had been working as an intern for Uniting Partners (UP) for Women and Children for several months when the public health crisis worsened last spring and halted her academic internship. UP is an agency that works with homeless women and children.  But, with the end of her on-site learning experience, UP hired Burden as a part-time case manager.  Today she is still an employee with UP, as well as now using the experience as a work-based practicum course in the Social Work graduate program.

Emily Burden

Emily Burden

Burden works on-site two days a week with UP clients. She is also doing advocacy and social justice-related work remotely. “For example, once a month I meet with community members to discuss Identification/Driver’s License reform in Kentucky for those experiencing homelessness. I like remote meetings like these because I can engage with our partnered agency members.”  But Burden also finds the remote work experiences challenging because, “I do better in a physical space with my co-workers, peers, and clients. I really like the hands-on learning and first-hand experience. I also struggle with time management so, working from home has its challenges.”

Burden is finding her work experience with UP personally rewarding.  “I like meeting women and their children who are experiencing homelessness and watching them work towards obtaining housing, all while providing services and motivation so that they may become empowered and self-sufficient to maintain their new home and take care of their families.”

At the same time, Burden is gaining important experience that furthers her ambition.  “My practicum fits into my career/professional plans as I want to learn more about marginalized populations, advocacy, grant writing, nonprofit management and policy reform. I have the opportunity to experience all of these things at UP and I’m so fortunate.”

Burden hopes other students will take the initiative to get practical work experience while they are students at UofL.  “My advice for those that are interested in doing an internship or practicum but are somewhat hesitant or nervous about it is to just jump in. Just go for it. You really have nothing to lose, you will only have vast opportunities to gain experience, knowledge, and maybe even a paid job in the end!”

If you want to hear about other student internships, the University Career Center has posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101. If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program

Communication Students Get Experience Producing Internship Video



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

One of the best ways to advance your career ambitions and develop important professional skills is to do an internship or co-op.  But as a pair of UofL students recently discovered, that’s not the only way to get important experience.

Sarah McDowell and Annabeth White are members of the Young Communication Professionals (YCP) chapter in the Department of Communication.  In recent years, YCP has coordinated a very successful internship fair in the spring. But when the COVID pandemic interfered with this year’s plans, the chapter looked for an alternative to promote the idea of internships to students.  They decided on producing a video that featured students talking about their internship experiences.


 Sarah McDowell    Annabeth White

Sarah McDowell and Annabeth White

YCP faculty advisor, Professor Mary Ashlock, said it’s important that students can gain practical experience from not only internships, but also projects like this.  “Annabeth and Sarah created and produced a quality internship video that can be featured on their resumes and digital portfolios.  Employers are impressed with students who have something tangible to show them. Students stand out from others when they are able to feature a project and discuss their work.”

McDowell, who is from Muncie, Indiana, plans to graduate with the class of 2022 and after graduation, she hopes to work as an event planner/fundraiser for a nonprofit. She said working on this project was a valuable experience. “There is a difference between learning about something and learning how to do something. Real world experience allows students to not only apply what they learn in the classroom, but also see firsthand what it is like to work in their field from mentors and coworkers.”

White is from Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, and she, too, plans to graduate in spring of 2022.  White hopes to work in advertising or video production.  In addition to appreciating the practical experience of working on this project, she points out the benefit of working with a group like YCP. “More involvement with organizations leads to more connections and that is a really great way to find out about internships, job opportunities, and more.” 

Take a look at the video about student internships produced by Sarah McDowell and Annabeth White.  You can find the video posted on the University Career Center’s website.  


Students to Press on with Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Career development staffers have been suggesting that students should not use the excuse of the global pandemic to sit back and do nothing now to advance their professional interests. But it’s not just this group that is offering the advice to move forward. Here are several employers who all have extensive experience hiring interns from UofL in the past. All agree students can make significant advancements in their professional development now, despite coronavirus fears and the economic fallout. And one of the best ways to do that is through an internship.

Madison Hardy is a partner at the J Wagner Group, a full-service events and marketing agency here in Louisville. She says internships provide a great hands-on learning experience for students, while also providing an important benefit to their agency. “Interns are great assets in the creation process as technology and new ways of thinking from usually younger interns help us reach different levels of success.”

Aaron Rosenberg is the Senior Vice President of Business Development for Oasis Solutions and a UofL Alum (Communication BA, 2005). He remembers his own internship experience as a UofL student and the pivotal role it played in his development. “It taught me so much more about the practical aspects of what I was learning and being taught. It allowed me to understand what I liked and what I didn’t like before getting too far down a career path that would be more difficult to alter. So I try to provide the same opportunity to the interns I work with. Providing them with more of a wide-ranging holistic experience.”

Sherry Stanley is the Executive Director of the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs, which provides services and support to staff at the track’s stables as well as their families. She points out that internships, in addition to professional development, provide an important cultural perspective. “From a societal standpoint, it is important for young people to gain exposure to people and situations that will help them have a broader view of the world and that will contribute to a more compassionate generation. I think all of us have had experiences when we were younger that were transformative and contributed in a small way to where we are today.”

Hardy said the best interns that J Wagner has hosted have jumped in with both feet and not been worried about how much time they have to work. “Our job is usually not 9 to 5 so having a good attitude and willingness to help is key. This is something we try to evaluate during our interview process as we believe you are only as strong as your team and that includes interns at JWG. We have weekly meetings with interns where we encourage questions, no matter how small or crazy, be asked. Good interns should never be scared to vocalize questions or concerns. Learning on your feet and retaining information is vital in a fast-paced event world.”

For Rosenberg, the key is for the intern to be eager. “The best interns are really just like the best employees. Humble and hungry! They aren’t too big to complete the small tasks nor are they too shy to tackle a large project or offer up a big idea. They want to learn and ask a lot of questions. Throw themselves into opportunities and try their best.”

Stanley looks for her interns to be jacks of all trades. “At least at our organization, it is important for students to be flexible, since at most smaller non-profits, everyone has to do a bit of everything, from IT support to direct services, teaching English, and taking out the trash!”

So what should students be doing now as we continue to inch forward out of pandemic lockdowns into an unknown and wildly fluctuating economy? Madison Hardy of the J Wagner Group said students should be calm and creative. “We, more than most, understand the impacts 2020 is having on the world and could only imagine the pressures of graduating during these times. We would recommend staying hopeful as the world, especially in events, will take time to work itself out. Don’t let your brain waste, continue reading and learning. We all have the responsibility to create a new world or way of doing things so let’s get out of the box and try new ideas, especially related to events and communication for ourselves and clients.”

Aaron Rosenberg from Oasis Solutions suggests students look particularly at remote opportunities. “My advice for students would be to target opportunities that had a well-defined work-from-anywhere-workforce and policies in place prior to the COVID-19 crisis. Somewhere that has been well-equipped to help interns get onboarded and be successful in a remote situation.”

And Sherry Stanley from the Backside Learning Center said students applying for internships should think about personalized contact with decision-makers. “Please reach out and don’t be afraid to be persistent. That is actually much appreciated since we are all juggling multiple responsibilities, and shows employers that you are really interested. If you don’t hear back from an email, pick up the phone! This is something that we feel almost shy about in these days of texts, emails, and social media but it is refreshing and a nice personal touch when you actually hear someone’s voice that cannot be communicated through a keyboard.”

You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101.  The University Career Center has posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  

Social Work Intern Building a Better Future for Kids


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships and co-ops can certainly help students advance their career ambitions. But in many instances, these work experiences also provide important benefits to our community.  Kayce Dallas is continuing an internship that does just that.

The Henderson, Kentucky graduate student is working toward an M.S. degree in Social Work and will graduate in May.  Dallas has been interning with Kentucky Youth Advocates (KYA) for more than a year now. KYA advocates for policies in the state that benefit and protect children.  Dallas has worked on initiatives that address problems with child abuse, neglect, and other “adverse childhood experiences.” Her internship has included research, focus groups, website, and blog work, drafting grant applications, and helping to plan “Child Advocacy Week.”


Kayce Dallas

In the midst of a global pandemic, Dallas, like many other students, has been doing her internship work remotely and she said that brings some added challenges beyond her workload. “It is hard sometimes to find motivation and zoom fatigue is a real thing! I have also found that it is harder to separate myself from the work.”  On the other hand, Dallas said, “I love the work so much that I continue to do assignments even after my office hours are over. And, I like being able to work from home because I don’t have to drive 30 minutes to the office and I can develop my own schedule.”

Dallas said the internship has helped her to find a niche in the social work field that she wants to pursue after graduation.  "Originally all I wanted to do was microwork. I wanted to help children who had been through trauma. Although that is still a passion of mine, I have now fallen in love with macro social work. I love working with many different partner organizations on a common cause. I love to watch how policies come to the table, choosing bill sponsors, and then seeing the testimonies in session.”

Dallas is greatly appreciative of the opportunity that has been afforded to her.  “I love how supportive Kentucky Youth Advocates staff are, no matter what their role. I know I can reach out to any of them for help with school assignments, to talk about my resume, or discuss job opportunities. I also love how I can wear many different hats. I am getting a well-rounded experience at Kentucky Youth Advocates that I do not think I could get anywhere else.”

Dallas thinks other students can utilize internships to build relevant experience and to try out something new.  “I already had so much experience in the micro field that I wanted something different. Do not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try interning at an organization you are passionate about, but is outside your usual realm. The worst that can happen is you get experience and learn that is not what you want to do.”

If you want to hear about other student internships, the University Career Center has posted a virtual session with a group of students talking about their internships and providing advice about how to make the most out of the experiences.  You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101. If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  



UofL Micro-Internship Initiative


UofL Micro-Internship Initiative

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL is launching a collaboration with a national organization to promote so-called “micro-internships” with short-term, paid work experiences. Over the course of the last five years, Parker Dewey has connected thousands of students to these project-based, mostly virtual opportunities, involving employers from across the country.

The internship coordinator for the UofL University Career Center, Maddie McNabb, says there are a number of reasons why students should consider micro-internships. “Micro-internships are a great professional development opportunity, as they can give students an idea of what an entry-level job in their desired field might look like without the commitment of a summer- or semester-long in-person internship. On top of that, every project posted on Parker Dewey’s website is paid, and students can create a connection with top-tier companies they may want to work for in the future.”

Through micro-internships, students can demonstrate skills and explore career paths. Unlike a traditional internship, these paid opportunities typically range from 5 to 40 hours of work, and most can be completed remotely.  Project deadlines normally range from one week to a month.

The average project pays $360 at an average rate of $15-20/hour. Each micro-internship is vetted by Parker Dewey to make sure that it is appropriate for college students/recent grads and compensated fairly.

While micro-internships are not as ideal as full-scale, onsite internships, they do provide a way for students to connect with employers and network with professionals. In addition, students can enhance their track record of work experience, enhancing applications for future internships and career opportunities.

Parker Dewey reports micro-internships can result in offers for internships and full-time jobs from the host company, and are even used as a recruitment tool on occasion for those opportunities.  Employers who have implemented micro-internships recognize that although the project may be short-term, the projects can be a great way to identify students’ potential and evaluate skills like problem solving ability that is difficult to assess during a traditional recruiting process. 

In a time of a global pandemic and an uncertain job market, McNabb said micro-internships provide a great opportunity for students and recent graduates to gain professional experience. “Parker Dewey has cited an increase in activity on their platform during the months of March and April, and I imagine this uptick will continue throughout the summer. I predict micro-internships will continue to remain prominent post-pandemic due to the low-risk career exploration opportunity they provide and because the short time commitment required will be beneficial to students who cannot otherwise commit to a full-time internship.”

Parker Dewey micro-internships can include projects across all departments.  The most prevalent opportunities include:

  • Sales
  • Human Resources
  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Research
  • Operations and Support
  • Finance and Accounting

Students who want to apply for Parker Dewey micro-internships create an account on the company’s website including information about their experiences, education, a resume, and other possible materials like work samples.  Once they have completed their profile, students have access to all opportunities currently available on the site and can then apply for projects.

Students who get an offer receive support for their micro-internship in a variety of forms.  They will receive the contact information for representatives from the company hosting the project as well as from Parker Dewey’s “Client Success” team.  Students also receive a number of onboarding emails as well as resources from Parker Dewey. And at the conclusion of the project, students get feedback on their work. 

To learn more and apply for micro-internships, visit the UofL - Parker Dewey website. UofL students who obtain Parker Dewey micro-internships are encouraged to in the University Career Center to tell us about your experience.

Get Academic Credit For Your Internship or Co-op


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Sure, internships are important for a variety of reasons.  But the Internship Coordinator for the University Career Center suggests that beyond career and professional development benefits, students should use these experiences to apply what they have learned in the classroom.

Maddie McNabb said internships offer the kind of real-world experience that employers are looking for.  “According to survey data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers report finding recent university graduates least proficient in several essential areas including critical thinking/problem solving, professionalism/work ethic, and oral/written communication. Internships provide a crucial opportunity for students to develop those essential skills and make themselves a more competitive candidate on the full-time job market.”

In addition, McNabb points out that students can use internship and co-op experiences to test-drive a potential career field. “As someone who shifted their career trajectory because of an internship, I can speak to the value internships provide in career exploration. Finding out you don’t want to do something after completing an internship is just as valid an experience as an internship solidifying your career goals. You will still leave that internship having gained valuable professional development.”

Another reason that internships are important is because they provide excellent opportunities to network.  And networking is imperative since 70% of students find their first entry-level job via a contact.  “Networking is a crucial point that students often don’t think about when searching for an internship. There is sometimes the possibility for an internship to lead to a full-time job, and even when it doesn’t, an internship supervisor is a great professional reference to have when applying for full-time jobs. They will be able to speak more to your professional skillset than a professor or other academic-related reference.”

Beyond these reasons, McNabb said there are academic credit possibilities for internships and co-ops since students are using the knowledge they gain in their UofL classes.  “Being able to earn academic credit needed to graduate while completing an internship (and possibly getting paid to do so) is a win-win in my book. While everything students learn in the classroom is important, there are some things that just can’t be taught and learned in the classroom setting, and that’s where internships come in.”  

There are numerous academic programs at the University of Louisville that offer credit for internships and co-ops. But each program has varying requirements and/or prerequisite courses before students can enroll.  McNabb said, “It’s absolutely imperative that before you accept any internship position, you contact your academic program/department to find out the process for approval and enrollment."  

If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op-, contact your program coordinator/director from this list.  

Psychology Student Intern Learning to Work Remotely



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL Psychology major is using her current internship to not only advance her career interests, but also to learn how to adjust to the increasing remote work environment.  Marissa Robertson is a Louisville senior with plans to graduate this May.

 Intern Marissa Robertson

 Marissa Robertson

Robertson has been working during the spring semester as an intern at Seven Counties Services. Seven Counties provides mental health and addiction recovery services to adults and children around the region.  Robertson has been doing online research for best practices in therapy worksheets.  She has also been creating a “Virtual Therapy Room” that clients can use during the pandemic. 

Because of the pandemic, all of Robertson’s internship work has been online.  “It’s been a bit of a learning curve for me, as I’ve had to familiarize myself more with some of the online services being used, but I believe the online experience has been just as rewarding as it would have been in-person.  I like that I am able to do the work on my own time since it’s online, but I do sometimes miss the in-person interactions with people, and I think it would have been interesting to see what day-to-day work is like outside of the pandemic.”

After graduation, Robertson plans to go to graduate school and eventually get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.  She hopes to eventually do the kind of work that is done at an organization like Seven Counties, and Robertson’s internship is moving her firmly toward that career goal. “I love the real-world experience I am able to get in the field.  It’s also been so interesting for me to see what it’s really like in the mental health field and to get to know some of the people who have been working in it for many years.”

Robertson thinks other students would similarly benefit from an internship or co-op experience.  “Do it!  I was extremely nervous going into my internship, but I am so glad that I did it.  I’ve learned so much already.  It’s such a rewarding experience and anyone who does it will not regret it.”

You can find out more about internships on the UCC Internship website, plus review our recent virtual workshop Interning 101.  If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  



Maximizing Your Internship & Career Development



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a prominent college student services organization says interns can consciously do some things to stand out and maximize their experience. Dan Rosensweig heads up Chegg, which was founded in 2000 and now provides textbook rentals and online tutoring to college students.

Rosensweig has found previous success over the years at a number of technology companies.  These included president and CEO of Guitar Hero, chief operating officer of Yahoo, president of CNET, and CEO of ZDNet. He took the helm at Chegg in 2010.

Rosensweig says there are three keys for an intern to stand out during their experience. “Come in with curiosity.  Assume good intent until somebody proves you wrong, which means don’t go looking for someone to create a problem for you - assume they don’t mean to.  And then if they do, talk to them about it but assume goodness until they prove opposite.  And, just be positive!”  

According to the Chegg CEO, interns should get to know people at their host company by introducing themself.  He also urges interns to take risks and try things they think they might not succeed in, in order to learn.  He adds students should not expect that employers think their interns know what to do all the time. “You are an intern for goodness sakes.  I am a CEO. I call my friends who are CEOs of even bigger companies because I don’t always know what to do all the time.  The goal is to get it right, not to know the answers all the time.” 

Rosesweig thinks most students mistakenly think of networking as a short-term, transactional concept where people reach out to others they think can help them get something they want.  Although he admits that can have tangible benefits, instead he suggests a longer-term, wider-ranging perspective about networking.  “Networking is not a means to an end. It is the end itself.  That’s a person I would like to have in my life and I would like to be in their life.  And that changes the relationship dramatically.  So you check in with people - there’s no agenda.  And 10 years later, all the sudden it’s amazing how what you are doing and they are doing comes together and amazing opportunities happen.” 

So how should students approach a job market now that is, at best, uneven? “If you can’t get the exact job you want, try to get the company you want and try to get a manager that is going to invest in you.  Those two things will matter more than the job itself.”  Rosensweig says finding a great manager who invests in you and your development is a “game changer, moreso than your first job…find a boss and a company that is growing and in your direction and the rest will work itself out over time.” 

Rosensweig urges students to be flexible as they move into the job market. “Life is about attitude. It is about being open to possibilities.  It is about be willing to seize those opportunities whether you think you are ready or not. Life is not a straight line. It is serendipity.  If you find yourself in a situation where an opportunity opens up, then you have to be open to considering it.”

He said students need to be willing to fail, but then must be resilient to get back up and try again.  “Enjoy the path because it is not always easy.”

Dan Rosensweig was the featured speaker for a recent virtual lunch and learn session, sponsored by WayUp, a job website and mobile app for college students and recent graduates. Find out more about WayUp.  




UofL Students Excelling in Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

In the midst of Internship Month, it’s important to recognize UofL students who have already had stellar internship experiences that clearly impacted their career and professional development.

But equally important, this group of students has also made significant contributions to the betterment of Louisville and the state of Kentucky.  Here’s just a few of these students we can all be proud of, along with links to the story behind their internships.

  • Josh Osborne - Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs 


Employers Advise Students to get Real-World Experience Through Internships



By Stuart Esrock

The University of Louisville is placing a greater emphasis on internships and co-ops that require students to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.  But beyond making connections between academic knowledge and the work-world, a group of Louisville businesspeople with ties to UofL believe internships and co-ops provide crucial hands-on experiences that are an important gateway to full-time employment.   

UofL graduate Megan Imel owns a State Farm Insurance agency.  She did several internships before she graduated and has now hired interns into her own business. Imel said, “Internships give you an opportunity to build your resume, but also learn what a certain industry or role is like before you commit full-time. Our internships are sales-based, so our students are earning extra money while getting real life sales experience that has proven to be valuable when they go through the interview process for their first ‘real’ job.”

Joey Wagner heads up the highly successful J. Wagner Group, a full-service marketing agency, as well as teaching a popular Communication class at UofL that focuses on development of special events. He, too, has hired multiple UofL students for internships. “Internships are important for you to grow, learn, and become successful. I am a big believer in doing as many internships you can to get real life experience and learn from experts in the field you want to go in.”

Travis Kerns quickly transitioned from his UofL undergraduate degree into a successful career as the Director of Foundation and Workforce Development for Trilogy Health Services. “During my next to last semester in college I interned with a company looking for the ability to apply my education professionally. Nine years later, I still work for this company, and I have been able to grow personally and professionally with them. I currently lead two teams, and each member of these teams started with my company as an intern.” 

So what do these professionals look for in a potential intern?  Imel said, “When someone expresses to me that they desire to try new things and take on as many tasks as they can, that is appealing. When someone comes to me stating that they are actually interested in the work, not just getting credit hours, that is also appealing.”  

Likewise, work ethic is also a key for both Wagner and Kerns.  Wagner said, “We want interns who are dependable, hard-working, and are willing to learn.” According to Kerns, “I look for desire and willingness. You may not know yet how to do everything that will be asked of you, but a willingness and desire to learn is important to success. I also look for people with strong interpersonal communication skills who are willing to be open with their thoughts and engage in problem-solving.”

Once a student obtains an internship, it’s really up to them to get the most out of the experience.  Imel advises students to treat their internship like a career move.  “Our most successful interns show up every day and give 100% and they view themselves as part of the team, not ‘just an intern.’ Ask for tasks, be proud of your work and treat it as though success there is an important part of making your way to your dream career.”

Wagner said, “Work as much as you can. Ask questions. Take great notes. Ask your supervisor if you can go to meetings with them. Meet as many people as you can while interning to grow your network.”

Kerns said treat your internship seriously and as an investment in yourself. “Learning how to operate at a high level in a professional environment is a learned skill. This includes how to best communicate with your peers and supervisors. Do not be afraid to share your interests and passions, as new opportunities can often be identified through a simple conversation. Seek out leaders in the organization and politely ask if they would be willing to share some of their experiences with you. Many will be excited to share advice.”

You can find out more about internships on the University Career Center's website.  If you are interested in obtaining academic credit for your internship or co-op, be sure to reach out to the coordinator/director in your UofL academic program.  


Internships Carve Path for Grad Student's First Job In Golf


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Sports Administration graduate student Richard Praszkier did not leave anything to chance when it came to his dreams for a career in the golf business.  And after five golf-related internships, Praszkier realized his ambition, recently landing an entry-level position as the Coordinator of Junior Golf for Golf House Kentucky.  

Richard Praszkier

Richard Praszkier

The master’s degree student from St. Louis finished his undergraduate degree in Sports Administration at UofL in May. During his undergraduate program, Praszkier was determined to get as much industry-related experience as possible. “Internships are essential to personal and professional development. A good internship will give you opportunities to learn but also make mistakes.  The other part about internships is that it gives someone an opportunity to work on hard and soft skills. I have learned a wide variety of technical skills through my internships, but the soft skills and communication skills are equally, if not more important.” 

Praszkier worked with University Career Center assistant director Mallory Newby before looking for his internships, gaining assistance with his resume and cover letter as well as practice/mock interviewing. His preparation and practice paid off: Praszkier ended up doing undergraduate internships with the Persimmon Ridge Golf Club, Polo Fields Golf and Country Club, Oxmoor Country Club, and Quail Chase Golf Club before then doing a post-graduate fellowship with the Indiana PGA.

Praszkier’s experience with multiple facets of the golf industry made him an obvious choice for the position with Golf House Kentucky.  As Coordinator of Junior Golf, he will oversee Kentucky’s Drive, Chip & Putt Qualifiers and PGA Jr. League, assist with tournaments on the Kentucky PGA Junior Tour, and will play a key role in facilitating high school tournaments around the state.  

Praszkier is ecstatic that he has launched his career doing exactly what he had hoped to be doing. And based on the lessons he learned in preparing for his first job, he thinks other UofL undergraduate students can similarly benefit from internships and the relationships that are built within these experiences. “Always continue building your value while also cultivating relationships. You never know when you will need a reference or guidance from a mentor, former employer, or co-worker.” 

Praszkier also says students approaching the job market need to have an open mind. “Be sure to look in as many different markets as possible and ask questions during the interview process. Be sure to understand the job responsibilities but also the work culture. Once you have found the right position and the right fit, you have found something that is very special and rare. Just remember, you have found the right job/career when your position is something you are good at, you have passion for it, and it gives you self/personal value.”


Job Seeking and Diversity Equity Inclusion



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a company that partners with organizations to develop and retain the youngest members of the workforce thinks students should change their mindset from just getting a job to actually seeking an opportunity that aligns with their big picture.  And for the increasing number of students who are becoming keenly interested in racial justice issues, Chelsea Williams says they need to seek companies whose values and goals match theirs.

Williams founded College Code to provide workforce development and career coaching.  She recommends that concerned students ask specific questions during job interviews about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as well as actions that organization have taken supporting that commitment.

Williams has a list of questions students can use to differentiate between organizations that may only talk about DEI, versus organizations that are making active progress on these important issues.

  • How does your organization define diversity? What lenses of diversity has your organization made a direct commitment toward? 
  • Does your organization have a chief diversity officer (CDO) or a designated leader to drive DEI and engage internal and external stakeholders?
  • What social causes does your organization support?
  • Does your organization actively support diverse suppliers, contractors, and small businesses?
  • Has your organization made any formal commitments in support of racial equity?
  • How does your organization center diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging?
  • Does your organization offer any formal employee training around biases, anti-racism, or general DEI?
  • How has your organization prioritized executive accountability toward DEI advancement?
  • Does your organization have any affinity groups or committees to support diverse populations? If so, how do these groups contribute to the culture of the organization?
  • Does your organization complete annual compensation equity analysis?
  • What resources has your organization provided to its employees in support of COVID-19 and racial injustice?

While DEI is not an important value for all students, for those invested in the concept, the answers to these questions can help guide whether to continue pursuing an opportunity with an organization. Williams says some clues that an organization is invested in DEI include: commitment to a safe and healthy work environment; representation across all levels and titles; all leaders, managers and employees are held accountable for actions; equity is the driving factor in all aspects of recruitment, training, promotion, pay, and benefits.  

To find out more about College Code and some of the resources it offers to students, go to this URL:


Interns Assist Louisville Hispanic Community


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Internships are important experiences for students for a variety of reasons.  But often, internships simultaneously provide important services to our community. A group of UofL foreign language students recently completed internships that provided great benefits to the Hispanic population in Louisville.

Spanish professor Clare Sullivan directed the internships during the fall and her students successfully and safely completed their experiences, even in the midst ofthe pandemic.  Two of Professor Sullivan’s students interned with the Backside Learning Center (BLC) at Churchill Downs, a non-profit that assists workers at the racetrack who are primarily native Spanish speakers.

Maegan Helm is a Louisville senior majoring in Spanish and Global Communication.  Her work at BLC involved helping the young children of track workers navigate online learning, communicating with teachers and parents, and encouraging PPE and safety.  Helm is most appreciative of the opportunity to work with a group of “…caring and compassionate people. My internship has allowed me to see the ins and outs of a successful non-profit making change in their community. This is something I plan to take with me, and share with other people and communities, no matter where I travel.”

Maegan Helm

Hannah White, a senior History major from Eddyville, Kentucky who is minoring in Spanish also worked with elementary school students at the BLC, many whom were beginning to learn English.  White hopes to teach English abroad and eventually become a history professor, so she greatly benefited from her internship because it was her first teaching experience. “The best thing about my internship experience with Backside was definitely the students. I looked forward to their whirlwind of energy. They taught me patience and flexibility and were just a never-ending source of excitement and fun!”


Hannah White

Professor Sullivan also directed an internship for Nashville senior Mia Isabel Rodriguez who worked with Gentle Excellence Dental. The clinic has a mission to provide treatment regardless of language or financial barriers.  Rodriguez is a pre-dental student so her internship fit nicely with her long-term career ambitions in that she assisted the dentists. But the Spanish minor also found herself serving as an interpreter between employees and the patients who rely upon, what she calls a “remarkable facility” that serves a largely Spanish-speaking clientele. “Immersing myself in a Spanish-speaking environment has exponentially increased my communication skills, but the best part has been meeting people from countries all over the world and learning their stories.” 


Mia Isabel Rodriguez

That applied knowledge aspect of internships is clearly important for professors like Clare Sullivan. Equally important, she was proud of her students for their efforts to benefit others. “In spite of all the restrictions, my internship students greatly impressed me this semester. They managed to help our community while they improved their own understanding of language and culture.”

Real world experience and applied learning are certainly important and tangible reasons for students to do internships.  However, the importance of internships becomes even more magnified when the community can also benefit from the work of students like Maegan Helm, Hannah White and Mia Isabel Rodriguez. 


Recruiters Offer Advice



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Social media will increasingly be an important tool for those seeking employment.  That’s an important finding from a national survey of corporate human resource and recruitment professionals.  Jobvite conducts the survey on an annual basis to determine priorities and concerns of recruiters.  The results reveal important information as well for job seekers.

According to the survey, nearly 80% of respondents said they will increasingly invest during the next year in social media as a recruitment tool and also to screen candidates. Jobvite reports that result extends an already apparent trend; social media has steadily risen over the last three years for recruiting purposes. Social media channels most used for recruiting are LinkedIn (72%), Facebook (60%), Twitter (38%), Instagram (37%), Glassdoor (36%), and YouTube (27%). But other social media channels like TikTok and Snapchat are also being used for positions that are more targeted toward younger job candidates.  Jobvite advises job seekers interested in larger corporations to monitor LinkedIn since bigger organizations are more likely to use that platform. 

The second biggest source for hiring among organizations surveyed was employee referral programs.  Jobvite said that’s just another reason to directly ask your friends and professional network about opportunities within their companies; those contacts can potentially refer you for a job via their company’s referral program. 

If you get an interview, Jobvite reports there is a good chance in the midst of the pandemic that it will be virtual.  The survey indicates two-thirds of recruiters are interviewing using video, and 40% of recruiters believe virtual interviews will be the default moving forward. If you get a virtual interview, recruiters warn you to watch out for several big problems including poor internet connectivity (cited by 37% of respondents), inappropriate attire (25%), and poor eye contact (23%). Remote interviews are also a great opportunity for job seekers to show, first-hand, they are comfortable in the online environment. That’s important since 50% of those surveyed said that open roles at their organization are being hired as remote workers.

The Jobvite survey includes good news about diversity initiatives. A majority of surveyed companies have specific goals for diversity in hiring with respect to race/ethnicity (63%), gender (54%), age (37%), veterans (33%), LGBTQ+ (29%), immigrants (28%), and disability (25%).

Jobvite is an organization that helps companies attract, engage, hire, and retain the talent that will help them grow and succeed.


Watch Out for Job Scams During the Holidays


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

While the holiday season is a joyous time, unfortunately it is also a time of year when fraudsters become very active.  One type of scam that students need to be aware of is a fraudulent job offer. 

Scam Alert

Most employment scams are perpetrated on the Internet and typically involve email.  These scams have occurred for years due to the ease of mass emails, since a fraudster can reap financial gains if only a few people fall prey. You can avoid becoming a victim by thinking critically and employing savvy job search practices.

In particular, beware of emails/offers of employment that include:

  • High pay with little work
  • Requirements that you cash checks and wire money
  • Poor grammar or punctuation
  • Offers of a job without even interviewing you
  • “Website” is actually an email address
  • The office listed does not exist by that name and/or no employer information is listed
  • No telephone number or physical address are listed
  • “USA” is included in address which is usually an indication authors are from outside the country and potentially trying to scam you
  • Sounds too good to be true

These are just a few of the "red flags." Here are some resources to help you protect yourself.

Students who think they have received a scam email to their student email address should report it to UofL Information Technology Services.

And, if you ever feel a position is questionable but you are not sure, please contact the University Career Center ( and ask! 

Student Gets Work Experience Through Micro-Internship


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL graduate student recently completed a micro-internship and thinks other students at the University can benefit from these types of experiences.  Christian Covyeau is from Chicago and is finishing his masters degree in sports administration in December.  He found his micro-internship through Parker Dewey.

Intern Christian Covyeau

Christian Covyeau

Parker Dewey connects students to employers across the country for short-term, paid project work.  Most micro-internships are virtual and typically involve 5 to 40 hours of total work at an average pay rate of $15 to $20/hour.

During his micro-internship, Covyeau worked with an executive search consulting firm based out of Chicago. The company helped startups and tech companies place candidates for specialized executive roles. “My role was primarily in person but allowed for flexibility with occasional remote opportunities. I had a great experience due to the awesome people I worked with. The company was small and the founder was very involved in every project I worked on, which was extremely helpful.”

While Covyeau had a positive experience with Parker Dewey, it took very definite persistence to acquire his micro-internship.  “I only received one micro-internship opportunity after submitting 20-25 applications. I believe as the opportunities with Parker Dewey continue to grow, it will prove to be a valuable resource for students looking to gain paid experience through micro-internships.”

Given the competition, UofL students interested in micro-internships should not get discouraged since, like Covyeau, you likely will have to submit multiple applications before you get the go-ahead on a project.  Still, Covyeau thinks students should jump in on Parker Dewey.  “I would encourage other students to give the platform a try and to take the time to complete your profile as it will make you stand out among other candidates.”

To learn more and apply for micro-internships, visit the UofL - Parker Dewey website. UofL students who obtain Parker Dewey micro-internships are encouraged to email Maddie McNabb in the University Career Center to tell us about your experience.

Minority Students Less Likely to Get Paid Internships


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is reporting that minority students are at a disadvantage when it comes to internships.   The problem particularly impacts black students.

NACE research of the graduating class of 2019 shows black students accounted for 6.6% of graduating seniors, but just 6% of paid internships.  At the same time, black students accounted for 7.3% of unpaid internships, meaning they are underrepresented as paid interns and overrepresented as unpaid interns.   NACE further reports exactly the opposite for white students; overrepresented in paid internships and underrepresented in unpaid positions.  

Disparities in internships extend to other groups.  NACE research shows Hispanic students are overrepresented in the group who has never had an internship, and multi-racial students are overrepresented as unpaid interns and also those who have never had an internship.   Likewise, first-generation students made up 22% of the research sample, but accounted for just 19% of paid internships and this group also was overrepresented with more than 25% having no internship at all.  This table shows results for various groups in the study.

The director of the UofL University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, is troubled by the research report and is working to mitigate the problems.  He has developed two proposals to assist with minority internships and stipends for unpaid, non-profit internships.  “I have always discouraged unpaid internships for this very reason; it creates a disadvantage for under-represented minorities, low income, and first-gen students who can't afford to pay tuition and work for free.”

NACE also points out that career centers can play an important role in correcting the inequities.  Executive director Shawn Van Derziel said, “NACE data show that, overall, black students use the career center more than other races/ethnicities, not only in total number of visits, but also proportionally. These results suggest that career centers can be an important campus resource for employers to use to reduce inequities that exist in their internship programs.” 


Poly Sci Major Making the Most of Internship Experiences


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A Political Science major who has already completed several internships will next use those experiences as the springboard to helping to coordinate an important UofL internship program.   Dillard Collier is a senior from Danville, Kentucky who will graduate in May. He is currently completing an internship with Louisville Metro Government and councilwoman Keisha Dorsey, working on canvassing, voter registration, and several civic projects.

 Dillard Collier

Dillard Collier

Collier previously took part in the Department of Political Science Frankfort Internship Program, working with state senator Perry Clark in the spring of 2019.  This past spring he lived in Frankfort for four months, working as an intern at the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission with varied duties including review of fiscal legislation, staffing revenue subcommittees, and contributing to budget meetings/proceedings.   

Collier’s multiple internship experiences were clearly attractive to Political Science Professor Jason Gainous, who directs the Frankfort Internship Program.  Dr. Gainous selected Collier as the Student Coordinator of that internship program for the upcoming Spring, 2021 semester. 

Collier is, quite obviously, a big proponent of internships. “I think they serve as direct channels for career assessment and networking. Internships expose students, and others, to professions and skill sets commonly required in the job market. Personally, these opportunities facilitated my exploration of public service careers and helped expand my personal and professional skills. My experience with these various public employees and government positions was profoundly educational and invaluable.”

Collier’s internship work has proceeded, even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, he said his internship work has, for the most part, been unaffected by COVID-19.  “At times, I've been sent home for virtual work sessions, but I generally work in-person. I do prefer the traditional internship setting. This is because remote internship obligations tend to involve less active participation in the work process and prompt a slight disconnect for me from the agency/institution that I'm observing.”

Collier hopes to continue his work in the public sector upon completion of his degree in May.  “I'm planning to attend graduate school to pursue a master's degree in either Public Administration, Public Policy, or Political Science. I'm interested in a career as a specialized legislative assistant, policy advisor, or some other similar position within the policy process.”

Dillard Collier has clearly taken great advantage of internship opportunities to build an impressive track record of experience that will benefit him as he launches his career in the public policy sector. If you are interested in opportunities in the Frankfort Internship Program like those that Collier seized on, contact in the Department of Political Science.

After the Career Fair



By Stuart Estock, Ph.D.

The fall career fair has come and gone. Hopefully you took part in the event, obtained good information about a number of employers offering entry-level positions or internships, and had some constructive conversations.  Now what?  Whether a traditional, face-to-face career fair or a virtual event, your work is not done yet if you are serious about trying to obtain an internship or entry-level position.

The first thing you should do is get organized.  Hopefully you took some notes for each group session you attended or individual meeting/conversation.  If not, do not wait - write some notes now about the conversations and meetings you had that were of interest.  Remember as many points as possible and be sure you have included contact information including the name and title of people you met.

Next, you will want to follow-up with the companies and organizations in which you have an interest.  You should send personalized thank you notes or emails and if possible mention something you discussed specifically during the career fair event.   And do not wait to do this—your follow-up communication should be sent a day or two after the event. 

If you received feedback on your resume and/or LinkedIn profile during the event, use that information to update both.   Again, do not wait—make that a priority.  And use the opportunity as well to connect to those specific employers and recruiters on LinkedIn.

If you are seriously interested, it’s time to apply for positions you found out about.   A timely application subtly indicates that you are very interested in the opportunity.   If you are submitting a cover letter with your application, proof read, proof read again, and then have someone else proof read; typos and grammatical errors can spell doom for your chances of getting an interview.  Again, if possible, cite something specific from your career fair meetings in your application in an attempt to stand out from other applicants.

Hopefully your work will bear fruit and you will obtain an interview.  You should work continuously on your interviewing skills.  The more you interview, the more comfortable you will get and the better the impression you will make.  Find out more about interviewing, and the University Career Center’s online interviewing practice platform Big Interview.

The job and internship market is only going to become more competitive in the coming months as the nation fights the COVID-19 outbreak and the economy slowly recovers.   Taking part in career fairs and then making a concerted effort after the events will maximize your chances of obtaining a job or internship that you desire.

What Do Students Need to Succeed - Depends on Who You Ask



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A new research study indicates that students, graduates, and employers think there are a wide variety of skills and characteristics that need to be developed and refined before graduation.  Dr. Tylor Behrens of St. Mary’s University conducted the study, asking each group what skills are necessary for success in the workplace and answers ranged from confidence, teamwork and ability to manage stress to patience, networking, and goal driven.  But one characteristic was repeatedly emphasized by each group.  

Behrens interviewed 152 students who were recently offered a job, asking which personal qualities were necessary to make a successful transition from college to the work world. The top three responses for this group were:

  1. Effective writing and communication skills
  2. Leadership skills
  3. Time management skills

Behrens surveyed 159 recent grads who were hired in entry-level jobs.  Most agreed that their college degree helped them greatly in attaining the technical knowledge and training needed for a career. Their top three tips to current students about the most important skills:

  1. Communicate effectively
  2. Manage your time well
  3. Focus on customer service

Finally, responses were received from 166 hiring managers, representing small start-up to Fortune 500 corporations, who were asked, “What personal qualities do you look for in hiring a college student and what other characteristics should one possess in order to succeed?  The top three here again point toward communication skills:

  1. Personable
  2. Upbeat  
  3. Not intimidated to ask questions

Beyond the common thread of communication, however, Behrens notes that looking at what current and past students and employers think is needed for success differ substantially.  Behrens said, “The reasons the answers differed are because the skills needed at one phase of the "career-success formula" are quite a bit different from those at another stage. For example, the skills a student must possess to secure a job offer from an employer might differ greatly when it comes time for that student to perform on the job 12 months later.” Behrens calls these “situational” skills.

Behrens concludes that student success in life and career is based on their ability to master soft skills, transferable skills, interpersonal skills, and these situational skills. His work was recently published by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

New Tool to Help Students Ace Interviews



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

UofL students now have access to a tool to improve interview skills. The University Career Center (UCC) is providing access to Big Interview, an easy-to-use online interviewing platform that combines training and practice to help improve skills and build confidence.  

Big Interview can answer all the questions students have about interviews. Students can complete the online curriculum and then record practice interviews through the site. Practice interviews are offered in a variety of interview types, industries, and difficulty levels. Students can then share the video recordings of their mock interviews with others to get feedback. 

Big Interview provides more than just information about interviews, however. There are also sections about effective negotiation, resume writing, and a guide to success in the first 90 days in a new role/position. 

UCC internship coordinator Maddie McNabb is excited about the potential of Big Interview to improve students’ interviewing skills.  “We believe students who take advantage of it will find it an invaluable tool in their next internship or job search. We also look forward to partnering with faculty and other campus entities to get students to participate in mock interviews through the Big Interview platform.”

All students with a UofL email address can create an account and start practicing.  Login and additional information is available on the UCC’s Interview Prep web page.  

Be Willing to Learn and Willing to Fail



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The CEO of a nationwide non-profit that works to increase computer skills among young women urges students to be resilient and constantly pushing to advance knowledge and skills in the workplace.  Reshma Saujani founded Girls Who Code in 2012. The organization has grown to include 10,000 after-school clubs around the U.S. for girls from 3rd grade on up.  More recently, Girls Who Code has started college support programs, too. 

Saujani says the most important things she looks for in hiring employees are attitude and work experience.  “Now when I hire people, I don’t care where you went to school.  I couldn’t even tell you where 99% of my staff went. I couldn’t care less.  I care about, ‘Are you a hustler?  What experience have you had?  Are you a go-getter?’”

Saujani also looks for people who can quickly pivot from problems.  “We don’t allow for our children to fail and build resiliency in the way we need to.  At Girls Who Code, we are a big believer in failing fast.  So we’ll start something and then we’ll shut it down.  It is true that your job could be something in January and something else in May.  And so for a lot of people, that is unsettling because it’s like, ‘Whoa!’  So I want to cultivate that sense of - you want to learn, you want to fail, you want to grow, you want to develop.  It’s not necessarily about being a generalist but it’s about being someone who can actually do a multitude of things.”

The role of women in the work world is increasingly prominent, and Saujani is working particularly to increase that in the technology sector.  “I think girls and women are change makers.  I think we see a problem, climate change, bullying, ‘Blacks Lives Matter,’ and we want to do something about it.  And I think technology is an accelerator to social change, or it should be I should say.  And we need more women with computer science backgrounds who are building the next WayUps and Ubers because we come at it from a different sensibility and a different commitment to equity which I think is very, very important.”

Saujani had multiple careers in finance, law, government, and politics before starting a non-profit.  She said it is important to know when it is time to leave a position/field to do something that you are passionate about. “For most of my life I hated what I did. And Sunday would roll around and I would want to drink that second or third glass of wine and crawl back into bed because I didn’t want Monday to come because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled.  If you feel that way, it’s time to go, it really is. Because while life is long, life is short. And if you know what your purpose is and what you want to do, get to it I would say. But, that being said, in my need to put a dent into my student loan debt, I always had a day job and a night job, always had a night hustle.  I’ve always had something I was working on, something I was passionate about, something furthering my public purpose. So find your night hustle.”  

At the same time, given the public health crisis, she said this is probably not the time to figure out your life and instead given the situation, the most important thing is to take care of yourself.  Reshma Saujani, who serves on the board of overseers of Harvard, predicts the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis will be with us for a couple of years and that as a consequence, we will all have to get more comfortable with remote learning. She was the featured speaker for a recent virtual lunch and learn session, sponsored by WayUp, a job website and mobile app for college students and recent graduates. Find out more about WayUp at:

Career Paths for Black Students


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL student has created a non-profit organization to help black students advance their career aspirations.  Ethan Volk is a sophomore from Bowling Green, double majoring in Business Economics and Philosophy. He co-founded the Eckford Virtual Mentorship Program to keep the door open for black students to the job market.

Ethan Volk 

Volk said he and his co-founders were moved to action as they discussed how to contribute to the advancement of minorities after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. “We identified gaps in black achievement and black professional success and saw that black students often lacked personal and family connections in industry to help give job referrals and expose them to the type of professional opportunities that lead to the best careers. We wanted to cut the degrees of separation between the black community.”

The Eckford Program is trying to connect black students to competitive jobs and internships through mentoring. “By connecting black students to black professionals, we aim to, one - give black professionals the ability to directly diversify their industry and, two - give students the industry connections they need to become more strategically competitive for opportunities.”

The program is named for Elizabeth Eckford.  In 1957, she opened the door for a new generation of black students as part of the Little Rock 9, a group of black students who enrolled at a previously all-white high school in Arkansas. Volk is working with some former classmates on the project including Andre Battle at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Elvin Irisamye at IU-Bloomington, and Anas Gondal at Duke University. 

Already, the program has generated a presence on the Internet with a website, Instagram page, and LinkedIn account.  Volk said, “Currently our focus is on increasing awareness about our organization, and our members have been reaching out to potential mentors and campus organizations around the country who would be able to assist us making students aware of our organization and the opportunities we seek to provide.” 

And Volk said they have met with some initial success. “We’ve had the amazing opportunity to connect with more than a few universities and engage their black communities, most notably here at UofL and at Indiana University. In addition, we’ve garnered industry support in a wide range of places and aim to gain a few more partners in equity here in Louisville.

Volk said the program focused on virtual communication because of the coronavirus pandemic.  In so doing, it provides an added benefit. “It allows students to connect with professionals who they previously may have not had access to because of their location. The black student community hasn’t had the same luxury in having easy access connections in the professional world. We aim to cut degrees of separation so that a first-gen Louisville black business student can gain a world-class black professional mentor working in New York or Chicago. This has all become possible because of technology, and specifically developments in telecommunication from this period of coronavirus lockdown.”

Volk came to UofL, initially planning pre-med studies and a career helping others. While he has changed his major, his longer-term plan to benefit the community remains. “I hope to utilize my education to help uplift others in any way possible, and I think that the Eckford Program will help give me hands on experience in learning to use the strength of community to empower people to fundamentally change inequities in existing structures.”

If you want to connect with the Eckford Virtual Mentorship Program, you can check out their website, Instagram page, or LinkedIn profile.

Employers Advise Students to Build "Soft Skills"



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The knowledge that college students are building in the classroom is certainly important.  But in a recent virtual panel session, employers suggested that UofL students need to be developing a broader knowledge and skill set.  

That was one of the takeaways in a virtual Q&A session from the University Career Center, featuring Aidan Keenan, a corporate recruiter for Kroger and Brittany Mecham, an integrated recruitment specialist from UPS.

Both Keenan and Mecham suggested so-called “soft skill” development is crucial. Soft skills pertain to things like how well you work in a team, problem-solving ability, management of people, leadership, and ownership/stewardship of projects. Also important, general communication skills like writing and speaking. 

According to Mecham, “We always are looking for people who know how to talk because no matter what you are going to be doing and in whatever career you want, you are going to have to be able to talk to people.  You really want to be able to make good connections and good relationships with your teammates because you are going to be relying on them, you are going to be working on projects together.  So those soft skills are always good communication, problem solving and working with other people.  Those are the top three that we really look for across the board with the recruiting that we are involved in.”

Keenan said a strong set of soft skills can yield short-term advantages for job seekers, but also longer-term benefits. "Connecting to your work ethic, your passion and drive.  Those are important skills that will take you farther in your career." 

Students should highlight soft skills as one facet of their resume since it has become an important factor that employers consider.  What about GPA?  Mecham said, “Your resume should show other skills that you have besides just ‘I’m really good at taking tests and I’m really good at getting my assignments in on-time.’  I think it’s definitely a piece of what we are looking for as an employer but it doesn’t tell the whole story and it’s not the end-all, be-all of determining if you will get a job or not.”

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, it appears for the foreseeable future that career fairs will be held virtually/remotely.  Keenan said students should prepare for a virtual career fair the same way they would prepare for a traditional career fair in a physical environment. “It might look different but the preparation piece of it should still stay the same.  So, it is still dress professionally, rehearse your pitch, really showcase yourself to that recruiter and be able to highlight your qualities.  It also relates back to virtual interviewing too, having that quiet space where you can attend the career fair and if you are on video, having a non-distracting background. Take into account sound quality.  Look into the camera and have direct eye contact so you are still having that digital ‘handshake.’ Although you are not actually touching, you are still doing that rapport piece which is really crucial.”

Mecham adds students need to do research in advance of virtual career fairs.  They should know something about the companies they want to talk to, and also about the positions in which they have an interest.  According to Mecham, that can very much help to guide the conversation.  

Once those internship or job offers come along, students need to be prepared, at least for now, for the possibility of remote work.  Keenan said in order to thrive, students need, “…to have a space that you call your own work space for the virtual environment and being flexible and adaptable to change since our environment is constantly changing.”

Mecham said for virtual work, students should set up a specific schedule.  "You don’t have anyone there watching you.  So, it is really up to you to have that perseverance and the hard work ethic to get everything done that you need to do during a day so that you really need to set up a good schedule.  Another really important thing is to take breaks because it is a long day sitting at your desk every single day, on your camera or on your email, whatever project you are working on. It can get really long … take a break, stand up and walk around, move around a bit.  And, schedule some time so you can meet with your team and that's not really work-focused.  Every week we try to do something fun like a meditation, yoga, we’ve done a happy hour.  Trying to keep some of that team-bonding there and making sure we are getting things done even though we are not all sitting together in the office.”

To watch the full Q&A session with Aidan Keenan from Kroger and Brittany Mecham from UPS, as well as other virtual workshops from the UofL University Career Center, visit the UCC Virtual Workship Page

Planning For a Turbulent Market And Change


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

It seems like a day does not pass now without changes announced about public gatherings, public health recommendations, swings in the economy, and a chaotic labor market.   But career development experts say that in order to navigate times like these and successfully enter the workforce, students need to be ready to respond to the complexities and the uncertainty.  “Planned happenstance skills are a set of competencies to deal effectively with unplanned events generated by chaotic environment (Mitchel, Levin & Krumboltz, 1999).”  And the director of the UofL University Career Center says this set of skills is particularly important for students during the Covid-19 pandemic as they prepare for the job market.  

Bill Fletcher said students need to focus on the things they can control “We cannot control happenstance and chaos, but these career theories encourage students to plan for, and take advantage of, things that come about naturally. Students can control how they take advantage of these unplanned events.”

Happenstance theory dictates that students prepare for the unexpected, like a world-wide pandemic that creates upheaval in the global economy.  In response, career development experts suggest students proactively work on things like building their network, enhancing their interview skills, revising their resume, and devising a multi-faceted internship or job search strategy.  

Fletcher said in a chaotic environment, students should also be open to new possibilities. “Being able to pivot and adjust are not just career skills, but work and life skills.  It is great to have a plan, but most plans need adjusting along the way.” 

In their research on happenstance, Mitchel and colleagues recommend that students work on a set of five more generalized characteristics that will help them to seize the opportunities that become available.   These include:

Curiosity - exploring new learning opportunities

Persistence - exerting effort despite setbacks

Flexibility - changing attitudes and circumstances

Optimism - viewing new opportunities as possible and attainable

Risk taking - taking action in the face of uncertain outcomes

Working to enhance these characteristics can create “a good basement for starting off students’ careers with strong human and psychological capital. The planned happenstance skills help survival and ensure success in the contemporary world of work”(Valickas, Raišienė, & Rapuano, 2019).  

Fletcher says students ultimately should realize that most career paths do not take a simple, linear route. “When networking with others, ask them about their career path.  Look for examples of ‘happenstance’ and how they leveraged situations to move forward in their careers.  Most people take a career path with many twists and turns because of how they react to what is going on in the current environment.” 


Mitchel, K.E., Levin, S.A., and Krumboltz, J.D. (1999). Planned happenstance: Constructing unexpected career opportunities. Journal of Counseling and Development, 77, 115–124.

Agota, A.V., Raišienė, G., and Rapuano, V. (2019). Planned Happenstance Skills as Personal Resources for Students’ 

Psychological Wellbeing and Academic Adjustment. Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development, 20 June. Online at:

The Danger of "Underemployment"

Dangerous First Jobs: The Problem Of “Underemployment”

By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

While the global pandemic and a tight job market might lead recent graduates to feel like they have to take the first job offer that comes along, that can lead to “underemployment.”  And the director of the UofL University Career Center thinks that is something of which you need to be wary.  

Bill Fletcher said underemployment involves a job that doesn’t utilize your education, experience or past training.  It can also involve earning less than what is normal for someone with your education and experience, or having part-time work but wanting to work full-time.  

Underemployment is fairly common, even in better economic times than we are now experiencing.  Research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicated that between 1990 and 2012, about a third of college graduates aged 25-65 worked in jobs that did not require a degree.  The NY Fed reported that number rose to 44% of recent graduates aged 22 to 27 by 2012.  More recently, 76% of those surveyed in 2016 by said that they were not using their education or training, and 46% considered themselves underemployed.  

Fletcher said underemployment can have long-term negative consequences for your career.  “There is a compounding effect of starting in a lower position in terms of gaining necessary on-the-job training and earning potential. It is easier and faster to climb the career ladder if you start out on a higher rung." 

Individuals who find themselves underemployed face significant financial losses.  Burning Glass Technologies reports that recent graduates who are working in positions for which they are over-qualified earn on average $10,000 less per year than their peers who are working in college-level jobs.  

The trap of underemployment can be difficult to break.  An unfulfilling job can result in you being less than invested in work and sub-standard effort, harming your chances to advance or change positions.  And if you are not using the skills and knowledge in which you are invested, those can stagnate and further impair your ability to move into an industry or field you truly desire.  

Unfortunately, a significant number of people find themselves in a cycle of underemployment.  According to a 2018 research study from the Strada Institute for the Future of Work and Burning Glass, 43% of college grads were underemployed in their first job.  Then, 28% of college grads remain underemployed five years later and 21% still were without college-level work at the 10-year mark. 

In some financial situations, Fletcher realizes you may have to take a less than desired position to pay bills.  But he urges you to be conscious of underemployment and make the best of the situation. "Your first job, whether underemployed or not, should allow you the opportunity to volunteer for projects or take on a new role to gain skills to advance to your next position. Don't get stuck in a rut performing a task. Thus, some underemployed positions may provide better learning opportunities than others.”

Fletcher also recommends you actively work to break the underemployment cycle.  “Make sure to identify gaps in your skill base and work to better yourself in those areas.  And, always build relationships and network since that can be the key to obtaining leads on jobs that are a better fit for you.”

Other strategies to overcome underemployment include: 

* Think about the possibility of a career change to a field/industry that still allows you to apply your skills and knowledge base.

* Consider opportunities you may have neglected in the past that again fit your skills and knowledge.  

* Research the market, looking for growth industries like healthcare, logistics and IT for example.


Persistence Pays Off for UofL Alums


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

The Great Recession of 2007-2009 was a dark economic time in the U.S. and globally. The real estate market crashed, banks went under, and millions of people lost their jobs.  It took 6-plus years for unemployment rates to fully recover from the most severe economic meltdown since the Great Depression.   Now, recent graduates and students who will be graduating in the next year face the prospects of an uncertain economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, what advice can job seekers who confronted the Great Recession offer to today’s students and recent graduates?

We talked to two UofL graduates from that last economic crisis to provide some perspective.  Katie O’Sullivan completed her MBA in 2008 and today works as the Director of Communications at the Nerinx Hall High School in St. Louis.  Gavin LaPaille graduated with a BA in Communication in 2009 and works today as a data manager at Humana in Louisville.  Both had initial difficulties looking for a job after leaving UofL.

O’Sullivan admits that she had unrealistic expectations about the jobs she could obtain and salary she was going to receive in the midst of a recession. “I found myself falling back on my undergraduate degree in journalism to even be able to get interviews, which made me question if grad school had been worth it and I was discouraged about the future.”

After months of trying, O’Sullivan landed her first job as a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Police Department, although it wasn’t what she really wanted to do.  “I just assumed I would do something finance/business related. Ultimately though, my career was permanently altered by that first job. It might not have been my dream job at the time, but it set me up for a clear path forward. And though the timing of my degree was a little unfortunate, I am still so glad I had my experience at U of L. There are so many lessons I learned in my program that I continue to use every day.” 

LaPaille found himself competing with older, more experienced applicants when looking for his entry-level job in the midst of the recession. “Businesses were laying off employees and eliminating positions left and right, so there wasn't much to pick from and most were looking for someone who had more professional experience than I did as a new graduate. I had expectations of entertaining multiple job offers upon graduation, and I discovered very quickly that wasn't going to happen.”

LaPaille initially lived with his parents to ease the financial burden of unemployment until he landed his first temporary position, and later a full-time position troubleshooting cell phone customer problems.  But it wasn’t the “right” job. “The whole experience was incredibly humbling. I had always excelled in school and had completed several internships while in undergrad, in addition to working for the school newspaper, so I thought I had done all the right things to put myself in position for success after college. But when I started applying and interviewing for jobs and then later getting the call or email that they were going in another direction; I began to realize how difficult it was going to be to achieve the level of success professionally that I wanted.” 

In LaPaille’s case, his work toward a fulfilling career path included a side trip for a master’s degree after two years of positions that were just not what he really wanted. “I'd never planned to go back to school, and in some ways, it felt like I was admitting failure when I first enrolled, but I had a different perspective the second time around and the opportunity to broaden my experiences, both professionally and personally. It was after getting my master’s that I was able to turn the corner and start seeing some of the successes I thought would come so easily in 2009. It definitely made me appreciate what came my way later on, and still does to this day in a way that I never would have otherwise.”

So, what advice do these UofL graduates have for job seekers in the midst of a global pandemic?  O’Sullivan says first and foremost, network-network-network.  “Start making calls to any connections you may have from UofL, student organizations, your high schools, or friends/family. I currently work at a high school, and have had a lot of young alums reach out to say they were looking for jobs. People really are willing to help if they can, and you just have to be open to what you might consider that you previously would not have. I have picked up more unknown numbers since March than I have in the last 10 years. Take advantage of that and make some phone calls (not texts or emails) to let people know you are looking.”

LaPaille suggests to remember that your first job, or even the second one, does not necessarily define who you are as a person. “It's important to look yourself in the mirror and feel confident in who you are, even if you're not happy with what you're doing professionally. Everyone used to tell me it would work out eventually - and it did - but in the moment, it can definitely feel like things are never going to get better.” 

O’Sullivan thinks graduate school could be an option for some students, but those who are looking for jobs need to consider expanding the possibilities geographically beyond Louisville and Kentucky.  She also recommends potentially working in a political campaign or volunteering for a cause you believe in, to fill in gaps in your resume and also to meet people.  Above all else, she urges you to keep active and keep pushing.  “We are often told as young people to find a job we love, but that can be difficult under the best of circumstances and even more so in a financial crisis. If I could tell 22 or 24-year-old me something, it would be to recognize that fact. Sometimes we are lucky to find jobs we love, but sometimes we just have to find a job for a year or two that leads to something bigger and better. If you can find something that allows you time to continue to explore your passions outside work, and that shows you what step might be next in your career, those are significant wins.”

LaPaille, too, says above all else, be persistent. “You have to fight through that the best you can. There's going to be aspects of job hunting that seem incredibly unfair, whether it be a position you wanted not working out or seeing others who you don't think worked as hard as you getting to a level of success faster than you. Everyone's path is different, and you never know what those skills you learn in that job you think is beneath you will eventually lead to. The worst thing you can do is give up and quit trying - then it definitely won't get any better. Keep plugging away and putting yourself in good positions, and eventually someone will notice.”

UofL Students, Graduates, and Contact Tracing



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

One of the most important factors in reducing the toll of COVID-19 and halting its spread will be contacting those who have the illness and then warning those with whom they have been in contact. It’s called “contact tracing,” and UofL is involved in the effort. 

The Dean of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences, Craig Blakely, said “In short, what we are trying to do in absence of a vaccine, is shift from our broad-focused state-wide stay-at-home strategy to one where we more aggressively isolate those who are positive and those who have been in contact with them. If we can stop spread at points of contact, then the rest of us are more free to move about—practicing physical distancing, etc.”

Blakely said the School of Public Health is actively involved in city and state contact tracing efforts. “We believe that our students would be great team players in this setting. They have a great foundation and can easily get trained up for these jobs. It would be a great experience for them and a huge resume builder. Some can get practicum or capstone experience credit for doing this.” 

Already, some current and former UofL students are doing volunteer contact tracing work.  Delana Gilkey will graduate this December with a Master’s in Public Health. The Louisville native volunteered to work with the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health because she wanted to make a difference in her community.  “I felt that sharing news articles or writing posts, judging and telling other people what to do via social media, wasn’t making a difference or helping at all. Instead, if anything, it was only bringing to light the inequalities between communities of high socioeconomic status and low socioeconomic status. As a result, I became very intrigued with educating myself on the coronavirus, and I began to feel a constant tug that I should be doing something more to help.”


Delana Gilkey

For Eriqc Lumzy, volunteering to do contact tracing work embodies how he feels about his Public Health major.  Lumzy, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, just completed his BA degree. “I am passionate and eager to get involved with public health. I saw this as a great opportunity to have a direct impact on a once in a lifetime pandemic.”


Eriqc Lumzy

Gilkey said her contact tracing work has been equally gratifying, humbling, and frustrating.  “I have had an incredible opportunity to be able to comfort people who have tested positive and provide support to families who have lost a loved one to the coronavirus. I have also had encounters with individuals who were skeptical that I was really with the local Health Department and didn’t want to share any information or refused to comply to isolation orders. But being able to just provide a listening ear and having the chance to educate callers and answer their questions feels like I’m contributing and we’re making progress. As a result of being able to help during these tough times, I have learned so much. I’m eager to keep this momentum.”

Likewise, Lumzy thinks he is having a vital impact on the community. “It feels great knowing that I can take part in saving countless lives and helping us get back to somewhat of a normal life. Prior to volunteering, I assumed that because of the wide spread news coverage, everyone knew how serious COVID-19 was. The lack of knowledge became apparent within my first day of volunteering. I was proud to be providing life-saving information.” 

Gilkey has learned an important sense of empathy through her work, and also the importance of critical thinking.  “Being able to sympathize with other people during this time is crucial. It can be as easy as providing a listening ear or helping hands. This experience has also proven that it is important to do your own research, to read credible articles that not only interest you but that you also understand so that you are able to understand the impact the coronavirus can have, and to form your own opinion.  Most importantly, if you feel a continuous tug to get involved, you should follow that feeling and try to help out where you can.” 

For Lumzy, the experience has brought a recognition of what our community desperately needs. “This experience has changed my perspective on the inequalities of resources that make minorities more susceptible to diseases and outbreaks.”

While the current contact tracing work is being done at the city and state level, Dean Craig Blakely from the School of Public Health notes that UofL is going to undertake a parallel effort. “We are engaged in planning. I presume public health students will be in the middle of all of this. Of course, A&S, social work, nursing—all could be engaged as well. It’s important work.”

Indeed it is important work and we can all be thankful, and grateful, that UofLers like Delana Gilkey and Eriqc Lumzy are involved.  If you know of UofL students doing important work in our community as we battle coronavirus, please send an  so we can highlight their story.

Growth of Micro Internships



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Many students know the benefits of an internship.  They provide students with practical experience to apply what has been learned in the classroom.  Internships also give students an opportunity to network, find out first-hand what a particular field is really like (as opposed to hearing about it in the classroom), and they let students test out whether that type of position is  really something they want to do.  But during difficult economic times like a COVID-19 economy, a traditional internship could be difficult to find.  Stepping into the void increasingly is something referred to as a “micro-internship.”

Micro-internships are project-based positions that involve a much smaller time commitment than the traditional internship.  Positions typically center on short-term projects requiring 5 to 40 hours of work that would be given to a new hire or intern, and students receive a fixed fee for their work.  Most project deadlines range from one week to one month. Micro-internship projects include sales/lead generation, content development and data entry for just a few examples.  It’s an opportunity for students to gain important, real-world experience and get paid at the same time.

The director of UofL’s University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said micro-internships are not a new concept. “Micro-internships have been around for a few years but the pandemic has moved it to the forefront of career issues as the vast majority of these projects are completed remotely.  Thus, students in Louisville could complete micro-internships with west or east coast employers while currently taking classes - opportunities they may not have otherwise been able to complete.” 

The virtual nature of micro internships potentially benefits students in other ways.  They provide time and geographic flexibility, which is important for some students who may lack transportation or have problems fitting a traditional internship into their academic schedule.

Beyond the benefits of a remote experience, while many students may only have one opportunity to do a traditional internship that could impact their career choices, the micro-concept can potentially open a range of options. The short-term nature of micro-internships allows students to explore a wide variety of potential career directions by executing multiple projects. 

The micro-internship can provide a needed, quality alternative to a traditional internship.  Fletcher said the reality is some students simply encounter circumstances that don’t allow them to do a traditional internship. “Online students who may have a full-time job, military students, student athletes, and adult learners, most of whom have other time commitments, can't take the time off to complete regular internships.” Traditional internships may also not be possible because of, for example, a student’s economic or life situation, an inability to relocate, or a lack of social capital/networking connections. In all of these situations, at the very least a student can gain some level of practical experience with a micro-internship.    

Some schools have started micro-internship-like programs.  Northeastern University has a program called the “Experience Network,” in which students work on projects for employers from six to eight weeks.  And on the west coast, Stanford University has a summer program in which students work on a series of projects for employers.  

Nationally, a company called Parker Dewey has come to the forefront as a clearinghouse for micro-internships.  The company maintains a website on which students register and create accounts.  Employers post positions on the website and pay rates.  When students complete a micro-internship, payment comes from Parker Dewey, which keeps a 10% fee from the employer.  

Bottom line is that it appears there will be more micro-internship and project work available to students in the future.  Bill Fletcher of the University Career Center thinks not only can that help a student’s professional development, it could also serve as a bridge to more intensive real-world experiences before entering the job market. “Micro-internships are great for students to prepare for full semester internships and to supplement in building skills to fill in around internships. 

For more information on Parker Dewey and its micro-internship program, go to this link:

Law Student Interns During Pandemic



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Many students are continuing to press forward with their career plans and professional development, even as the COVID-19 outbreak has left economic problems and a tight job market in its wake. One such student is Katie Davidson who is completing the second year of her studies with the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at UofL.  

The Louisville native is spending the summer interning with the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. “Second to the Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit is the highest federal court for Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. When a case is being appealed from the federal district courts in these states, the Sixth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction. Margaret Lawrence and I, both rising third year law students, are two of the four interns. We were told that UofL students had never worked in the Motions Unit before, which is interesting because this year there are two of us.”

Intern Katie Davidson

Katie Davidson

Davidson said it was a shock when the pandemic spread in the U.S. and UofL classes moved online.  “Law school online was a challenge. I miss seeing my professors, friends, and classmates in person. I miss the entire Brandeis community. You would think that almost three months into this, that it would be easier, but some days are just as hard as the first.” 

Davidson’s internship shifted to remote work since the closing of the Sixth Circuit courthouse in late April because of the pandemic.  And that’s resulted in at least some changes in court operations.  “It isn’t so much that the types of cases being heard are different, but the volume of litigants seeking release has increased and has been complicated, especially for litigants sending materials from facilities that aren’t processing mail in a timely manner.  And now, oral arguments will be held remotely, following the lead of the Supreme Court.”

Davidson admits to being a bit nervous about jobs that will be available when she graduates, given a post-pandemic economy. She is already in the process of applying for post-graduate clerkships with both federal and state courts for summer/fall of 2021. She hopes to eventually work in courtroom advocacy. “I’m interested in many areas of the law, and I’ve been lucky enough to have worked in a number of areas of the law as an undergraduate student and now as a law student. I know that, whatever field I end up in, public service needs to be part of my career…I want to work hard this summer so that I can work toward becoming the advocate this community needs and deserves.”

As Davidson completes her virtual internship with the federal court amidst a global health crisis, she has realized something that extends far beyond knowledge of the law and her planned profession. “The most important thing I’ve learned, or maybe re-learned, is to be kind to myself. This is an extraordinary time we’re living in, and the first step to having compassion for others is to have compassion for oneself. It’s simple, but I am empowered by the idea that I can give more to others by first taking care of myself. In the context of a pandemic, this has manifested in awareness of the suffering around me while also tending to the stress and anxiety that accompanies these uncertain times.”   

Davidson is grateful to the UofL School of Law for its support during the pandemic. “The entire Brandeis community has just been exceptional throughout this entire ordeal. The administration has catered to so many concerns, and their hard work behind the curtain has allowed us students to carry on in spite of extraordinary circumstances. The school’s Office of Professional Development has virtual happy hours and networking opportunities that law students would normally take advantage of in-person over the summer. I am so grateful to OPD for everything they’ve done to help me as I pursue my goals during these strange times.”

UofL Graduate Starts First Job During Pandemic


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

You just finished college.  And you are now getting ready to start your first job as an official graduate.  But the world around you is in turmoil because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It should be one of the happiest times of your life.  So how does it feel launching your career during a global pandemic?

To get some perspective on this, let’s hear the thoughts of Jamison Edwards (Economics '19).  While at UofL, Jamison worked with the University Career Center as a “Peer Career Advisor,” so he is particularly attuned with what students go through as they advance their professional interests and seek entry-level jobs.  Edwards now lives in South Bend, Indiana and works for enFocus, a non-profit that tries to spark innovation and stronger communities.  

 Jamison Edwards

Edwards' position with enFocus is an Innovation Fellow. “I work with organizations of all types - healthcare, education, government, nonprofit, and for-profit businesses in north Indiana. In short, I work with local community sponsors using a data-driven approach to gather insights that catalyze change and promote efficiency within the organizations.”  

Edwards found the position on LinkedIn through a childhood friend. When he received an offer after going through the interview process, Edwards had at least some mixed emotions about starting his position. “When I was originally offered the opportunity to join the team at enFocus, I was grateful, a bit nostalgic, and ready to begin my new journey. Then, I saw the start date: March 9, 2020. My excitement quickly turned into nervous energy. How was I going to be able to present myself to my new leadership team, coworkers, neighbors, and the community at large when I was busy researching, building, and revising my perfect NCAA basketball bracket? After all, this was my year!” 

Obviously, the college basketball season and the NCAA Tournament were cancelled for the Cardinals and all other schools as the COVID-19 outbreak worsened in mid-March. That was also the time period when work for most of us changed from face-to-face to the online world. “I on-boarded both virtually and in person. Three days in person but then we closed our offices at the end of the day on Wednesday (March 11). It helped to be able to be in the office and interact with most of my coworkers before the office closed even if for just a few days. Starting May 26th, our summer interns began their virtual onboarding process. For me, that puts in perspective how lucky I was to be able to have three days on site to settle in and get my routine set.”

Edwards said working virtually has been different than what he expected, “but at the end of the day, the job isn't any different. In my role, I'm working with multiple different people at multiple different companies in the area. Although I am looking forward to meeting the people I have been working alongside for the last couple of months, the number and accessibility of video conferencing platforms have allowed the job requirements to remain consistent.”

Despite the pandemic and the necessity of working remotely, Edwards said his new employer has gone out of its way to make him feel welcome and a part of the team. “For example, enFocus has provided us with opportunities to individually grab lunch and then hop on a Zoom call and have a team lunch with our coworkers. Also, it is common for us to just reach out to others and see if one of the other fellows would like to have a virtual lunch. I sometimes joke how weird it is that I've made new internet friends out of my coworkers because there are some that I speak with daily that I haven't even met in person.”

Edwards thinks that working remotely has made him a better communicator. “In normal times, I feel that I often take the ability to go knock on a coworker’s door or visit their desk to ask a question for granted. However, I am now finding that I am becoming much more calculated and concise in my communication. Now, I rewrite and proof even the shortest of emails because the words matter all that much more when you are unable to utilize the social cues provided by real-time, in-person conversation.”

In our new everyday work world, it can feel isolating to work remotely.  While Edwards wishes his new job provided face-to-face contact with others on the team, he is making the best of the work situation that the pandemic has created.  “Selfishly, I wish our office never closed. I wish I had to challenge myself not to watch March Madness at work all day. That's not the reality. The reality is I am in a new city, at a new job, and, along with everyone else, facing a new set of challenges. So be it. I'm going to continue taking everything in stride. At enFocus, I have found a supportive team to assist me, from a distance, every step of the way.”



Pandemic or No Pandemic - Your First Job Won't be your Last



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Perhaps your parents or grandparents worked in one job for the same company their entire career.  Could that happen to you, too?  What does a tight job market amidst the COVID-19 pandemic portend for you recent grads looking now for a position and those who will soon be finishing up your degree program and entering what could be a tight job market?

Career development experts say the reality is that for most fields, there is a lack of employment stability.  In a coronavirus economy, that’s more true today than ever before.  To amplify on that idea, the average person in the USA changes careers 3+ times.  Furthermore, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average member of the “baby boom” generation held 12.3 jobs between the ages of 18 and 52. 

Armed with that information, it’s safe to assume you will likely NOT work in the same career for the same company in the same position for the entirety of your work life.  Knowing that and living in the realities of the COVID-19 world, experts recommend that at this point in time, you should consider career options and fields that you had not previously thought about.  

Career development professional Sharon Belden Castonguay conducted research during the recession of the 1990s that examined the varied routes that career paths take.  She interviewed a variety of successful businesspeople about what they did during that economic downturn after they graduated college.  Initially most had taken what Castonguay calls a “path of least resistance,” in jobs like office temp, store clerk, and restaurant hostess, in order to pay their bills.  “When I interviewed them, they were in their mid-to late-thirties, and all had ultimately managed to achieve career success on the surface: gainful employment, and a level of prestige and income that they could be proud to report to their alumni magazines. But they weren’t all happy where they’d ended up. Most were satisfied, but others had continued on that path of least resistance for over a decade. They took advantage of new opportunities as the economy improved, but without really stopping to ask themselves how their interests were developing over time.”

This group of businesspeople Castonguay interviewed largely neglected an on-going process of networking, self-evaluation, and professional development. Unlike those folks who did not feel fulfilled in their careers, whatever your first job becomes, keep working to learn more and better your standing in the marketplace until you find the “right” career and position.  

While it’s possible that your career path may mimic a grandparent or parent who worked for the same company in the same position their entire career, odds are that will not be the case, particularly as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 crisis and a tight job market.  The path to your final career destination won’t be linear and will likely take many twists and turns along the way. Consider all of the options you have, and think outside the box about industries and fields you may not have considered previously.  For now, you might have to take whatever position you can get. But remember that won’t be your last job, nor does that position have to define your career.  

For more thoughts about getting a job after you graduate, check out the suggestions of employment consultant Lindsey Pollak.



Engineering Co-op Student Aiding COVID-19 First Responders



 By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

A UofL Biomedical Engineering senior is continuing his important work to safeguard front-line personnel battling the coronavirus pandemic.  Meet Shah Tarun who hails from Bangladesh and will graduate this December.

 Shah Tarun

Shah Tarun

 Tarun came to the United States and UofL in 2015 as a Biology major and switched to the Speed School of Engineering in 2017. In addition to his engineering degree, he is working on minors in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies as well as Psychology.

Tarun is doing coronavirus-related work with Dr. Jaimin Trivedi, an instructor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at the UofL School of Medicine.  "I have been working with him on a couple of projects related to protecting healthcare workers against Covid-19 in a clinical setting.”

Like other co-op students, Tarun is using the experience to further his professional development.  “I believe that this experience will overall showcase my skill-set within the HTM/biomedical profession and continue to show my determination on doing what is right for the community.”

He is finding his work with Dr. Trivedi incredibly rewarding.  “It feels amazing to know that such a project can benefit PCP, ED, nurses, etc. It is even more amazing if you think that this project could help the common person too, making it commercialize-able for the community and providing the need for everyone if they so wish to.”

In a time of crisis, the work by Dr. Jaimin Trivedi and Shah Tarun offers a glimmer of optimism.  “I feel like this experience made me better prepare for the worst outcome that could happen in the near future. Overall, it made me hopeful that my mentor and I can provide the hope that our healthcare providers need in these dire circumstances.”

Find out more about the amazing work that UofL students like Shah Tarun are doing during the COVID-19 crisis by looking at our previous news stories.  And if you know of any students who are doing work that aids the community during the pandemic, please send email so we can tell that story, too (

Use Summer to Advance Career Development



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D. 

Has your summer job or internship possibility gone awry amidst the pandemic? Wondering what you will do this summer as you bunker down to protect you and your family from COVID-19?  With all the uncertainty, you might be tempted to sit back, play video games, work on your suntan, and essentially do nothing constructive.  But an assistant director at the UofL University Career Center is here to tell you this is a great time for students to get a move-on to advance their future.

Mallory Newby says the public health crisis creates a unique career development opportunity. “I encourage students to take this time to advance their technical knowledge/skills and overall professional development to demonstrate to employers that they are being proactive during challenging times and help to gain a competitive edge in a tight labor market.”

One place to start is by visiting the “Learn” section of the University of Louisville’s Center for Digital Transformation to take advantage of a variety of free badging and certification courses.  Newby said UofL has several partnerships with Google, Microsoft Learn and IBM to name a few, offering free mini courses ranging from beginner to advanced levels. “There are literally hundreds and hundreds to choose from and if you don’t consider yourself to be the most tech savvy person, look at the beginner level and fundamental types of courses.  I would personally recommend the Microsoft 365 Certified: Fundamentals course to gain a basic understanding of cloud concepts, as well as an overview of the core Microsoft 365 services like Teams, SharePoint, and Stream and how to use these tools to maintain and enhance productivity.”

LinkedIn Learning is another good source for additional professional development training on topics like discovering your strengths, personal branding and even productivity tips.  In addition, sites like EdX and Coursera offer free college courses that are recorded or streamed from world renown universities like Stanford and Harvard.  These courses can potentially parallel a career area in which you are interested or a topic area in which you are looking for cultural and intellectual enrichment.  

Newby said to be sure to search or look for "no cost" and "free" in the listings.  “As a general rule, most badges are free but formal exam certifications might cost to take the test following the course. UofL’s Center for Digital Transformation recommends never paying with a credit card unless you are wanting to cover the cost for a certification exam. I personally have not elected to pay for the completion certificates and would probably not encourage students to do so either. After passing any badge or certification level, you may still be awarded a digital credential emblem or symbol.  Regardless you can still display completion of these trainings on your resume, LinkedIn account or other professional documents.”

Some other ideas for summer career development: 

  • Think about a possible research project.  You may be able to work on something on your own, or possibly can partner with a professor who has an interest in an area you want to advance.
  • Create your own summer project.  It could be something like writing a blog, producing some type of video, or even starting a small business in your neighborhood.  Pick a project that helps you to develop a skill set, advancing and moving you toward your career ambitions.
  • Volunteer to do work in your community.  Service work fosters leadership skills and is something that shines on your record of achievement.
  • If you are thinking about a master’s degree or professional degree program after your undergraduate degree, the coronavirus outbreak and summer 2020 make it a great time to start researching programs in which you have an interest.  You can also use the time to start preparing for entrance exams like the GRE, MCAT and LSAT.  The UofL Graduate School has information on getting ready for the exam. 

These are just some ideas for how to make the best use of summer 2020 as you travel down your chosen career path. For more ideas, check out this article from Washington University in St. Louis.  


Co-op Student Works on Coronavirus Project



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

A UofL engineering student is continuing his work with an Owensboro company that is working on a potential COVID-19 vaccine.  Dustin Williams is in the second year of the chemical engineering program and is doing a co-op with Kentucky BioProcessing (KBP), a U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco. 


Co-op Dustin Williams

Pre-clinical testing is underway on the potential vaccine, using fast-growing tobacco plant technology.  According to KBP, tobacco plants offer the potential for faster and safer vaccine development compared to conventional methods.  If testing goes well, the company is hopeful that between 1 and 3 million doses of the vaccine could be manufactured per week, beginning in June. KBP remains a commercial operation but its work around the COVID-19 vaccine project will be carried out on a not-for-profit basis.

While Williams can’t talk about the specifics of his confidential work, he remains in Owensboro working on this important project.  “We're still on site, and we're taking care to apply strict social distancing policies based on guidance from state and federal government agencies.”

Williams realizes the COVID-19 outbreak has created a unique opportunity for his professional growth. “The cooperative education program is meant to give students some engineering work experience while they're still in school, but this experience has also given me the opportunity to work on something truly important and impactful early in my career. I'm sure that's something many students worry about: struggling to find a meaningful path forward using their education.” 

Williams has learned a great deal during his co-op. “It's has a lot more to do with advanced chemistry and biology than most chemical engineering co-ops, and I've learned many skills and concepts that I wouldn't have imagined learning. So my trajectory is a lot different than I expected, but I'm thankful to be here, and to be doing important work. I would also love to keep growing my skillset in this sector.”

But the lessons learned in Williams’ co-op extend beyond the application of chemical engineering knowledge. “For me, this experience has helped me compartmentalize -- to draw the line between free time and crunch time, to tell the difference between an opportunity to learn or innovate and something that just needs to get done.”

Williams credits his KBP colleagues for making him a part of the team and for the important work they are doing to find a COVID-19 vaccine. “I’ve developed a deep appreciation for my relationships with my coworkers. During a time when many of us are struggling to fulfill those social needs in our lives, I cherish being able to come in and work alongside some of the brightest, most hardworking people I've ever known.”

Dustin Williams and the team at KBP in Owensboro give us hope that we’ll come out together on the other side of the pandemic.  If you know of other UofL students like Dustin doing work to currently benefit our community as we fight coronavirus, please email that information so we can tell more of these stories (

UofL Student Making a Difference



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Meet Josh Osborne, yet another Cardinal doing great work in our community during the COVID-19 crisis while simultaneously benefiting his career development. Josh is from Louisville and is graduating with an English major and Spanish minor.  Most important, he is making an important contribution now to the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs.


Josh Osborne

Intern Josh Osborne 

The Backside Learning Center is a non-profit that works with and assists equine workers at the racetrack, many of whom speak little English, as well as their families. Josh had been teaching English-as-a-second language courses to kids and families at the Center but that changed when the coronavirus hit. “We have shifted our focus from offering adult and children English classes to focusing on getting the families that are in need the food, diapers, and encouragement that is needed to survive in these troubling times.”

Osborne has experienced professional and personal growth through this work. “It’s helped me understand that I can overcome any adversity. It has been difficult to adjust to the rapid changing semester to be able to adjust to the changing workspaces, classes, and home life. Doing homework and being productive has proven challenging but I am pleased with the outcomes of my efforts.”

Gaining confidence that he could teach and advancing that skill set has been an important benefit for Osborne.  Beyond that, his selfless service to the Backside Learning Center carried a far  more important lesson. “After the virus, I was taught that even though things are falling apart for me, I can still do something to help the community and it makes me feel good in a time of the stressful unknown…If I can take one thing away from my time at the Backside Learning Center, it is that I, as one person, can team up with other individuals and make a major difference in the community. It doesn’t take money or a lot of time and effort to help people, all it takes is initiative and the desire to do good. Everyone who works at the center is so dedicated to their work that it is impossible to not be inspired to merely be in their presence, especially when you have a hand in helping the community as well.”  

It is hard for any member of the UofL family to not be proud of the work that students like Josh Osborne are doing for our community - well done Josh and congratulations on your graduation!  If you know of a Cardinal doing important work, drop an email to so we can tell that story.

Student Teachers During Covid-19



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Life goes on in K-12 schools around the nation despite the spread of the coronavirus, but obviously in a much different online format.  That means teachers across the country are learning on the fly about how best to virtually conduct their classes, assign projects, test and evaluate their students.  It also creates a challenge and new environment for the many UofL education students who are now doing their student teaching.  Meet two of those students; Hannah Kemper and Erica Barlow.

Kemper is a senior from Louisville, majoring in Elementary Education. She has been doing her student teaching with kindergartners at a Jefferson County Public School, Farmer Elementary.  When JCPS moved to online instruction, Kemper’s daily routine changed accordingly. “Now, each week we meet with our class on Google meets to check-in; this is the best part of every week. The students receive work every Friday for the upcoming week through Google Classroom. We are also using Seesaw in Kindergarten. It is an app where you can design creative activities for the students to complete. Once they are graded, the other students can see each others work and comment to one another.”


Hannah Kemper 

Kemper said the experience is making her much more technologically savvy and she has gained a level of expertise in developing online work and activities.  But, she also concedes that nothing replaces face-to-face contact with students. “The students are what makes teaching such a unique and incredible job. I am always thinking of them and wondering how they are doing each day. It has amazed me how quickly the students have adapted, especially being so young. It is awesome to see!”  

Erica Barlow is also a senior from Louisville who is getting ready to graduate with a degree in Early Elementary Education.  And she, too, is doing her student teaching at Farmer Elementary.  Barlow’s work since the pandemic hit has revolved around planning online lessons, grading assignments, providing students with feedback remotely, and leading weekly virtual meetings.


Erica Barlow 

Barlow says it has been more difficult to teach in the online environment versus face-to-face. “There was a definite learning curve going from in-person instruction to completely online.  I had to spend hours learning from other teachers and watching PD videos on how to use applications like Screencastify, Seesaw, Google Suite, etc.  Nothing will replace the excitement and joy that comes from teaching F-2-F, but I am appreciative of the opportunity to become more fluent in digital teaching and learning.”

Barlow acknowledges the experience has changed her, not only as an educator but also as a person.  “I think my perspective on what is truly important and what is a luxury has changed.  I also have a newfound thankfulness for technology and for how it has allowed me to stay in touch with my friends and family throughout all of this.”  She also gives a special shout-out to her mentor teacher, Gina Kimery. Like so many wonderful public educators, Barlow says Kimery has made the best of the COVID-19 situation.  “When things switched to online learning, she did not miss a beat and continued to push me and help me to grow.  This has become such a highlight of my student teaching career, largely because of her support and encouragement.”

Hannah Kemper and Erica Barlow are just two more Cardinals doing tremendously important work that benefits our community as we continue to fight the pandemic.  Thanks for everything that you are both doing!  If you know of a UofL student doing great things now, drop a line to so we can tell that story, too.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

As we bunker down in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, many of us increasingly find ourselves in online meetings.  We are using platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, and more for work, school, and for socializing.  But, an assistant director at the UofL University Career Center thinks that you need to behave differently, depending on whether you are using these conferencing tools for fun or for serious purposes. Mallory Newby has tips for those occasions when you will be conferencing for work with your supervisor and members of your team.

Sure anything goes when you are getting together with your friends for a Zoom happy hour, although it can be annoying when everyone tries to talk at the same time.  On the other hand, Newby said when you are going to be in a meeting for work, always be sure to mute your microphone when you are not speaking. “Background noises at your home and things like coughs, throat clearing, etc. will become a distraction to the meeting. This will require you to be attentive during the meeting and unmuting when you are called upon to talk.”

Newby thinks it is important to give your full attention to the meeting, treating it just like you would if you were in the same room. “Avoid working on other tasks, checking your email or texts as tempting as it may be, as you never know when it might be your turn to provide an update. You might also miss something important that someone else is saying. Look into the camera when speaking as opposed to the screen; doing otherwise makes it appear you are looking off or away from the attendees.”

Another tip is to NOT use your keyboard during a meeting. Because your computer microphone is close to the keyboard, that tapping sound can be distracting to others if your mike is on. If you need to take notes, better to do so the old fashioned way; with a pen and piece of paper. And have something to eat BEFORE your meeting; nothing worse than watching someone munching away in the midst of an important discussion.

Newby advises you to be conscious of your surroundings and how you’ll look on camera.  Make sure your background is appropriate and professional as opposed to using your disheveled bedroom for example.  Take a few minutes before your virtual meeting to look like you are working. Better that you are wearing a clean shirt and have brushed your hair than to let your co-workers see you in your jammies with bedhead. “And, make sure that you are in a place with good lighting, raise your camera so that it is at eye level; your table is likely to be lower than your face, and looking down at your screen is not a flattering angle. You can use a set of books to use as a platform to get your phone or computer camera to eye level.”

Newby’s last piece of virtual meeting advice: “Don’t slouch but get comfortable - you may be there for a while.”  

For more advice in a graphic format about virtual meeting etiquette, check out this graphic provided by the Manheim Central School District in Pennsylvania: 

Zoom Etiquette

Here’s a link to a recent workshop about online etiquette from the University Career Center.

And you can also always get advice about online business etiquette from your UofL career centers in the College of Business, Speed School, Law School, and the University Career Center.

Student Interns with Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Student Interns with Kentucky Refugee Ministries

Intern Arabella Werner



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Here is another in our series of stories about UofL students continuing to do incredibly important work for our community, even as the coronavirus spreads throughout the country.  Meet Prospect, Kentucky senior Arabella Werner who is interning with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. 

Arabella has been working as a Spanish ESL instructor for Cuban refugees and also did some interpretation work for her students. As the pandemic problems increased, she had to leave the classroom and the face-to-face work she was doing with students, switching to other tasks that do not require direct contact.  “Now, I primarily conduct practice interviews for the citizenship test with refugees via telephone. I also utilize Spanish interpreting skills during the interviews. Now I work remotely from my back porch. It is definitely an adjustment. I am grateful, however, that I am able to continue my work remotely, despite the crisis.”

Arabella says she has benefitted greatly from her internship with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. “My Spanish speaking skills have improved and my interpersonal communication skills have been refined. As a Communication major and Spanish minor, I believe this internship has also aided me in seriously considering my career path. I plan on entering the public relations and sales field, while also utilizing my Spanish speaking abilities. I am hoping medical interpreting, alongside medical sales will provide me with both aspects.”

But perhaps more important, Arabella has grown as a human being.  “Every day I entered my ESL classroom or pick up the telephone to conduct an interview, I have been overwhelmed with joy. It has been a fulfilling opportunity to contribute to the needs of refugees. My cultural awareness and overall perspective have been enhanced by my hardworking, humorous, and resilient students.”

Arabella Werner is yet another UofL students who makes us all proud to be a Cardinal - thanks very much for what you are doing!  If you know of a student doing great work in our community in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, please send an email to so we can tell that story as well.

Online Etiquette



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

With more virtual interviews for full-time positions and internships, plus more remote work positions, your communication techniques and style in the online environment are more important than ever.  But an assistant director at the UofL University Career Center warns that many students become complacent about their virtual communication habits.  That said, Rosie Shannon says practice makes perfect and that by being conscious about Internet Etiquette or “Netiquette,” you can develop a style that will enhance your ability to communicate and reflect well on your persona.

Shannon says the first rule of Netiquette is to be nice.  “Remember that whatever you send from your keyboard or your phone is still an extension of you, even though you're not with others in person.  So, be kind, courteous, and respectful.  It’s just as important to show good manners online as it always has been.”

You should avoid saying something online that is negative.  “This includes everything—about your employer, your former employer, your boss, your coworkers, instructors, etc...everything and everybody. You never know what may wind up being forwarded, whether it’s intentional or an accidental slip of the finger on the ‘send’ button.”  Shannon suggests that if you are unsure of anything you’ve typed, hold it in draft mode and read it later before releasing the email or post. “Doing otherwise could jeopardize your opportunity for a promotion, or worse, your current job.”

Then there is the matter of the lost art of grammar and spelling.  “They do matter!  Your written communication should be professional and reflect proper writing style.  Save written shortcuts and less than stellar grammar for Snapchat and your friends if you must. But follow grammar rules when reaching out to networking contacts and potential employers. And don’t become complacent relying only on spellcheck since, for example, it doesn’t know the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their.’”

Shannon says to keep written communication with your contacts concise and to the point. “Always start your message with a short introduction, main content, and then a quick conclusion which should always include a thank-you.”

Other tips that experts recommend you should think about in the online environment:

  • Consider others’ privacy
  • Avoid inappropriate material
  • Be forgiving

As Shannon points out, if you strive to be consistent with your online communication, your style will not only ensure that your messages are clearly received but that also, those message recipients will think well of you.  

Since more of us are using tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for work and internship-related projects, in a future article we’ll address the issue of proper behavior during these online meetings.  For more reading now on Netiquette and workplace etiquette, check out these links:

And remember that your UofL career centers in the College of Business, Speed School, Law School, and the University Career Center are always there to assist you on workplace-related issues like this.  Find your career center here

Using LinkedIn Pt. 2



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

LinkedIn has become an important online tool in the professional world.  Founded in 2002, there are now nearly 600 million global users including 130 million+ in the United States, as well as 30 million companies.  More than 100 million people access the platform each day to make connections and to look into job and internship opportunities. 

With that ubiquity, it’s imperative that students who will be looking for an internship or full-time job get a  LinkedIn account if you don’t already have one.  And, you also need to make sure your LinkedIn account takes advantage of the platform to its fullest potential.  Now, while we are all on lockdown in our homes, it is a great time to do some work on your LinkedIn account and experts have a number of tips for you in that regard.

First and foremost, keep in mind that you are a brand of one.  Everything you have in your LinkedIn profile is a reflection of you and helps to build your brand.  So think about what overall image you want to convey about yourself to those reading your profile and then be sure that everything in your profile goes toward building your brand.

As you build or make changes to your profile, remember that it is important to have a good photograph.  Why is that photo important?  We’re told that LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more views and 36 times more messages than profiles without photos.  As opposed to some social media photos that are overly glamorized, make sure your LinkedIn photo looks like you if someone were to meet you in person.  Be the only person in the photo and make sure you don’t have a distracting background.  Ideally, you want a head and shoulders shot that constitutes the majority of the image.  A smile is desirable over a serious shot.  And while you don’t have to use a “professional” photo, don’t rely on a selfie; have someone take the picture of you for use in your profile.

Your LinkedIn headline is also crucial since that’s the first thing someone will likely read.  Highlight what makes you unique and helps to sell you to the reader. It’s like your elevator speech, boiled down to 120 characters. 

As is the case with resumes, start sentences and phrases with action-verbs.  Using phrases like “developed,” “started,” “implemented,” “analyzed,” “managed,” etc. subtly communicates a positive message that reflects well on your brand.

Make sure your education section is complete.  Failure to complete this section can raise red flags, as can overly grandiose language that raises suspicions about you possibly overstating your credentials.  Be honest and straightforward, but do take credit for what you’ve done. 

In that regard, the activities and work you have done at your university and in your community says important things about you and potentially reflect well on your brand.  Don’t be shy about these experiences - they may also help you to make a connection with an individual who has similar interests or experiences.

It is appropriate to post specific work to your LinkedIn profile that may show special talents you have.  Design work, photography, videography, and audio skills, for example, may be relevant to the message you are trying to convey to potential employers and contacts.

Once you have built your profile to best reflect your brand, you’ll want to make connections via LinkedIn.  To increase your connections, select “Full Profile” for Profile Viewing Options under the Privacy tab.  When trying to network with individuals, always send a brief invitation to connect that is tailored to that person.  Include information about who you are, what you have in common, and why you want to connect.

As a UofL student, you have a unique opportunity to connect on LinkedIn with thousands of fellow Cardinals who are now alums.  You will find that common UofL linkage means it is more likely you will receive a favorable response to your attempts to connect.  To search for alumni on LinkedIn, type “University of Louisville” in the search box and then click on “alumni” to move to the next page.  You can view alumni by where they live and work, what they studied and what they currently do. 

Once you connect via LinkedIn, be considerate of your contact’s time.  Be brief and don’t overwhelm that individual with repeated messages. Be patient when waiting for responses.  Be polite and appreciative of any advice they can offer.  And remember that you asked to connect with them so be prepared to ask questions like:

  • How did you get started?
  • What’s your typical day like?
  • What do you like/not like about what you are doing?
  • What classes do you think I should be taking?
  • Do you have any suggestions on any groups or individuals I should be connecting with?

With some fine-tuning of your profile and practice, you can make LinkedIn an important tool as you enter the job market, and later as you advance your career.  For more tips and advice on using the platform, LinkedIn Higher Education has several articles.  Also, read our first article on Using LinkedIn.

And you can always talk about LinkedIn with your UofL career center - find the center for your academic program.

Student Interns with Louisville Metro Government

Student Interns with Louisville Metro Government

Intern Audry Schaefer



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Bardstown senior Audry Schaefer probably never imagined that she would be doing incredibly important work for our community when she committed to an internship with Louisville Metro Government.  The Communication major is continuing her internship with the Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services, even as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps through the city, state, and nation.

Schaefer is involved in developing communication materials about coronavirus relief and the office’s ongoing senior nutrition program.  According to Schaefer, “Our work now seems more focused on providing emergency relief and helping our citizens survive, whereas we are normally trying to help them thrive.”

Schaefer said things were fairly normal in the office before spring break but soon thereafter rapidly changed.  “I took the week off and came back into chaos - everyone was scrambling to come up with action plans, phones were ringing nonstop, and everyone was stressed and unsure of what was to come. Now, things are quieter as many of our office staff have been telecommuting, but the situation is still hectic.”

 The situation has taught the Communication major an important work-related lesson. “This experience has helped me learn to manage stress in a productive way. Instead of freaking out and breaking down, remaining calm, proactive, helpful, and respectful will put you miles ahead of those who aren’t.”  But she also says it has been instructive at the personal level.  “I believe this experience has allowed me to reset my brain and reassess my values. In times of crisis, the most important thing a person can do is stop thinking about themselves and start thinking of ways to help others and unite for greater change.”

Audry Schaefer is just one of many UofL students who are continuing to do important work that is helping our community in this time of crisis.  Thanks to you Audry and these other students for doing what you are doing!  If you know of other students doing this important work, drop an email to  because we can all take pride in these important stories. 

Using LinkedIn


By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

More and more students and professionals around the world are finding employment via LinkedIn so now when we are all locked away in our homes, it’s a great time to maximize your presence on this platform.

An assistant director at the UofL University Career Center, Karen Boston, points out that LinkedIn provides a means to reach out beyond Louisville. “Using LinkedIn is a great way for students to network with professionals across the city, country, or even the world! Whether you are interested in a career in Washington, DC or Seattle, Washington, you can make valuable connections, ask questions, and get advice from people who are working or have worked in a job that is of interest to you.”

Some students are hesitant to try to connect with professionals, thinking that they may be a bother.  But the nature of LinkedIn means participants are looking to make connections and Boston suggests students take advantage of that. “Professionals who use LinkedIn want to connect with you and share their experience and tips so be professional in your contact with them and don’t hesitate to reach out.”

And much like networking in person, LinkedIn gives students the chance to reach out beyond a single degree of separation.  Boston says, “Take advantage of your connections’ networks by asking each connection, ‘Who do you recommend that I reach out to?’”

When looking to make connections on LinkedIn, Boston advises students to seek brevity.  “Always craft a personalized invitation to connect which tells who you are, what you have in common, and why you want to connect—in 300 characters or less!”

In a future article, we’ll offer you tips on creating a strong professional presence on LinkedIn.  You can also take advantage of an upcoming virtual workshop on LinkedIn and how to best take advantage of it, on April 29 at 12 noon. And as always, your University of Louisville career centers have resources and assistance available to help you.  Connect with your career center including Speed School, College of Business, Law, and the University Career Center via this link.

Virtual Interviewing



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

Interviewing for a job or internship can be stressful for some students under any circumstances. Now, many of you will be doing a remote/virtual interview and that can complicate the task further.  But with some practice, you’ll overcome that obstacle.  

That’s the advice of many experts and career development professionals including Paul Snyder, an assistant director at the University Career Center.  The more that a student practices virtual communication including practice interviewing, the more comfortable they will be in that environment.  

Beyond that, Snyder advises treating the virtual interview like an in-person interview. “This means dressing the part to help you get into the right mindset, putting away distractions (cell phones), and interviewing in a quiet place where you can focus solely on who you are talking to. Because the interview is virtual, it will be more challenging to create a connection with your interviewer. Hence, being able to really focus on the conversation is all the more important."

You should also pay close attention to the environment in which you are interviewing since that backdrop can create a subtle, and in some cases, an overt impression that could impact the evaluation of you.  Better to have a nice bookcase, plant or photo behind you than a poster of your favorite metal band or disheveled kitchen shelves. 

Snyder says that because the interview is virtual, you can take advantage of that in ways that are not possible with an in-person interview.  “It means that you can have extensive notes to help guide you through major points that you want to talk about with the employer. In my own experience with virtual interviews (Skype and phone), I have taped notes to the wall in front of me so that I could look at them during the interview. Obviously, you don't want to read directly from your notes, but having them to help guide your talking points is completely acceptable and can help you ace the interview.” 

Be aware of your non-verbal communication during your remote interview.  Make eye contact by looking directly at your camera as opposed to looking off into the distance.  Having your camera at eye level can help in that regard.  And practice attentive, upright body posture that shows you are engaged and interested. 

You should test your setup to ensure that you look as good as possible on-camera.  That means checking for the lighting, running a test on the make-up you will be wearing and likely using a laptop instead of your phone since you should get a better quality image with your computer (that also allows you to keep your hands free).

Finally, Paul Snyder from the University Career Center recommends writing handwritten thank you notes. “That will also help add a more personable touch to the interview and help you to be remembered.” 

With some planning and practice, you can make that virtual interview feel as comfortable as if you were interviewing in person.  Here is some additional reading on remote/virtual interviews:

For more advice and assistance, contact your UofL career center.

Student Interns with UofL Division of Infectious Disease

Student Interns with UofL Division of Infectious Disease

Intern Trevor Bosley



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

While some students have seen their internships terminate because of the coronavirus, many others are continuing their work, either remotely or in some instances at the worksite.  And some of the work our UofL students are doing is incredibly important.  In the coming weeks, we will highlight some of these awesome students.

One such intern is northern Kentucky senior Trevor Bosley.  Trevor is planning to graduate this May with a BS degree from the UofL Department of Communication and is continuing his internship with the UofL Division of Infectious Disease, an office that has increasingly become very high profile as the crisis has escalated.  

Trevor’s work assignment has now shifted to the office’s Covid-19 Coordinating Center.  According to Bosley, “Most of the work that I’m doing involves branding for the virus response team, and working to inform the public. Along with that I’m working on different pieces such as infographics and editing a video series that we can utilize to inform the public as well.” You can find that video here.

Bosley calls his internship “an incredible learning experience” and credits his supervisor Tonya Augustine with transparency and tremendous support.  “Overall this experience is shaping me in my professional, and personal life. I’m learning how to deal with so many different curveballs and it’s fun and interesting to have new challenges each day at work. Along with that, I’m developing confidence in my work, that carries outside of my internship because I’m proud to be a part of this huge effort.”

If you know of a UofL student who is continuing with important internship work, let us know so we can share those stories here as well - send your ideas to


No Summer Internship?



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

While it may be possible to do an internship or co-op this coming summer, it’s also possible that your opportunities may be limited due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you have problems finding a position, you can still engage in other activities that will advance your career and professional interests. 

Certainly inquire about internship and co-op opportunities since there’s no telling how long this situation may last.  If traditional opportunities are not available or employers you are contacting are hesitant, suggest the possibility of remote/virtual positions.  Many organizations have already moved full-time employees and interns to online work formats.

In the event you can’t find an internship or co-op for the summer, here are some other things you can do to improve your employability, and to keep your mind fresh and sharp:

  • Start your own project, business, or event.   Think about what you are interested in, what you can do to take advantage of that interest and advance a cause you believe in or a passion that you have.  It could be a blog, webpage, podcast, event, or any other of a myriad of possible strategies or activities.
  • Take part in your community.  Volunteer to assist seniors or a church/synagogue/mosque or an organization that you believe in.   You might do that work in-person, but you might also do that work on-line.  You’ll be developing the kinds of “soft skills” that employers most value and most important, you’ll be making a contribution to your community.
  • If you are thinking about grad school or law school or med school, start preparing for the standardized entry tests.  There are both free and for-pay programs available to you, many are online.
  • Become more expert in a topic or field for which you have an interest.  Read and conduct research.  Practice using and developing a particular skill set.   Write, edit, and write some more.
  • Work on your career development skills and toolsets.  Work to perfect your resume.  Practice job interviewing.  Write cover letters.  Create and/or improve your LinkedIn profile.  Seek out a mentor.  Network. 

 It’s easy in a situation like this to sit back and let the world bring you down. But if you seize the opportunity, you can make this a meaningful summer - just do it!

Featured Intern: Caitlin Hogue


 Featured Intern Caitlin Hogue


This week’s featured intern is Caitlin Hogue!

Shoutout to Caitlin for receiving this internship as a Sophomore! Caitlin works for a historical collections manager and is in charge of cataloging a collection of drawings. She has learned a lot about the process of archiving materials and classifying art pieces.

This internship contributes to Caitlin’s long-term career goals because she wants to be a curator. Having the ability to work so closely with a collections manager at a well-respected organization is amazing. Not only is she teaching her a lot about the field, but this will also look great on her resume.

Here is a quote from Caitlin to other students considering this experience, “Go for it! The worst that happens is you at least realize what you don’t want to be doing in your future career.”