Career Services: The Power of Two
Bridget Drury, a Governance and Client Relations intern at XCEO Inc., knows what a helping hand can do. A graduate of Governors State University, Drury found the help she needed at her school’s Career Services office and in GSU’s mentoring program. In both instances, she worked with Internship Recruitment Coordinator Cynthia Staples.
“I was Bridget’s mentor,” Staples said. “She’s really a student leader. She’s very hardworking, very involved, and she’s driven. She’s not afraid to stand up to a challenge.”
Staples began working in Career Services in 2003. The Office is an essential part of the focus GSU puts on retention and success, which also includes the creation of Student Success Teams and the implementation of the STAR Student Success Network.
Drury and Staples’ double shot of involvement and collaboration opened a career path for Drury that would have once seemed unimaginable.
Drury was attending Joliet Junior College when she learned about GSU’s acclaimed Dual Degree Program (DDP). Pursuing her Associate degree at the time, family hardship necessitated that Drury work almost 50 hours a week, a nearly insurmountable challenge for any student at any institution.
“I thought I was going to have to quit school and work two jobs for the rest of my life,” she said. “I was ready to give up.”
Hearing about the DDP, which provides academic and financial support to students who transfer to GSU to complete their bachelor’s degrees, Drury enrolled. Subsequently, she received the GSU Promise Scholarship, which enabled her to earn her bachelor’s degree debt-free.
“GSU opened doors of opportunity I didn’t even know existed,” Drury said.
One of the ways GSU increases the likelihood of success for DDP students is to provide them with peer mentors; Drury’s uncertainty about her career plans led her peer mentor to urge her to visit the Career Services office. During her first semester, Career Services recommended that Drury take the MMPI and Strong Interest Inventory evaluations, tools used to help suggest and clarify career objectives.
At the suggestion of Roshaunda Ross, then the Director of the DDP and now Director of New Student Programs and Leadership Development, Staples connected Drury with an internship opportunity with California-based XCEO Inc., a management consulting firm run by GSU alumnus Dr. Curtis Crawford.
Drury was apprehensive at first. She was afraid that the XCEO internship might be too computer-intensive for someone majoring in Industrial & Organizational Psychology.
Drury said, “Cynthia was like, ‘Trust me, you want this. Dr. Crawford is a very notable man, and it’s a very good company.’ And she kept saying, ‘You’ll get paid.’”
Career Services helped Drury with her résumé. She was invited to interview directly with XCEO for the internship, and again she sought guidance from Staples. The interview went well. She was offered the position.
In her senior year, Drury decided to take advantage of another jewel-in-the-crown opportunity at GSU and applied to the university’s Student Leadership Institute (SLI). She was accepted and—thanks again to the influence of Ross—paired once more with Staples.
“I was really glad that my SLI mentor was someone from Career Services,” Drury said. “Cynthia really helped me talk things out.”
“Even after I finished SLI, I still went to Career Services. For my capstone class, we were required to have a résumé, so I continually updated mine with Cynthia. We’ve held onto a good relationship; she even helped me write my email asking XCEO if they’d keep me on after graduation.”
While continuing her work with XCEO, Drury is about to start earning her Master of Leadership Studies (MLD) at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.
Reflecting on the relationship between Drury and Staples, Ross said, “It’s a connection that has really blossomed. I’ve asked Bridget back to speak on panels, DDP has had her on panels—she’s just very dependable and always delivers, and you can tell it’s because she’s had wonderful mentoring from Cynthia.”