November 30, 2011

Alumna returns to campus to lead Career Services

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Keri D. Young, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumna, has returned to her alma mater as director of Career Services.

Young said she particularly looks forward to interacting with the wide variety of students who make up SIU Carbondale.  She also wants to implement some of the successful programs she utilized elsewhere to improve the relevance of SIU Carbondale Career Services for more students than ever before, and earlier in their academic careers.

“My vision for Career Services is to bring the experiences I have building and expanding employer and alumni relationships to SIU Carbondale and to develop programs that stress the importance of networking early on in a student’s academic career,” she said in a recent interview.

“Keri brings to SIU Carbondale a fantastic mix of enthusiasm for her work, dedication to the career services field, a proven track record of developing and nurturing employer relations, and a true passion for helping students succeed,” Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, assistant provost for University College, said.  “She understands the needs of our students, and will no doubt work collaboratively with key units, employers and community agencies to ensure our students enjoy that success well past their graduation day.”

Young said she sees considerable potential benefit from Career Services’ inclusion under the University College umbrella.  She said building relationships with students that persist for more than merely the last few semesters on campus depends on reaching students early and demonstrating to them the value of Career Services resources.  To that end, Young also plans to implement a system to track student successes, and also interactions with students and employers.

Young anticipates some restructuring of the department to further her goals of accountability for the department and for reaching out to students.

“Under my leadership I plan to restructure the department so that the staff has clearly defined goals and objectives; either providing career advising to our students and alumni or growing our employer relations and increasing employment opportunities for our students,” she said.  “My philosophy can be summed up in one word: collaboration.”

Young said her student outreach includes those who are not on the Carbondale campus.  She anticipates working closely with other departments and units on campus to achieve that goal.

Before returning to Carbondale, Young was assistant director of recruitment operations in the graduate career service center at Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business.  While there, she worked closely with graduate students earning their master of business administration degrees and with an increasing pool of potential employers.  She tracked and reported data pertinent to employer relations and recruitment.  Among the activities she planned and marketed were information sessions and career boot camps, as well as continual efforts to help students improve their career development skills such as resume and cover letter writing, interviewing, networking, salary negotiation and job searching.

Young also as previous experience serving as an experiential learning coordinator in Career Linkages at Southeast Missouri State University.

At SIU Carbondale, she acted as an assistant program coordinator for the Southern Illinois Regional Career Preparation Program, and she gained experience as an intern at Southern Illinois Healthcare.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition, specializing in hotel, restaurant and travel administration, in 2001, and her master’s degree in workforce education and development in 2004.

Currently, Young is a member of the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.

SIU Carbondale Career Services is a comprehensive career planning and employment services agency including coaching in career skills and development.