By Alexa Woronowicz
Despite a delayed start and some technical difficulties on Feb. 22, the interactive program “My Black … Leaders,” hosted by Zeta Phi Beta sorority and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, brought students together to help them succeed in their future careers.
Four accomplished African-Americans provided their insight on how a college student can utilize the resources available on and around campus in order to have an advantage when beginning to apply for jobs.
After a short introduction that touched on their educational backgrounds and current occupations, the presenters opened he floor to the audience, allowing an intimate discussion.
Though each speaker highlighted something different, they all agreed that one of the best ways to get ahead is to interact with the leaders already on campus, by volunteering, joining a club or merely visiting Career Services.
“Self-worth is more than just the GPA,” said Corey Jackson, an engineer for L’Oreal cosmetics, stressing that grades are not the only important component of a resume.
Janelle Williams, 2006 alumna of the College, now returning to the College to complete the requirements to become a school principal while teaching in Piscataway, agreed with Jackson that a person needs to stand out during an interview. She stated that you “have to have a little bit more” than the other applicants, especially in current times, when there are many college graduates and few job openings.
Becoming involved was definitely a theme of the night, as Doyal Siddell, a public information officer for a state agency in Newark, highly emphasized the importance of finding an internship related to one’s area of expertise.
After a student expressed difficulties with acquiring the perfect position, Siddell again urged him to take whatever he could, regardless of location or salary.
Eunice Samuels Lewis, the Court Director for the Trenton Municipal Court, imparted a different piece of advice, recommending that students should “be up on cutting edge issues in (their) field” by reading professional publications.
As students shared their individual stories and asked for suggestions on how to proceed in their career path, the presenters would often direct them to colleagues in that area, sometimes offering to speak with the student personally afterwards.
“More people should be coming out to programs like this,” Cynthia Rodriguez, senior criminology major, said, remarking how easily people made useful connections throughout the course of the event.
She also found that “the speakers were very effective” in conveying their points to the audience. Having a wide range of careers supplied each presenter with a unique set of experiences that they could then pass on to their listeners.
“It’s important for undergraduate students to learn ways to hone leadership skills,” Williams said. People often do not know how to properly use their school resources, even those readily available to them. She explained how you, the student, can simply turn to the people here, since they will “help you to excel.”