Many current seniors are branching out to different career paths after graduation, looking beyond Career Development Center (CDC) listings and career fairs in their job search.
“Students seem to be more open to alternative types of careers during a recession,” CDC Director Lance Choy wrote in an e-mail to The Daily.
Choy noted that applications to Teach for America and the Peace Corps have increased in the last two years. But the most common way for students to find jobs is to use their personal networks, he said, stressing the importance of connecting with alumni.
Alli Stuppy ‘11, a psychology major who plans to pursue a career in clinical psychology, hopes to complete a research fellowship next year.
Stuppy said she was interested in clinical psychology, but hasn’t had much exposure to it at Stanford.
“I don’t really have the best idea of what clinical psychology entails from Stanford, which is more research oriented,” Stuppy said.
She emphasized the importance of gaining research experience for those interested in pursuing graduate studies in psychology.
Chemical engineering major Abraham Berhane ’11 hopes to secure an entry-level position at a pharmaceutical company. His long-term goal is to work in research and development in biotechnology.
“Right now I’m focusing on trying to find a job for next year,” Berhane said. “A lot of [the search] has just been Googling top pharmaceutical companies in the area.”
Berhane said he found positions despite the economic downturn. His professors often provided advice on where to look for openings.
Outside of the sciences, many industries have taken a hit in the economic downturn, among them entertainment and advertising, Choy said. But some students haven’t been deterred from pursuing arts careers.
Juliann Ma ‘11, who is majoring in music and minoring in creative writing, hopes to continue her musical training and take a stab at a career as a concert pianist. She has applied for a Fulbright in Paris and to music schools on the East Coast.
“The most important thing for me is doing something I love,” Ma said. “I would like to see how far my music career can go.”
At the same time, Ma is well aware of the challenges that musicians seeking performance careers face.
“It takes a lot more than just training and performing,” she said. “It has been in my considerations for a long time to get a job or something much more secure than being a concert artist.
“If that’s what I’m good at, I should just try it,” she added.
Olivia Haas ’11, an English major, would eventually like to work in theater, film or television. For Haas, the first stop after graduation is the MFA Playwrights’ Workshop at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
“The resources and connections through Stanford are actually pretty remarkable for someone with my interests,” Haas said.
She emphasized the importance of being proactive and reaching out to potential employers. For Haas, one key resource was the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SICA), through which she completed an internship with the Public Theater in New York last summer.
For students pursuing careers in the arts, flexibility is key, Haas said.
“I both enjoy and am terrified of the uncertainty and the unknowns,” Haas said. “That’s just part of the process.”