Inside Rensselaer
* CDC Offers Career and Professional Development Plan for Sophomores

The CDC’s Diane Leis Delker chats with students at the Sophomore Career Experience kickoff event.

CDC Offers Career and Professional Development Plan for Sophomores

No longer the new kids on the block at Rensselaer, sophomore students this fall will be exploring new and exciting opportunities and making important decisions about their future career plans, with assistance from the Career Development Center (CDC).

To build upon students’ first-year experiences, the CDC developed the Sophomore Career Experience (SCE) program for second-year students. In its fifth year, the program offers career, job search, and professional development opportunities through various hands-on and interactive programs, seminars, and networking with alumni and business professionals. Last month, the CDC held a kickoff event for new students to highlight the upcoming programs and workshops and provide them with an opportunity to meet with their employer partners and upperclass students who participated in the program.

“In most cases, sophomore year is a period of transition marked by further distance from high school,” said Diana Leis Delker, director of cooperative education and senior associate director of the CDC. “The Sophomore Career Experience presents an ideal opportunity for us to establish a relationship with our sophomore students as they explore career opportunities. The more we get to know students, the greater the chances for us to work with them and engage them in the process of setting future career goals.”

Delker also noted that sophomores who choose to participate in the year-long program will work in collaboration with the program’s employer partners to develop key professional development skills in areas including problem solving, teamwork and personal integrity, and ethics.

“The program really helps to prepare you in advance for the career process,” said Tiffany Milano, a junior who is a dual major in computer science and electronic media, arts, and communication. “We not only learn from our peers, but we also get detailed information from the employers that are partnering with the program on everything from resume presentation to how to dress for an interview.”

Last summer, Milano interned with Your News Now (YNN), a local broadcast media outlet. In the near future, she hopes to land a paid internship with Dreamworks/Pixar, and BlueSky Animations.

Jonathan Kriss, a junior majoring in computer science, noted that the career strategies and networking opportunities helped him to secure a summer internship with Lockheed Martin, with potential plans to return next year.

Since its inception, more than 1,000 students have participated in the program. The program was developed by a committee including Delker, and CDC employees Dawn Cairns-Weaver, assistant director, and Anita DeCianni Brown, operations associate, as well as several undergraduate students. In addition, companies involved in creating individual workshops and sponsoring the program include BAE Systems, ExxonMobil, FactSet, GE, and Johnson & Johnson.

Participating employers plan to address a range of topics that include resume development, tips on succeeding at career fairs, interview skill preparation, navigating the digital world, and goal setting strategies for career success, among others.

In addition to the SCE, the CDC offers a variety of programs and services to meet the needs of all Rensselaer undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni. Programs include career counseling, networking opportunities with alumni and employers, experiential opportunities, and job and career research workshops.

For more information about the SYE program and the CDC, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 16, October 22, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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