Across job markets, nonprofit sectors, research labs, and volunteer opportunities, Trinity students are in high demand.
Katie Ramirez, interim director for the University’s Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success and director of Career Services, says the past year has been a time of immense innovation, agility, and employer developments for CELCS.
“The job market is very exciting for Trinity students and recent graduates right now,” Ramirez says. “Once companies hire one Trinity student, whether for an internship or a job, they often come back, eager for more.”
And why is that? LadyStacie Rimes-Boyd, J.D., assistant director for programming and marketing for Career Services, aptly calls it the “Trinity difference.”
“We believe the ‘Trinity difference’ is a unique combination of intelligence, hard work, various transferable skills, and natural leadership that employers seek,” Rimes-Boyd says. Ramirez notes that developing the “Trinity difference” can begin on Day One.
“Some people assume that all we do is help juniors and seniors with job or internship searches,” Ramirez says, noting that more than 20% of CELCS’ interactions are with first-years and sophomores. “We’re here every step of the way to help students find their direction and prepare for life after Trinity.”
In addition to jobs, students coming to CELCS can get help with finding volunteer opportunities, micro-internships, internships (including those for credit), work-study opportunities, and undergraduate research openings, and they can use other Career Services offerings such as career exploration, interview preparation, graduate school applications, and more.
Ramirez says her team at CELCS has been busy establishing these opportunities over the past year by being proactive “sales reps” for Trinity.
“We don’t wait for employers to come to us—we’re working on all cylinders to nurture relationships and develop new pipelines for Trinity talent, proactively engaging employers across the United States,” Ramirez says. “We even provide informal consulting with employers to help them find ways to connect to the phenomenal talent here at Trinity.” Ramirez says this hard work is paying off, adding that “the Class of 2021 is on track to have one of the best years for employment outcomes in Trinity’s recorded history.”
Ramirez points to CELCS initiatives such as the Find Your Direction Fund, a donation-based fund through the University’s development arm that allows students to pursue an internship that is either unpaid or would in some way represent a significant financial barrier.
“In addition to funding unpaid internships, this fund allows us to support students in other ways. Perhaps a student has secured a great internship, but they don’t have the equipment they need to be successful or they don’t have funding to travel to their internship. This fund allows us to meet those needs,” Ramirez says. “This year, for example, one student needed virtual reality goggles. Through this fund, we were able to supply that equipment, and the student was able to complete the internship. We don’t want any student to face a barrier to accessing experiential opportunities.”
CELCS’ TigerWorks program has been another point of pride, receiving national recognition from the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Participating students complete short-term projects or micro-internships with organizations all over the country—“a creative approach to providing students a chance to test out career paths and gain experience while supporting organizations, especially small businesses and nonprofits, that may be struggling from the pandemic,” says Maranda Larsen, associate director of Career Services.
TigerWorks short-term projects completed
“When my summer internship got canceled [because of COVID-19], like many, I had to pivot. TigerWorks not only connected me with a prominent company in San Antonio, but granted me the opportunity to get paid for experiential learning! Instead of having a professor strike a red pen through my work, I had an industry veteran help develop my writing for future endeavors.”
And CELCS, even during a year when operations shifted toward a remote model, has still been able to host a successful series of job fairs and recruiting events, shifting from two in-person fairs per year to six virtual fairs instead. The team’s Tiger Connections program, where alumni connect with Trinity students seeking career advice, has also been a particular point of pride.
“There’s a myth we hear from students that networking has to mean, ‘If I come out of a networking event without a job or internship offer, I’ve failed,’” Ramirez says. “We’re coaching students to look at networking a bit differently—starting with what they have in common. In this case, that’s through informal, low-stakes career chats with former Tigers and Trinity parents, asking questions about career paths, their Trinity experience, or for advice—a mindset shift that can be critical for students who are anxious or feel pressure around networking.”
CELCS has also worked tirelessly to continue to build relationships on campus, too. Ramirez says her team works collaboratively with many departments across campus, including Trinity’s Office of Academic Advising: “At a liberal arts institution, what you major in may not be directly related to your career, which is OK,” she says. “We’re not just helping students with their resumes—we’re helping students find their unique paths, identify ways to add to their resumes, connect the dots between all of their Trinity experiences, and ultimately help them tell those stories in different ways to different audiences. Our staff often helps students who feel lost or uncertain about their future find their direction through career coaching, our career course, class presentations, course assignments, and more.”
CELCS Event Information, 2020-2021
including 6 industry-specific career fairs and 1 graduate school fair
networking sessions for students with alumni/parents through Tiger Connections
interactions between students and employers at fairs
The CELCS team has also been busy increasing Trinity’s visibility in other ways. “The ‘Trinity difference’ definitely carries over to staff,” Ramirez says. “We have an amazing, high-energy team of professionals who are incredibly active in leadership roles throughout Texas and the U.S. From acting as association presidents, board members, chairs, task force members, thought leaders, and more, to giving 11 conference presentations in the past year, the Trinity CELCS team members are seen as leaders in our field.”
“Our team members are diverse in backgrounds and experiences,” Rimes-Boyd agrees. “Our team is agile and, more than ever, during the past year we’ve been able to use this agility to meet student needs in various situations, building relationships and sharing connections. Each of us shares all that is within our disposal to make more pathways for students.
“We couldn’t be prouder of what we’ve accomplished,” she continues, “and we look forward to developing more connections and innovation as we continue to serve students.”
CENTER FOR EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AND CAREER SUCCESS, 2020-2021
By the Numbers
of the student population engaged with CELCS
appointments with CELCS staff (30% increase from 2019-20)
positions posted through Handshake, Trinity’s online employment platform
resumes, cover letters, grad school statements, and professional documents reviewed