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Kalamazoo College

Meet the CCPD Staff

Joan C. Hawxhurst, Director
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Before coming to Kalamazoo College in 2007, Joan traveled a variety of career paths. She used her international relations training (BA from Virginia Tech and MA from Yale University) in Argentina with the human rights group founded by Nobel laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, and on Capitol Hill with the Washington Office on Latin America. She founded a national organization for interfaith families, editing its newsletter and authoring several books, and coordinated Kalamazoo’s community reading program. She has directed the Center for Career and Professional Development since 2009. She is happily married to a chemistry professor and learning lots from her two 20-something kids, and she serves as the lay leader of the local Reform Jewish congregation. Contact Joan for:

  • Collaboration across campus, including the Career Summit
  • Strategic planning and program development
  • Information for parents of current students
  • Communities in Wisr, the Kalamazoo College Career Mentoring Network

StrengthsQuest Top 5:  Achiever • Belief • Connectedness • Ideation • Learner


Valerie Miller, Assistant Director, External RelationsVal
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Valerie develops relationships with alumni and employers to generate/implement ideas to expand career opportunities for K students. Previously a visiting instructor in the Department of Theatre Arts, Valerie is experienced in teaching, facilitating groups, public speaking, and program development. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Michigan, a Masters in Social Work from Boston University, and is a registered drama therapist through the National Association of Drama Therapists. When not at work, Valerie enjoys time with her husband, Matt Longjohn ’93, and two sons, Till and Max. She also can be found walking in the woods, swimming laps, or banging on the piano and singing at the top of her lungs.

Employers, contact Valerie for:

  • Assistance posting and promoting employment opportunities in Handshake
  • Discussion around on and off-campus recruitment opportunities

Alumni, contact Valerie to:

  • Refer employment opportunities
  • Learn about how to advise students through Wisr, the Kalamazoo College Career Mentoring Network
  • Participate as an alumni professional in a K-Trek 

Strengths:  Input • Ideation • Restorative • Learner • Empathy

Rachel B. Wood, Assistant Director
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Rachel is a mom, wife, professional educator, board-game player, when-solo-driving pop singer, #ExcessiveHashtagUser, and thrift shop enthusiast. She enjoys helping students and alumni make connections between their interests, skills, and goals to find meaningful career paths for their lives "after K." She especially enjoys teaching, professional document creation and revision, mock interviews, and helping people utilize technology to develop both themselves and their networks. She knows when it’s time to get serious while most admiring those with a healthy sense of humor. Rachel earned both an undergraduate teaching degree in English and a Master of Arts in Counseling Education/Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University. Contact Rachel for:

  • Career Coaching appointments (schedule online via Handshake)
  • Professional document critiques
  • Interview preparation 
  • Website maintenance
  • Handshake questions

StrengthsQuest Top 5:  Intellection • Individualization • Achiever • Responsibility • Harmony


Jacqueline Srodes, Assistant Director
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Jackie assists students and alumni with career planning, utilizing career coaching strategies and assessment to inspire others to reach their potentials. She has an extensive background in experiential education facilitation and has worked with groups and teams, including ropes courses and initiative sites. She enjoys visiting the Arboretum with her family, noticing the outdoor beauty in every season. Jackie received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Grand Valley State University and her Master of Arts degree from Western Michigan University in the Counselor Education/Counseling Psychology Program. Contact Jackie for:

  • Career Coaching appointments (schedule online via Handshake)
  • Professional document critiques
  • Interview preparation 

StrengthsQuest Top 5: Adaptability • Arranger • Positivity • Relator • Responsibility 


Richard Sylvester, Assistant Director, Experiential Opportunities
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Richard SylvesterRichard started at K in January of 2016. A Michigan native, Richard has BS in Political Science and an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling both from Andrews University. Richard has studied abroad in Australia, Fiji, China, and Tibet. He is an avid sports fan, a voracious reader and also enjoys writing, cooking and traveling. Contact Richard for:

  • Career Coaching appointments (schedule online via Handshake)
  • Professional document critiques
  • Interview preparation
  • Answers to questions about Externship and Internship Programs

StrengthsQuest Top 5: Intellection • Strategic • Input • Learner • Analytical

Sarah Hassan, Resource Room Coordinator

Sarah began work with the CCPD on 12/1/17. Her bio is coming soon. Her responsibilities include:

  • Managing the resource room and reception area
  • Working collaboratively with the CCPD staff in both front facing and behind the scenes day-to-day operations.

Ngoc Chen, Operations Support Ngoc Chen

Ngoc is a recent transplant from Southern California. She loves working in education and has had extensive experience working in higher education, from student services to teaching. She received her B.A. in English from UC Berkeley and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UC Riverside. She enjoys spending time with her husband and cooking as well as painting.  Ngoc's responsibilities include:

  • Working collaboratively with the CCPD staff in behind the scenes day-to-day operations.

 StrengthsQuest Top 5: Connectedness • Strategic • Learner • Deliberative • Relator