New career-focused Living/Learning Community will serve undecided first-year students

new-tile-1The successful Communities at New Paltz program, which offers living/learning experiences to first-year students seeking academic and community engagement in and out of the classroom, is expanding to support undecided students in their search for their professional and disciplinary passions.

The new Career Exploration Community will debut in the fall 2016 semester as the result of a collaboration between offices throughout the Division of Student Affairs, particularly Residence Life and the Career Resource Center (CRC). It aims to provide incoming students who have not declared a major with opportunities to identify personal skills and passions and find ways to translate them into a successful career.

“We’re bringing in students who are undecided with a goal of thinking about what we mean when we talk about ‘career,’” said Shannon Calderon, coordinator of Living/Learning Communities and residential programs. “We want students to think of career as a combination of skills, passion and interest, rather than just as a job that pays the bills. The more we can assist our students in identifying potential paths for themselves, the more informed their decisions about taking classes and declaring a major will be.”

Enrollees will take a fall semester course led by CRC Assistant Director Dawn McCaw, which will focus on helping students identify and develop their professional interests and propensities. In the spring, they will capitalize on this work through experiential learning projects with various on-campus offices that align with their career ambitions.

As in each of the three original Communities at New Paltz (which focus on Service Learning, Health & Wellness and Leadership), there will be between 24-30 enrollees in the Career Exploration Community, who will reside in Esopus Hall and be supported by Community Mentors (CMs), fellow undergraduate students who help guide them toward success in their area of interest.

CM Sarah Barsotti ’18 (Digital Media Production) will serve the inaugural class of Career Exploration Community members.

“I plan on doing programs such as ‘How to Write a Resume’ and ‘The Dos and Don’ts of Interviews,’ having guest speakers, and doing activities such as personality tests to see what careers fit each person best,” Barsotti said. “I can’t wait to meet everyone and get to know what their interests are!”

About Communities at New Paltz
Communities at New Paltz debuted in fall 2015 as an extension of the College’s Living/Learning Communities dedicated specifically to serving first-year students. The program evolved from the First Year Initiatives, which were more focused on students’ academic and social transition to college life, to include a broader emphasis on experiential opportunities like service learning, peer leadership and internship to meet the evolving needs of incoming students.

More information about the first-year Communities at New Paltz is available online.