GPI - Lauren O’Neill, Associate Director of Career Development
By Raena Doty
What is your educational and professional background?
I graduated from Worcester State in 2013 with a bachelor's in history. When I was at Worcester State, I did some research with the alumni relations office. … [In addition], I was in AmeriCorps Vista with the Center for Civic Engagement, so that was really great. I got to work with the Worcester Public Schools to do some research on the partnership between Worcester State’s education department and the Worcester Public Schools that have practicum and pre-practicum placements for our students. And then … I went to Brown University for my master of public affairs, and I was there for two years. … I worked at an organization called Bottom Line and I was in the Worcester office. … There was an opening at Holy Cross - one of my Bottom Line students actually told me about it. It felt like a natural transition, so I was an assistant director at Holy Cross in their Career Development Center for almost five years. I loved it. I loved the students I worked with, and then when this position became available as associate director of career development at Framingham, it felt like a really natural shift upward.
How did you get involved in this line of work?
I remember when I was in college finding it difficult to navigate through all the resources that were available, and I think if I would have searched those out a bit more, I would have been better off. But I really liked the fact that Bottom Line was available to students to serve as a resource that kind of encompassed everything - so the financial piece, the career piece, the academic piece, and the life piece. … One of my favorite things is kind of seeing those “aha!” moments with students. So you have a student come in your office, they're not quite sure where to start - I like to first demystify that idea that career development needs to be this big scary thing. I like to tell students, “You don't need to come in with any plan. We are here to support you - that's what we do.” And then when they figure out what their passions are and what they're interested in … those moments are always really special - to see that connection with students.
What do you want the FSU community to know about your role here?
We are a lot more than just career advising and working on resumés. The career advisors who work in this office are really dedicated to meeting students where they're at. For example, we offer a job and internship fair that's happening on March 30. We are actively working to engage employers who are interested in Framingham State students and trying to make sure that the employers we’re bringing on campus meet the needs and the interests of the students of Framingham. … I want people to know that, again, we're not just a one-stop shop that people will have a transactional interaction with and then they're gone. We want to be able to work with students throughout their time here, and that includes building relationships and getting to know what their interests are.
What do you want the students to know about this opportunity?
It goes back to what I want everybody to know about us. We're here to support you - no matter what your goals are. … We just implemented a resource called the Strong Interest Inventory, and it is designed to assess a person's interests and compare your responses to people who actually work within certain occupations, and it compares your responses to theirs to find commonality. … I would also say we have different GroupMe channels for industries that students are interested in. So if you sign up for a GroupMe, it could be for arts communication media; it could be for government, international affairs, law. We kind of covered all the industries in these GroupMe channels. Students will be provided information like that to their phone because I'm sending information through that all the time and they can check out Instagram to learn more.