Incoming career services head to jumpstart job programs

The first University-wide career leader will bring more than 20 years of experience and a vision of preparing students for jobs starting their freshman year.

Rachel Brown, who currently leads Temple University’s career center, will arrive Feb. 6 to oversee the $20 million that will be pumped into the school’s career offices over the next 10 years.

Brown said she is excited to come to GW because of its emphasis on career support. She seeks to continue progress on the center’s overhaul, which will unify GW’s 11 separate career centers and bulk up staff to increase networking with major companies.

“I have never been at a university where this has been taken so seriously before,” Brown said. “When I saw [the position] advertised I just thought, ‘Wow, GW really gets this.’ ”

At Temple, Brown boosted the career center’s offerings, launching networking and mentorship programs with students and employers. Some of her successful programs include brown bag lunches with recent graduates working at prominent corporations and networking competitions – which she plans to bring to GW.

“A lot of unique programs were just thinking outside the box, but if you put a lot of committed individuals in the room that have the same connection – and in this case the GW connection – you know there’s going to be good ideas that come out of that, and creative partnerships,” she said.

As part of the University’s recent revamp of career services, Brown will be tasked with getting students to think about their careers as soon as they come to campus.

Brown said career center staff will attend orientation and Welcome Week events to encourage students to try interning in different fields now rather than after graduation. The overhaul, championed by University President Steven Knapp since he came to GW in 2007, has been ramped up since the economic crisis.

This fall, the career center moved from its former home in Old Main on F Street to the Marvin Center’s refurbished fifth floor, signaling an effort to draw students into the more centralized location. Brown will take over for Director of University Initiatives Robert Snyder, who has served as acting director since the position was announced last spring. The post was expected to be filled last summer, but administrators said they it took additional time to select the right candidate.

Brown said the similarities between Temple and GW, mainly their urban campuses and proximity to employers, will help her transition to her new job as assistant provost for university career services. Before working at Temple, Brown focused on career development at both the University of Texas at Austin Business School and Georgetown University.

Senior Associate Provost and Dean of Students Peter Konwerski, who has led the career services overhaul and search for the assistant provost, said Brown’s creativity will energize the center.

“Everyone is excited about meeting Rachel. Everyone is excited about the experience she brings, the leadership qualities. Even her sort of style and fit was so complementary to GW,” Konwerski said.

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