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Second K-Trek Takes Students to NYC

March 21, 2016 at 11:49 am
By Joan Hawxhurst

This week, during Kalamazoo College’s spring break, these seven K sophomores and juniors are in New York City for the inaugural “K to the Big Apple” career trek:  

Ryan Andrusz, sophomore, Business

Emerson Brown, junior, Computer Science and Economics

Dylan Calloway, junior, Economics

Christopher Francis, junior, Economics and Mathematics

Shelby Hopper, sophomore, International & Area Studies and German

Kriti Singh, junior, Economics

Joshua Vance, sophomore, Business and Psychology

Accompanied by Valerie Miller, the CCPD’s assistant director for external relations, the students are conducting informational visits to alumni professionals with expertise in business, finance, and economics. Students are being exposed to financial services, commercial lending, IT consulting, private investment firms and commercial financial groups, and banking from Citibank to the Federal Reserve. They also have the opportunity to meet and learn from area alumni at an evening networking reception, and to get to know a city that is one of the world’s most influential and important global financial centers.

This intense immersive experience for students would not be possible without the generosity and active engagement of dedicated K alumni and friends. This trip is largely funded by the parent of a young alumna, and well over a dozen alumni—from the classes of 1971 through 2015—are giving significant amounts of time, expertise, and access to their professional networks.

“K to the Big Apple” is Kalamazoo College’s second pilot career trek. The first “K to the Bay” treks took four K seniors to Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area in December 2014 and 2015, immersing them in the high-tech start-up world and offering them insider insights from alumni and other industry leaders, as well as exposure to a new part of the country, as they prepared to transition to “Life after K.” We’ve framed the current New York trek to afford younger students the opportunity to gain similar exposure in a global hub for business and finance, early enough in their college careers to impact their K-Plan.

As we look to the future, we’ve mapped out a set of potential K-Treks based on alumni expertise and data we’ve collected on career and geographical interests of current students. The list of possible sites and industries is as long and varied as are the post-graduate aspirations of our students. Among the treks we hope to launch once resources are secured are: public service in Washington, DC; nonprofit administration and/or law in Chicago; sustainability in Detroit; health care in Atlanta or Boston; and arts and entertainment in Los Angeles.

As we frame the K-Trek model, we are mindful that first-generation students and students of lower socioeconomic status sometimes face extra challenges in competing for exclusive career development opportunities.  They may not come to K with prior professional networks or the means to take advantage of unpaid professional experience as skill-building preparation.  We are committed to dedicating CCPD staff time and resources to enhanced support for these students, in order to ensure equal access for all of our students to future K-Treks.

We are also committed to ongoing partnership with alumni professionals as we build on this early iteration of an exciting innovation for career development at K. As we refine and gradually expand the K-Trek model to reach more students, we welcome the input and involvement of students, faculty, and staff. If you have an idea or a connection to share, I invite you to email me at joan.hawxhurst@kzoo.edu.

Stay tuned for more details in a future blog post after the conclusion of the “K to the Big Apple” trek.

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