Seniors branch out with GW degrees

When the celebration ends after Commencement this May, graduating seniors will face the daunting task of determining what the future holds for them.

From GW, paths lead in many directions – to graduate school, the workforce and overseas.

A 1997 Career Center study found 63.3 percent of graduating seniors planned to seek employment after graduation. Another 27.1 percent planned to attend graduate or professional school. Six percent of the students were undecided about their plans after graduation and 3.6 percent reported they would be doing something else when they left GW.

“Some students want to go right into a field and see if it’s really the best place for them,” said Jonathan Klonsky, the Career Center’s public relations coordinator.

Last year, government, education, consulting, accounting and legal services attracted the most graduating seniors. Klonsky said many students went into high-tech fields within those industries.

Political science major Martin Morris said he will start in August as a process analyst at Andersen Consulting.

His job is not directly related to his major, but Morris said he is not disappointed with the opportunity.

“Anyone who thinks they need to get a job related to their major is missing the point of college,” Morris said. “Part of college is broadening your horizons.”

Employers look for motivated people who can adapt to changing environments, and employees should be flexible in how they implement the skills they acquired in college, Morris said.

But opportunities exist beyond the work world, and some students have plans for further education.

“(Some students) have a well-thought plan that involves graduate school,” Klonsky said.

Senior Riyad Alie said he drew a blueprint for his professional life during his years at GW. Now he said he plans to use his biology degree as a biological researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

“I have volunteered at the NIH since I was in high school . I worked there during the summers and kept up my ties there,” Alie said. “A few months ago, I began talking to people there about getting a more permanent, paying job.”

Alie said he plans to apply to dental school after a year at NIH.

International economics major Kate Early also has sketched out her plans for the future.

Early said she has “wanted to be a lawyer since fourth grade,” so she will pursue a law degree and a master’s degree in business administration at Case Western Reserve University.

Laura Berson, an international affairs major with a concentration in Western European Studies, said she hopes to join the Peace Corps and serve in the former Soviet Union.

“I am in the process of being accepted into the program. I have been nominated to go in September, but I need to make it past a medical and background check before I can be formally accepted,” she said.

The Career Center’s goal is to provide services to prepare students for their lives in the professional world, Klonsky said.

“The skills students learn here – how to write a good r?sum? and build up a network – are skills that will serve them well throughout their lives,” Klonsky said.

Among the center’s services are a 48-hour r?sum? and cover letter critique service, one-on-one career planning, a mock interview program and a resource room.

“I encourage as many students as possible to participate in these interviews, even if just for the benefit of gaining experience with the interviewing process and learning about the industry,” Klonsky said.

Scott Clausen, a finance major, said he benefited from the Career Center’s interview program. Clausen signed a two-year contract with ManorCare, a health care services company.

“I’m really happy about this job, which is in corporate finance, and it’s great to have known since January what I’ll be doing after graduation,” Clausen said.

Tourism studies and hospitality management major Josh Frumpkin said he plans on “taking it easy” after graduation.

“I want to try out a few different things first and see what I like . then maybe go to (graduate) school,” he said.

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