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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


The Career Center in a Nutshell

Located in the basement of the Melville Library, the Career Center is one aspect of Stony Brook that plays an important, but often overlooked, role on campus.

The Career Center is responsible for many of the career-related events on campus, like ‘Career Week’ and the different employment fairs, but it’s also responsible for more hands-on assistance like career counseling and job search help.

Elena Polenova, Associate Director of Career Education and Counseling and a career counselor, is one of the persons at the Center dedicated to helping students not only realize their goals, but themselves as well.

Polenova said that one of the main goals of career counseling is helping students ‘realize what they want to do with their lives.’ A job she said she loves. She said that she’s ‘honored’ to have a job where the people she helps trust her ‘with their dreams.’

Many of the students Polenova speaks to come in with questions such as, ‘What can I do with my major?’ and ‘How can I find an internship?’ From there, she gladly helps. If something cannot be covered in a walk-in session, then a one-on-one appointment is made.

That finding a job starts with realizing what you want, to find the job that best fits you, she said.

Career Counseling is only one aspect of the Career Center, though. Students can also seek help with finding internships and other job opportunities when they know what they want.

Students can either check the Career Center website internship listings, speak to a counselor about finding them.

That’s where Joanna Durso’s job comes in, for the Arts, Culture and Humanities (ACH) at least. Durso, an internship consultant at the Career Center, deals mainly with ACH students. Her position is new, and was created for the very fact that more ACH students were going to the Career Center.

She said that one difference between ACH-related jobs and business or science and technology ones is that, most times, students have to seek out the jobs themselves. That may make the process seem difficult, but it doesn’t mean that jobs aren’t out there.

Not to say that science majors don’t need the Career Center, though. There are other counselors that can help with specific needs as well.

In the same way it may seem like ACH jobs are scarce, it may also seem like the Career Center only deals with finding jobs, but there’s more to it. The Career Center also helps with finding volunteer opportunities and writing resumes.

Other information can be found online as well. The website has podcasts, a section called ‘What to do With my Major’ and other career tips, frequently updated information on Career Center events, and job and internship listings though a system called ZebraNet. There’s even a section that parents can read about nagging you to do something that pays well.

At the same time though, both Polenova and Durso feel that the Career Center can improve.

For one, Polenova thinks that the Career Center is ‘under-utilized’ and would like to see more students coming in and taking advantage of the Center’s programs. In doing that, Durso would also like the see the Career Center advertised more.

Second, both would like to see more dedicated staff members. While the current staff members are great, it is always beneficial to have more, especially with the hectic atmosphere the Career Center has, Polenova said.

Whatever the plan for the future is though, the Career Center seems to be moving forward a steady pace. That includes the revamp of its website and its increased career and employment seminars. Pretty soon the Career Center won’t be ‘under-utilized’ anymore.

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