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What are industry groups?
The reality is: your major does not have to equal your career.
It may not seem like a radical statement—but this idea, that a student should pursue a career directly related to their studies, is ubiquitous during a student’s formative years.
The deconstruction of this idea is the basis for the LSA Connect’s newest feature: Hub Industry Groups. Rather then major, there's a renewed focus on the thorough and select-reflective exploration of careers, industries, values, interests, and passions.
What are Hub Industry Groups? According to Jamie Monville, the Hub’s Mentorship Manager, “groups provide students a space to learn about the latest resources, most up-to-date knowledge, and industry trends, and events” for a set of specific industries.
Essentially, students can browse eight unique groups on LSA Connect, including Business; Communications, Media & Entertainment; Creative Art & Museums; Data & Technology; Environment & Sustainability; International Opportunities; Law, Policy & Government; and Social Services & Education. After they have identified one or more groups that spark their interest, the process is easy. Just by clicking the “join group” button found on each group’s homepage, students opt-in to receive a curated selection of opportunities, insights, and support specialized to that particular industry.
“The groups are in some ways a microcosm of the [LSA Connect] platform,” Jamie explains. “Within the resources tab of a particular group, you’re going to have resources that are very specific to that industry. We know there’s a lot out there, so we hope by centralizing it in one place there’s less for students to look at.”
Specialized support for students
Aside from the tailored content students can explore in each group, Jamie emphasizes the importance of the groups’ personability, pointing to the group’s individual administrators.
“The industry groups are admin-ed by our Internship Program Coordinators who have [an incredible] depth of knowledge, but also are willing to connect and support beyond the space too,” Jamie emphasizes. “So knowing that there’s a person behind those emails, and that person is dedicated to helping you figure out what those next steps are is incredibly important [for students].”
Jamie is referring to Hub staffers Jordan McAdory, Megan Downey, Jessica McCuaig, and Kelly Day—the individuals responsible for connecting students who have opted into the groups with industry-unique resources.
Jordan is the coordinator for the Healthcare & Public Health and Environment & Sustainability groups, and her passion for her work is evident as she outlines her goals within groups.
“It has been amazing to connect students studying health and science to opportunities to widen their perspective,” Jordan emphasizes. “A lot of students studying Biology or BCN or Chemistry feel like their path is research or medical school. Part of Industry Groups and LSA Connect for me has been broadening that horizon; just because you are a sophomore studying these majors does not tunnel you into two career paths.”
Business and Data & Tech Coordinator Megan emphasizes the unique culture, timeline, and etiquette of each industry, which is where the industry specific know-how of the group coordinators becomes critical.
“Like the saying ‘you need to build your network before you need it’, you need to build the knowledge before you apply,” Megan says. “Not only are we giving you the opportunities, we’re giving you the language and skills and knowledge to be successful in finding and maximizing your opportunities.”
Internship opportunities galore
As most students know, spring is prime time for internships: searches, resume revisions, and endless applications. At this point resources provided by the group administrators become more critical than ever.
Government, Policy, and the Arts Coordinator Jessica hopes groups will ease the search process for students, pointing to the “opt in” function of the feature, a process that brings opportunities directly to students rather than requiring them to perform searches themselves.
“It’s almost a ‘set it and forget it’ type of thing,” Jessica says. “A couple times a week, group members get alerts from us with internship opportunities that are opening up in a field they’re interested in. That’s helpful for students, especially because their time is so valuable.”
However, making that search process easier for students doesn’t only mean providing more opportunities for students. Coordinators are also focused on selecting specific opportunities they believe students will connect with.
“I am really trying to curate those opportunities that are relevant today,” Jordan affirms. “I think that is one of the unique aspects of LSA Connect, it’s not just articles and positions I think are awesome—these individuals and these employers and these alums are LSA alums, so they’re willing to reach out to students, and willing to connect the them with their next opportunity.”
You might be able to join an Industry Group with the click of a button, but with another click you can leave. That’s how the groups were designed: a low stakes arena for students to experiment and explore their interests.
“Joining an industry group isn’t a definitive choice, it isn’t like changing a major,” Megan explains. “As your interests change, you can join and leave groups at will, you can always update your preferences. The purpose of Hub Industry Groups remain the same, it’s just the information is different.”
Jessica advocates for groups not only as a place to discover opportunities, but also as an extension of LSA Connect, networking with peers rather than alums.
“It’s a space to find your people,” Jessica reflects. “When you’re a liberal arts student, you can be in a program and be interested in a job that doesn’t seem at all related to what you’re doing, so it can be difficult to find people who are aspiring to the same goals as you. So if you’re a student feeling like you’re out to sea and you don’t really know who your people are, this can be a really easy way to figure that out.”
Whatever industry you’re interested in, wherever you are in your student journey, this is the definitive message from the program’s advocates and coordinators: give it a try.
“The more information you have, the more informed decisions you can make,” Jordan stresses. “LSA Connect and Industry Groups make an extreme effort to provide students with the resources they need now.”