Image shows College Hall on the evening of Convocation. Text reads University of Pennsylvania Faculty and Staff are invited to attend the 2024 Career Champions Conference, June 10, 2024, virtual.

Penn Career Services is a centralized office on campus supporting the majority of students, postdocs, and alumni in their professional and career development. But we are not alone, and many staff and faculty play an indispensable role in helping these populations find career success. We are part of a growing “career everywhere” community, and want to take this opportunity to both celebrate and educate. You can view content from our 2023 Penn Career Champions Conference here!

Why Career Champions?
The Career Champions initiative is designed to support informal career advising and resource sharing happening broadly across campus in a consistent, meaningful way to benefit the lives students. This initiative is a professional development opportunity that trains and empowers staff and faculty to have strategic career conversations with students who seek their advice and counsel in situations and spaces beyond the programs and resources offered directly by Career Services. Students are already reaching out to people they trust around campus, and asking for help making new contacts and connections, updating resumes/personal statements, and getting ready for upcoming interviews. The Career Champions initiative provides a toolkit of resources that will support our partners as they have these conversations. This approach has significant benefits for many underserved populations who can be more comfortable connecting with familiar faculty or staff before taking full advantage of formal career resources through programs offered by Penn Career Services.

The 2024 Conference

You can register for any of the workshops listed below at the bottom of this page. These workshops are focused on Penn staff/faculty and on your professional and career growth, but the advice and resources we will be sharing are the same that we share with students, postdocs, and alumni in our programs and 1:1 advising. By watching these sessions, you will gain insight into your own professional and career development, and will also be able to share these insights and resources with students/postdocs at Penn as you engage with them during the next academic year. 

9:30am-11:00am: Career Services Across the Campus – The Who, How, What, and Where of Career Support at Penn 

Join us for a panel Q&A featuring career practitioners from different Schools and Centers around Penn’s campus for a celebration of professional and career development advice! Hear from the offices that are supporting your students and learn about some of the programs, initiatives, and online resources being used to support different populations of students, postdocs, staff, faculty, and alumni. Take advantage of the panel of experts to ask any career questions applicable to the populations you serve in your work, or even your own professional plans for the future! Find panelist bios here.

Moderated by Dr. Barbara Hewitt, Executive Director, Penn Career Services.

Panelists include:

Carol Hagan, Senior Associate Director, Pre-Graduate & Pre-Professional Advising Team, Penn Career Services
Candace Cain, Career Development Coordinator, Biomedical Graduate Studies
Alex Kralicek, Talent Acquisition Manager, Provost Administrative Affairs-Human Resources
Samuel Jones, Senior Director, MBA Career Management, Wharton School
Kristin Sowden, Associate Director of Career Advising & Programming, College of Liberal and Professional Studies

11:15am-12:00pm: Making the Most of a Master’s degree 
With the growing number of Master’s students at Penn looking for a good return on investment for their advanced degree, including the many staff who take advantage of tuition benefits to do this, there is a high demand for career advice tailored to the graduate student experience. In this session, we will highlight the Beyond Graduate School online platform built specifically for Master’s students as a way to help them navigate the graduate student experience, and successfully position themselves for their career next steps. Join us for a tour of this resource, and get best practices for how you can use this with your graduate student populations before they arrive at Penn, while they are here, and once they graduate. As you think about this tool for the students you serve, you can also leverage it for your own professional development.  

Presented by Dr. Joseph Barber, Director of Graduate Career Initiatives, Penn Career Services 

Stop by the Career Services office (basement, McNeil Building) to get your professional headshot taken in our photobooth, and grab a sweet treat for you, and some flyers for your students/postdocs, while you are here! We will be moving buildings in January 2025, and so come and see our current space so that you have something to compare with our new space! 

In Person at Career Services, McNeil Building Suite 20 (Lower Level), 3718 Locust Walk.

1:15pm-2:30pm: Career Wellness – Understanding the Mental Health Challenges of the Job Search 

There are many aspects of the job search that can affect how optimistic or overwhelmed students can feel, including: 

  • Feeling confused about what path to take next 
  • Responding to family/guardian pressures about getting the right type of job 
  • Concern about a lack of skill or experience 
  • Feeling overwhelmed by the need to network when chatting with people feels hard to do 
  • Not hearing back from employers about why their applications were not successful 
  • Experiencing challenging questions in interviews 
  • Having to make hard decisions about what offers to accept, if there is more than one, or whether to accept a less-than-ideal offer if it is the only one 
  • Not having any offers at all 
  • Feeling a disconnection between years of academic study and a job that doesn’t value that experience 
  • Feeling unsupported by advisors when following a career path different from others in a field of study.  

In this discussion, staff from Career Services and Penn Wellness will discuss some of these situations, and talk through some best practices, advice, and resources that might help students, postdocs, alumni, and staff manage these challenges. There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions in this session.  

A conversation with

  • Dr. Zihui Lu, Manager, Wellness Coaching, Wellness at Penn
  • Laura Brasch, Associate Director, College Team, Penn Career Services
  • Megan Chambers, Associate Director, Wharton Undergraduate Team, Penn Career Services

2:45pm-3:45pm: Best Practices for Helping Students and Postdocs to Showcase Their Campus Experiences in their Resumes and Interviews 

If you work with student/postdoc leaders as they gain experience in their group, association, or volunteering efforts, then join us for this workshop where we will highlight some best practices for how these experiences can be leveraged in resumes and interviews to showcase transferable skills in action. Learn what sections in the resume can be used to highlight these skills, and how relevant skills can be described. Discover how some of the challenges they overcome in their extracurricular experiences can make for great STAR stories in interviews. This workshop is also applicable to staff who oversee student workers.  

Presented by Natty Leach, Senior Associate Director and Dustin Miller, Associate Director, Penn Career Services.

3:45-4:45pm: Professional Photos and Tasty Treats at the Career Services Photobooth (Session 2)  

Stop by the Career Services office (basement, McNeil Building) to get your professional headshot taken in our photobooth, and grab a sweet treat for you, and some flyers for your students/postdocs, while you are here! We will be moving buildings in January 2025, and so come and see our current space so that you have something to compare with our new space! 

In Person at Career Services, McNeil Building Suite 20 (Lower Level), 3718 Locust Walk.

Please register for any of the events you can attend here.

Register for the 2024 Career Champions Conference

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Questions? Comments? Please contact Joseph Barber (Penn Career Services) at

Organizing Committee:
Joseph Barber & J. Michael DeAngelis