A Chat with Barnard Career Development
As a prospective student considering Barnard, your future internships, jobs, and career path may not be the first thing on your mind. In my experience, a career development office can tell a lot about a college and how they prepare their students for beyond. Barnard Career Development (BCD) is an extremely important office here on campus. They help students and alumnae in all stages of the career development process. I think BCD is an especially unique place because they go beyond helping you wordsmith your resume or cover letter. The counselors are dedicated to helping you pinpoint a career path, discover your strengths, and develop the practical skills necessary for the workplace. All in all, BCD provides a nurturing environment that encourages you to apply your Barnard education towards future career endeavors.
I had the opportunity to speak with Alexa Hammel, one of the career counselors at BCD. She also graduated from Barnard in 2013, she has a really unique perspective on the office! She helps students navigate the internship and job search, and is one of the many resources available to students trying to break into the career scene. Alexa lays out the benefits of using the career counselors: “Each student’s job/internship search is unique and depending on an individual’s professional development, counselors can assist with recommending specific job sites as well as additional techniques, such as networking, that can facilitate their job/internship search.” In my experience, the counselors are well-equipped and willing to handle students’ needs at any stage of their career development process.
Alexa was also able to talk on behalf of Barnard alumnae. She graduated from Barnard in 2013 and worked at BCD as a student. She was able to offer her perspective on how Barnard caters to both students and alumnae, and actually taught me two fun (and super important) facts about the office! The first is that BCD is one of the only colleges in the country that provides free career services to alumnae. I think this is really important because I know I will personally be reaching out to BCD in a couple years time when I am looking at graduate school programs or transitioning between jobs. It’s very reassuring to know that Barnard will still be there for you two, five, ten, or even twenty years down the line. Alexa also informed me that the office has a career counselor specifically for working with alumnae. Not only can Barnard alumnae use the office when they’re twenty years out of college, but they can work with someone who is especially equipped to work with someone who understands alumnae needs.
I also asked Alexa about how a career development office, specifically at a women’s college, can benefit students and alumnae. She told me that, “In the office we do prepare students for possible gender misconceptions in the workplace so they are aware and able to prepare for how to handle these types of situations. For example, we work with students on how to negotiate in order to ensure that every student is able and comfortable advocating for herself.” I think this is what sets BCD apart from other colleges’ career offices. At a women’s college, we are highly aware of the issues women face in the workplace, but BCD teaches students and alumnae practical skills to confidently assert themselves in difficult situations. I’m currently trying to sort out my own career path, and I am extremely grateful that BCD can equip me with the resources to navigate the ups and downs of being a woman in the workplace.
BCD is a special resource on campus that Barnard women have access to. Their determination to help women with the logistical aspects of the job/internship search, as well as their competence in preparing women for issues they may face in the workplace is a vital part of preparing Barnard women for succeeding in their future careers. You can read more about the resources that BCD offers here.
A special thanks to Alexa Hammel at BCD for offering her insight.
If you have more questions about career development or general life at Barnard, feel free to reach out!