It’s a Tuesday afternoon in early September and the Career Center is a hive of activity. Staff advisers pop out of their offices to call in students from the lounge. Hadley Heinrich ’17 is manning the peer career advisers desk, which bears a small plaque with her name.
Less than an hour into her shift, Heinrich has already counseled three underclassmen on their resumes and cover letters. She speaks quietly but firmly, drawing students into the process and giving them a foundation from which to build: change tone here, add references there, cut back on this section, expand that one.
“Every student comes in with so much stress,” she says. They want to know right away: what should they do with their lives? The center, Heinrich says, “is a good environment to take a step back. You don’t need to have results within the next few seconds.”
Heinrich is just one example of how Amherst’s Career Center is recreating itself as a hub of information and as a place for alumni, students, faculty and staff to connect with one another. That effort got a boost this week with the announcement that Marjorie and Michael R. Loeb ’77 had made a seven-figure commitment to expand the center’s offerings.
Emily Griffen, director of the newly named Loeb Center for Career Exploration and Planning, says the gift comes at a key moment, as the center expands its capacity to help students clarify their interests, build their skills, develop networks of professional contacts and transition smoothly into post-Amherst opportunities. While the center doesn’t train students for a specific career, it does help them pull together what can seem like wildly disparate skills and present them in a way that’s directly relevant to the workplace, Griffen says.
“With our career preparation, I want to mirror the open curriculum and the liberal arts philosophy” of the college, Griffen says. “I want students to really have an understanding of why the liberal arts education they get here gives them unbelievable opportunities and is an asset for them in the professional world.”