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Welcome to MCEEA’s Faces on Campus campaign! 

Over the next year – we will be highlighting the career educators and employers who make up our great organization. Each week we will pay tribute to the individuals who devote their lives to helping students take that key first step into their professional career and the employers who welcome and develop them into the professionals they will become. 

We hope you enjoy the insights, stories, and laughs of the people of MCEEA. 

This week takes us to Adrian College (http://adrian.edu/) - a private liberal arts college in Adrian, Michigan. The college offers bachelor's degrees in 40+ academic majors and programs as well as 5 graduate degree programs.  

Our first subject is Janna D’Amico – Director in the Institute for Career Planning. Janna has 10 years of experience in Career Services, 16 with the college. 


Joe Bamberger - For those that might not be aware, walk us through the day-to-day of your job. 


Janna D'Amico - As a director, I feel like it's my responsibility to really provide leadership and direction to our institute. When I think back at when I started in career services, - I'm going in my 10th year, and my going into my 16th year with the college - one thing that I really wanted to do and what I really felt was important is to establish credibility for career planning with the students, alumni and the faculty. With our office, everything that we do, I keep that in mind, as we move through programming and partnerships with other individuals. We want to empower students with the skills, knowledge, and resources that are necessary to help them with that next step after Adrian college. 


JB - What did you do before moving into the Career Service role? 


JD - When I graduated from Adrian, I worked for a small company, in sales and purchasing. From there, after networking with a co-worker, I moved on to Ford Motor Company and worked in dispute resolution for about a year, and decided that wasn't necessarily where I wanted to be and what I wanted to be doing. Then I took a job with Conway Truckload as an account manager and again, stuck that out for about a year. I decided that still wasn’t the best fit for me. Then a position had opened up at Adrian in their admissions office and the role was exciting to me: working with students that are at such an exciting time in their life. I ended up taking that job here at Adrian, and I've been here ever since. 


JB - What's your favorite part of your current role? 


JD - A lot of people say the students, and I definitely think that's the biggest reason that I love what I do every day but it’s also the environment. Being surrounded by others that want to make an impact and want to learn. I'm very fortunate to be able to have this job and this role in higher education.  


JB - If I'm an employer that doesn't have a relationship with Adrian, what's your sales pitch? Why should I consider hiring a Bulldog? 


JD - The benefits of a small school like Adrian College allows connectedness and the opportunity to be a well-rounded individual. As a campus, we encourage leadership, creativity, caring for humanity, crossing boundaries and disciplines and thinking critically. I started at a larger university in my undergrad and ended up transferring to Adrian. For me, it made a huge difference. The connections that you have with the faculty and the staff, I think it goes without saying; smaller class sizes. One thing about Adrian, especially since, President Docking has been here, he's somebody that really is passionate about leadership and creativity. I think that's what our students bring. We have a student organization that I co-advise on campus called the National Society of Leadership and Success. That's one of our largest organizations on campus. With roughly 1800 students, we have 470 members. To put that in perspective, the next largest campus organization has about 55 members. So we really have students that are interested in leadership. President Docking teaches a class on leadership and we've also recently established a leadership minor. 


JB - Do you have a favorite event on campus that is sponsored by Career Services? 


JD - I think one of my favorite events is our etiquette dinner. We have a professor that speaks at our etiquette dinner, and she has a world of experiences, she worked for Patagonia, American Girl Doll, and has had the opportunity to travel. She shares a lot of her experiences with the students and she just makes it really fun and engaging. It's great to see the students that get dressed up, come to that event, and really have a good time. The other one, which I'm sure has been talked about is Job Pursuit, a career and internship fair. That's a favorite not only from how we work with our students and prepare our students for that event but also just the camaraderie of the consortium, that is part of that group. I think one of the big things is giving our students the experiences to build on their skills through that event.  

JB - Do you have a least favorite part of your job? 


JD – Having students that do not engage in our institute soon enough. We feel that career planning is a process and should be part of the students’ educational experience. I feel they are missing out on programing that could help set themselves apart as well as the guidance to work through the job and graduate school process.  


JB - Is there a particular major on campus that you struggle with the most in finding career opportunities for? 


JD - Probably theater. It's not a very big major for us and there are limited local theaters. When I came into this role, I wanted to grow the internship opportunities. I found it very difficult to make connections in this industry.  That said, the students get a lot of great experience here on campus through our theater department as well as some local connections. The addition of Handshake has expanded the offerings as well for these talented students.  


JB - How long have you been involved with MCEEA? 


JD – When I started in my role, Adrian was already connected with MCEEA so 10+ years. The collaboration and mission of the organization makes this a valuable resource for our department.  


JB - Do you have a favorite memory or favorite event that you've participated in through MCEEA? 


JD - I really enjoyed the John Cider Mill networking event. This event provided the opportunity to learn about other companies and connect with other professionals in the group. It was very laid back and overall fun event.  


JB - Let's pretend that MCEEA has unlimited time and funding, what sort of things would you like to see added to MCEEA's programming or structure? What can we improve on? 


JD – Having more involvement from our students. I know they offer scholarships for students, but maybe having something that involves an event for students or just more opportunities for students. I really enjoy the conference. Due to location and timing, some of the events are hard to attend throughout the year. I would love to see a newsletter highlighting the regional events and meetings to stay connected. I would definitely love to be more involved myself, but being a small office, sometimes it can be hard to get out and travel to those things.  


JB - If there is a student that's interested in pursuing a career in career services, what piece of advice would you give them? 


JD - I've been lucky to work with my assistant director for the majority of my time in the office, and she moved on this year. I went through that process of hiring and I interviewed a lot of alumni. The one thing that I would ask, “Did you utilized career planning and if not, why not?” I thought that was very important not only to get their feedback and perspective, now having graduated, but also important for hiring in this role. I think utilizing the career center - even if you didn't go to Adrian -  and having an understanding of what our mission is, and how we're trying to engage and help our students is an important part of wanting work in the career setting. The desire to teach students how to be professional, how to network, how to take advantage opportunities and apply the skills that they've learned throughout their time. Then also just being creative. How can we better engage our students and have them be more involved in this free service? That's definitely something that I look for when I'm looking to bring somebody in on my team. 


JB - Any final thoughts or shameless plugs you'd like to make? 


JD - I really like this campaign that you're doing right now with MCEEA. I think it's great to find out what other people are doing on other campuses, students' perspectives, and even employers' perspectives. I just really value the type of opportunities MCEEA brings, where they are focused on connecting the career centers with the employers in the state of Michigan.  


Faces on Campus is a weekly interview series highlighting members of MCEEA conducted by Joe Bamberger of Emerge Consulting. Be sure to follow MCEEA on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and MCEEA.org 

Connect with Janna on LinkedIn

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