A University alumna has returned after nine years to head the department of Career Services. Christina Whitney joined the department staff in January. She previously served as director of School of Management Career Services at Binghamton University.
Whitney also sits on the board of directors for the nonprofit group the Northeastern Pennsylvania Area Health Education Center, which both encourages professionals to consider primary healthcare in rural areas and supports those already working in such areas.
She began her career at Pennsylvania State University, working first in Residence Life, then in admissions, before switching to career counseling.
“Career counseling was definitely my calling,” she said.
Whitney, who has worked in higher education for a total of 19 years, could not resist the opportunity to come back after earning her master’s degree in secondary counseling at The University in 2006.
“When I saw that an opportunity came here, in a mission-driven environment … That was just a no-brainer for me,” she said.
For Whitney, experiential learning is one of the most crucial aspects of searching for a career. She also points out a crucial question that most students face in their job searches.
“How do you get experience without the job, and how do you get a job without the experience? And the answer is experiential learning,” Whitney said. “I call it dating your career; you really figure out what it is that makes you happy.”
Whitney also offered some of her best tips for landing an internship. In her opinion, it is never too early to start looking for experiential learning opportunities.
The key for Whitney is to be proactive and to keep applying. She encouraged students not to overlook the department’s career portal, CollegeCentralNetwork.com.
LinkedIn has begun to take the place of references on some job applications, so a strong account is more important than ever.
“When people Google your name, that’s where you want them to go, because you’re in total control of that environment,” Whitney said.
She also encouraged students to look for industry groups to find out what people in their desired industries are talking about.
Whitney said her biggest hope is for students to find careers in which they are happy.
“It’s all about identifying who you are, because if you’re happy in your career path, then everything else just falls into place,” Whitney said. “And I think that (Career Services) is successful if a student feels successful, and you’re not going to feel successful if you’re in a job you hate.”