Learning in the Postgraduate Setting

This blog was written by Claire Kane ’18, 2018-2019 Davidson Impact Fellow for the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC).

Twice a year, physicians at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) lead medical brigades to a mountainous region of Honduras, near the town of Camasca, where they provide medical care for families living in rural villages. For the past several years, MAHEC’s Davidson Impact Fellow has been given the opportunity to attend the trip and work alongside physicians, medical students, pharmacists, nurses, and other learners to provide care to this historically underserved population. Excited by the prospect, I quickly agreed to join this year’s August brigade without thinking through what exactly my role on the trip would entail. After the first day of clinic, I realized that because I am not qualified to provide medical care and my Spanish is conversational at best, my responsibilities were limited. Initially I felt both embarrassed and disappointed that I could not contribute more to the clinics’ operations, especially given the high volume of patients that came in to receive care. However, within days, several of the medical students attending the trip encouraged me to utilize the daily clinics as learning opportunities by shadowing them, posing questions, and speaking Spanish with patients. Thanks to those students, by the time the trip was over, I had learned how to use an otoscope, how to perform joint injections for knee osteoarthritis, how to identify the physical manifestations of a parasite infection, and much more. Yet, when I reflect back on the trip, the technical skills or medical terminology that I learned are not what stands out. Instead, I remember the ways in which the medical students taught me to embrace learning in the postgraduate “professional” world.

Like many young adults entering into postgraduate life, when I began my first professional work experience as an Impact Fellow at MAHEC, I felt a sense of pressure to perform and impress my coworkers and supervisors. This pressure translated into my hesitancy to ask questions, to be vulnerable, and to ask for help. I didn’t want to burden the providers that I worked with, who simultaneously juggle their clinical practice alongside community engagement and education initiatives. Ironically, it took me traveling all the way to Honduras to understand that everyone at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, medical students and administrators alike, truly embodies and embraces the organizational mission to cultivate learning. At MAHEC, we are often dealing with complex issues including the treatment of substance use disorder and the ever-changing status of our healthcare system and I have realized that I can only do my job well insofar as I understand the dynamics at play. Ultimately, understanding requires being vulnerable, admitting my shortcomings, asking for assistance, and opening my mind to new ways of learning and doing. While Davidson prepared me well to adapt in this way, the postgraduate setting has still felt like a substantial change from the learning environment that I had grown accustomed to during my four years at Davidson. Whereas at Davidson, learning opportunities were always directly accessible, learning in the professional world oftentimes requires you to apply more effort in order to receive the answers to your questions. As a result, I have recognized that learning curves will accompany every transition throughout my professional career, but a sense of adaptability and resilience that I developed at Davidson, along with a willingness to question and learn that I have developed at MAHEC will sustain me through the challenges.



Five Simple Tips for a Successful Job Search

Whether you’re seeking an internship, your first post-grad role, or a career in a new industry, the idea of job searching can cause anyone to sweat. While nerves are normal, keeping a cool head and thinking strategically can turn the process from stressful to seamless. As you look for your next position, remember these five simple tips built to set you up for success.

  1. Make sure your resume is in tip-top shape
    Think of your resume as your marketing tool. It doesn’t need to encompass everything you’ve ever done, but you’ll want to make sure that it highlights your strengths and key relevant experiences. When it comes to your bullet points, don’t just list what you did in each role. Use dynamic action verbs to convey how your skill set contributed to the overall organization. Let those transferable skills shine!
  2. Master that cover letter
    Hiring managers can tell when you’re using a generic cover letter, so don’t take a shortcut! Whereas your resume should highlight your key experiences, your cover letter should speak specifically to how your background and career interests make you an ideal candidate for the position. Do your research on the employer, pay close attention to the job description, and focus on what makes you uniquely qualified for the role. Don’t forget to proofread and make sure your writing is tight and effective.  Communication skills are just as important as content.
  3. Utilize those resources
    No matter your grad year, the Center for Career Development is here to support you, and we can point you to countless resources as well. Davidson students and alumni can search thousands of jobs, internships, and experiential learning opportunities through Handshake, and more postings are added every day. (Alums wishing to receive access to Handshake can contact us at careers@davidson.edu.) Under the Handshake “Resources” page, you’ll also find industry-specific guides, as well as tips on becoming the Best Intern Ever and information on fellowships and scholarships. Of course, there is no substitute for one-on-one career advising, so we encourage you to schedule an appointment with a career advisor in person, over the phone, or via Skype!
  1. Connect for some career conversations
    If you’re looking to gain insight into a career or company, speaking directly with someone in the industry can be invaluable. A career conversation is an excellent opportunity to get a feel for an organization, ask a seasoned pro how they got their start, and even gain feedback as you prep for an interview. Davidson students and grads will find an unparalleled resource in the Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN), which is comprised of alumni, parents, and members of the Davidson community who are experts in their fields and are eager to support fellow Wildcats on their career journeys. If you’re on LinkedIn (and you should be!),  be sure to join the 6,000+ members of the Davidson College Network  and search for alums by company, class year, or industry through the Davidson Database.    
  1. Take a breather
    Searching for a job is a job itself. Take care of yourself during the process! Dedicate scheduled time to searching and applying for positions, but make sure that you are also carving out time to do the things you enjoy. Have lunch with a friend, see a movie, or simply take a walk. You’ll return to your search rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to see things with a clear perspective.

Some job searches are swift, some are lengthy. Have patience and remember that it’s all a normal part of the process. And when you land that position? Let us know about it! We love to hear your success stories and can’t wait to cheer you on as you embark on your next journey.

The Center for Career Development Welcomes Three New Team Members

Lindsey Dolan, Abby Brown, and Stephanie Burns join the Center for Career Development
Lindsey Dolan, Abby Brown, and Stephanie Burns join the Center for Career Development team

The new year is a time for beginnings, and the Center for Career Development is ringing in 2018 with three new assistant directors. Stephanie Burns, Lindsey Dolan, and Abby Brown are thrilled to be joining the team and can’t wait to utilize their backgrounds and experiences in non-profit, higher education, marketing, and professional development to help Davidson students achieve their career goals.

A recent transplant from Massachusetts, Stephanie Burns earned both her MFA in Creative Writing and BA in Theater Studies from Emerson College in Boston. For over a decade, Stephanie has worked in various roles within higher education, using her experience as a writer to focus on communication and marketing. Stephanie has worked to help undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies students succeed, most recently guiding students on the path to graduate school as Assistant Director of Graduate Admission at Suffolk University. “I know what it was like to be embarking on my career without knowing the best place to start,” she says. “ I know what it was like to know what I wanted to do, but not know how to get there.  That’s why I’m passionate about helping students take those critical first steps that will lead them into the vibrant careers they’re looking for, and I’m so looking forward to working with the high-achieving, dynamic student body here at Davidson.”

Ovid, MI native Lindsey Dolan earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Wayne State University and her BS in Public Health from Central Michigan University. With a background in the non-profit sector, Lindsey comes to us most recently from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, where she worked with families diagnosed with muscle diseases and connected them to resources and services to assist with daily living needs, along with planning for future needs and goals.  She served as director of MDA’s annual summer camp, where kids go to spend “the best week of the year” building friendships and gaining confidence and independence. “I’ve always loved and valued education and I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with students in preparing for their career or next educational path,” she says.  “I look forward to working and engaging employer partners to bring exciting career opportunities to students.”

Abby Brown most recently served as Assistant Director of Professional Development for the Niblock Student Center at UNC Charlotte’s Belk College of Business. In this role, she delivered professional development workshops, managed the internships for academic credit program, and co-led the school’s Business Learning Community. Hailing from Belmont, NC, Abby earned her bachelor’s degree in Art History at UNC Charlotte and her master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Liberty University. On joining the Wildcat community, Abby says, “I am most excited about having the opportunity to work closely with Davidson’s students and guide them in realizing and achieving their career goals. Additionally, I am looking forward to working in a highly impactful, collaborative team environment.”

Along with the rest of the Center for Career Development team, Stephanie, Lindsey, and Abby look forward to engaging with students during our many events and one-on-one advising appointments throughout the year. As always, students are encouraged to keep a close eye on Handshake for upcoming workshops, networking opportunities, and career information sessions with industry leaders.