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Inaugural Career Summit Inspires Undergrads to Pursue Goals

"This is the time to figure out who you want to be," sportscaster David Revsine '91 says

By Daniel P. Smith

As the new academic year got under way, 113 Weinberg College undergraduates took a moment to peer into the future at the inaugural Weinberg College Career Summit.

The daylong Sept. 18 event, hosted by the Austin J. Waldron Student-Alumni Connections Program, offered a showcase for career exploration to rising sophomores and juniors. The summit featured skills-building workshops and alumni panel discussions with an inspired keynote from Big Ten Network studio host Dave Revsine ’91.

“This was an opportunity for students to hear about and explore a variety of career paths, to develop some of the practical skills associated with transitioning from college to career, to connect with some of our amazing alumni and to hear a keynote that was both inspiring and relatable,” said Jane Corey Holt, director of the Waldron Student-Alumni Connections Program. 

A day to gather insights

In the morning, students attended professional development workshops focused on the more practical aspects of entering the workforce, such as searching for a job, taking stock of individual skills and strengths, networking and interviewing. The programs aimed to recalibrate some of the common fears and assumptions students have about the career search.

Economics major Helen Burkhardt ’19 says the skills inventory, in particular, afforded her a unique perspective into potential careers that complement her personality and abilities.

“And that’s important information to have as I move forward,” Burkhardt said.

During the afternoon career clusters, meanwhile, more than 30 Weinberg College alumni divided into eight different industry panels — technology, communications, consulting, finance, public sector, law, social activism and global health — to discuss their own transitions into the professional ranks as well as the challenges and rewards of their fields.

During the communications panel, for instance, four young alumni in a variety of professional roles examined trends driving the communications industry as well as the continued convergence of the humanities and quantitative skills in the public relations and advertising fields.

An empathetic keynote

Yet it was Revsine, a history major who has spent the last 21 years in the national sports media, who provided the day’s emotional anchor.   

Revsine acknowledged that he felt many of the same pressures and concerns today’s undergraduates endure, including uncertainty about his professional future. By the time he was 27, in fact, Revsine had deferred admission to law school, journalism school and business school and traded Wall Street work for a television job in Sherman, Texas.

“Population 35,000,” Revsine said. “I took a 75 percent pay cut, lived in a tiny apartment and had the time of my life.”

Revsine said it wasn’t until he truly reflected on what he wanted that he was able to discern his path. He urged students to ask themselves the tough questions today and to follow their own instincts.

“Even amid these pressures, this is the time to figure out who you want to be and what you might want to do because you have the luxury of time right now,” he said. “Only you know you. Take a risk and don’t be afraid to fail, because it will be a step toward your destination.”

Revsine’s message resonated with computer science major Daniel Kim ’20.

“The value of taking a step back and investigating who I am is something I understand far better today because of [Revsine] sharing his experience,” Kim said.

“Really, this whole experience [at the Weinberg College Career Summit] was an opportunity to learn practical career and life skills beyond all the great lessons I’m getting in the classroom, and I’m grateful these resources are here for me.”

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