Professional development event for staff with career-related roles at Penn

  • Does part of your role at Penn involve working with students, postdocs, alumni, or other staff to support their professional and career development?
  • Are you looking to build community with other Penn staff whose roles are similar to yours, and who may have best practices, resources, or advice that can support your programs and initiatives?
  • Would you like to celebrate some of your successes by sharing information about a career resource, program, or project with other staff at Penn to highlight its impact on the populations you serve?
  • Would you like to hear from senior Penn administrators and professionals from industry to learn about trends in career development, including approaches to addressing bias, or the use of AI in recruiting?

If so, we welcome you to the first-of-its-kind Penn Career Conference. Penn’s Career Services is collaborating with offices across campus to organize this event to support community building between staff on campus who work with students, postdocs, alumni, and staff to support their career and professional development. This event will be a fantastic opportunity for staff to hear about the experiences of other Penn colleagues, learn what online career tools and resources are available for use, find ways to collaborate and partner on initiatives that may improve work efficiency and decrease operational costs, and help to bridge the gap between our many decentralized offices. Take a look at our welcome video here:

Program/Presentation Registration

In a few short days you will be able to register for specific programs you want to attend. Once we have finalized the conference schedule below, we will send out an email with the program registration survey. If you haven’t registered for the overall conference yet, then you can do so here. We are excited to have you participate in any aspects of this professional development conference!

Monday 24th May
1-1:10pm  Welcome: overview of conference, goals, and action items 
Kathleen Powell, M.S. | Associate Vice President for Career Development Cohen Career Center | William & Mary | NACE Past President
Career Trends for the 2020s
From changing timelines, increasing diversity, to new technologies – what are the trends that are defining the career landscape for students, postdocs, and alumni in the years to come?
Concurrent staff presentation #1
Curating highly-targeted online communities for student and alumni networking

Andrea Alhadari Patton, Associate Director, Development and Alumni Relations

3:05-3:50pm Concurrent staff presentation #1
RA developmentLicinia “Lulu” Barrueco Kaliher, Ed.D., Senior Director, College Houses & Academic Services (CHAS)
Ebonish Lamar, Fisher Hassenfeld House Director
Trina Sokoloski – Lauder/NCHW House DirectorCollege Houses & Academic Services (CHAS) is home to over 5500 students, who are supported by over 300 student, professional staff and faculty in residence. Over the past 6 years, an extensive training and development plan has been developed that focused on competency development that integrates soft and hard skills focused on student development and success. Utilizing constructivism as our theoretical foundation, the training and development program combines individuals’ funds of knowledge, self-directedness and guided sessions in furthering staff development.In this session, participants will learn how CHAS approaches personal and professional development for our student staff, review overall training and development plan, and learn examples from supervisors. 
to Meetaway and select your matches
Networking and community building session (using Meetaway)
Come and make new connections with staff at Penn, or reconnect with colleagues you may know, to share updates on your office and your work. Join us for an opportunity to have a series of 5-minute, 1:1 conversations with Penn staff based on your shared goals, interests, and ideas. We will be using the Meetaway virtual networking platform so that you can experience this in action. Details on signing up will be shared once you have registered, and you can find a brief overview of what the process of meeting people will look like in the following video:

Tuesday 25th May
1-2:30pm  Moderated Discussion: Perspectives on Career Success for Penn Students/Postdocs
Moderated by Mamta Accapadi, PhD, Vice Provost of University Life
In this panel discussion, senior administrators and faculty will discuss what career success can look like for students/postdocs at Penn, highlighting some of the personal and professional challenges that different populations of students face in their career development, and sharing insights into some of the ways that students have overcome these challenges. This conversation will highlight some of the many ways that staff at Penn can support different populations as they look to develop their own definition of career success in the changing world of work. Participants will be able to pose questions in the chat for the panelists.

  • Tamara Greenfield King, JD, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Student Affairs
  • Barbara Hewitt, EdD, Executive Director, Penn Career Services
  • Marc Lo, PhD, Executive Director, P1P
  • Rodolfo R. Altamirano, PhD, Director, International Student and Scholar Services
  • Steve DiNardo, PhD, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Director of Training Support and Career Development in Biomedical Graduate Studies
  • Meredith Wooten, PhD, Director, Graduate Student Center

See bio here


LinkedIn Lab for Penn Staff
Presented by: Joseph Barber, PhD, Senior Associate Director, Penn Career ServicesJoin us for this lightning-fast professional development session to learn about 5 easy changes you can make to your Linked profile to present your professional identity at Penn as effectively as possible. You can take what you learn at this session and share with the students, postdocs, or alumni you work with to help them too. We will cover these topics:

  1. Customizing your URL, and sharing your name
  2. Perfecting your photo
  3. Creating an impactful headline
  4. Writing your “About” section
  5. Giving and requesting recommendations
3:10-4:00pm  Topic presentation based on staff submissions (possibly concurrent)
Dawn Graham
, PhD, LP, Career Director, MBA Program for Executives at The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania | author of “Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers and Seize Success” 
Wednesday 26th May

See bio here

Staff presentation
Career Exploration Fellowship for PhD Students
Helen Pho, PhD, Associate Director, Penn Career Services

Now in its fifth year, the PhD Career Exploration Fellowship (CEF) program at Penn Career Services encourages non-faculty career exploration among doctoral students by facilitating networking experiences and fostering mentorship relationships with advanced degree holding professionals. In 2021, 44 PhD students from across the University were matched with 34 hosts in the Philadelphia region and beyond, representing diverse careers fields ranging from academic librarianship to data science to pharmaceutical research and development. This presentation will provide a history of the program’s evolution, a discussion of the rebranding of the program in 2020, strategies used for expanding host participation and student interest, and survey data examining the impact of the CEF on students’ academic and professional goals. Attendees can come away with ideas for connecting current students with alumni and potential employers, enhancing student professional development, increasing student exposure to different careers, and building community among students in a virtual program.

to Meetaway and select your matches
Networking and community building session (using Meetaway)
Come and make new connections with staff at Penn, or reconnect with colleagues you may know, to share updates on your office and your work. Join us for an opportunity to have a series of 5-minute, 1:1 conversations with Penn staff based on your shared goals, interests, and ideas. We will be using the Meetaway virtual networking platform so that you can experience this in action. Details on signing up will be shared once you have registered.

10:45am-12pm  Moderated Discussion: Addressing Inequity & Bias in the Job Search
Moderated by J. Michael DeAngelis, Senior Digital Resource Manager, Career Services (Co-Host, CS Radio podcast), and Mylène Kerschner, Associate Director, Career Services (Co-Host, CS Radio podcast)As technology plays an increasing role in the job search and hiring process, the need to address conscious and unconscious bias at all stages of the process is crucial. This discussion will highlight:

  • what role technology plays in the job search
  • how important software will become in assessing future candidates
  • what we as individuals can do to develop strategies to better identify bias and reduce inequity in the internship and job search
  • and what we can all do to support the diverse populations that we serve

We hope that you will join us as we examine the ways in which employers, university faculty/staff, and candidates can work towards addressing inequity and bias, and explore what further steps still need to be taken. Confirmed panelists include:

  • Judd Benjamin Kessler, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Christine Cruzvergara, VP Higher Education & Student Success at Handshake
  • David Kozhuk, Founder, uConnect
12-12:15pm  Conference wrap-up
Next steps, feedback, and optional brainstorming group sign-ups

Submitting resources or prerecorded videos

We hope that staff will share their diverse experience working with students, postdocs, and alumni by submitting career-focused content for the conference. You have the option to share prerecorded videos or PDFs of project summaries or resource descriptions that will be shared with all registrants. We hope that you will take this opportunity to celebrate your successes, and to share ideas with other staff at Penn who may find your experiences relevant to their work. If you are interested in sharing content, please reach out to Joseph Barber ( Here are examples of the type of content that would be great to share:

1) Written overview of a skill/competency, resource, or program related to career development. Examples of what this content might look like include:
– program summary: Undergraduate Peer Career Advisors program @ Penn Career Services
– student resource: Informational Interviewing Guide (for graduate students/postdocs)
– student resource: Quick tips for Negotiating (for graduate students/postdocs)

2) 1-5 minute video short of a project, resource, or program related to career development. Videos will be shared on the Career Services YouTube channel. Examples of what this content might look like include:
– video short: Using CareerShift to find employers by industry/location

Questions? please contact Joseph Barber (Penn Career Services) at

Organizing Committee:
Barb Hewitt (Penn Career Services), Kristin Sowden (Penn LPS Online), Steve Hernandez (Wharton San Francisco), Jo Ellen McBride (Graduate Student Center), Rebecca Kass (MBA Career Management), Rachel McGarrigle (Perelman School of Medicine), Meredith Wooten (Graduate Student Center), Claire Klieger (Penn Career Services), J. Michael DeAngelis (Penn Career Services), Leon Malloy (Penn Career Services), Joseph Barber (Penn Career Services)