Melissa Mirkovich-Scholes, Amanda Carpenter and Leah Lacayo

Merging Career Development and Alumni Engagement

By Zoe Lance

Every day, CSUCI’s Dolphin network of students, alumni and industry partners grows a little stronger. In symbiosis, students take advantage of career-building and counseling resources, while the alumni who benefitted from those resources give back through volunteering, mentoring and hiring students. Industry partners work with both, helping spread the CSUCI community across the region and the nation.

A recent merger of Career Development and Alumni Engagement, under the Division of University Advancement, helps advance this network and the University’s strategic initiatives. CSUCI is currently the only CSU campus with this innovative model, says Director of Career Development & Alumni Engagement Amanda Carpenter, Ed.D.

“This merger really allows us to do three things much better at CSUCI: provide more comprehensive career development for our students, enhance engagement opportunities for more alumni, and be a central hub that engages industry with talent,” Carpenter said. “We know that if our alumni are doing well, they’re going to share their stories and give back to the campus.”

As a result of this merger, Carpenter is looking to offer more programming that’s inclusive of all Dolphins. This may include enhancing and expanding career services for both current students and alumni who belong to the Alumni & Friends Association. While current students access Career Services for help on building resumes, finding internships and exploring potential career paths, their interactions with alumni can now happen earlier and more often.

Our alumni have great skills and we would like them to come back and mentor current students. We encourage you to participate and your presence in the
CSUCI community counts.

 Leah Lacayo

“For students to know that it’s a full circle — they come to Career Development and get our support, they get an internship in the community with an employer that we work with, they are potentially hired by that organization, and then come back as alumni to support and mentor new generations — is really important,” Carpenter said.

She wants students and alumni to know that their relationship with the University doesn’t end at Commencement. Having career services and alumni resources in the same place helps spread that message.

“We really want to keep our door open for our alumni, and this merger helps us to think critically about how we do things in innovative ways to benefit both students and alumni,” Carpenter said.

Reconnecting to CSUCI

The members of CSUCI’s Alumni & Friends Association Board volunteer countless hours to organize and host programs and events for the CSUCI community. The board’s co-presidents, Melissa Mirkovich-Scholes (’05 Liberal Studies) and Leah Lacayo, are invested in growing the alumni network.

Melissa Mikovich-ScholesMirkovich-Scholes, a senior sales associate at SAGE Publishing, has been connected with the University since she graduated. She joined the board in 2017 and wanted to contribute even more.

“The Alumni & Friends Association Board is a really important point of contact for alumni to the University,” Mirkovich-Scholes said. “One of the coolest things about being co-president is reconnecting with alumni and showing them ways they can give back.”

Lacayo, a well-known community activist who has served on the board since 2008, had previously served as president. Her involvement with the University stretches back to before it was even a campus, when she and her late husband Hank, lobbied with other community members for the establishment of a public university in Ventura County.

“I am excited to be working with Amanda Carpenter, and the newly merged Career Development & Alumni Engagement,” Lacayo said. “It is because of Dr. Carpenter’s leadership that the Hank Lacayo Institute at CSUCI has been so successful with its internship program.”

Leah LacayoMirkovich-Scholes and Lacayo have big plans for the association this year. In addition to working to increase membership and strengthen mentoring opportunities for current students, they’re updating the University’s alumni database to make sure Dolphins get the CSUCI news they want.

“Our alumni have great skills and we would like them to come back and mentor current students,” Lacayo said. “We encourage you to participate and your presence in the CSUCI community counts.”

CSUCI alumni may update their contact information and others may learn more about the benefits of joining the Alumni & Friends Association

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© Fall 2018 / Volume 22 /Number 02 / Bi-annual

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