UWF 2018 Job Shadow Week provides students hands-on experience
Last week, March 26-30, University of West Florida students participated in the 2018 Job Shadow Week. A record 53 students participated, with career interests spanning a variety of industries including hospitality, marketing, environmental science, finance and accounting, business, health care, government and more. The UWF Office of Career Development and Community Engagement, UWF Center for Entrepreneurship, UWF Student Government Association and Studer Community Institute partnered to host the week.
Lauren Loeffler, executive director of career development and community engagement, said the increased interest and participation from both community partners and students in this year’s job shadow week helps solidify the University’s commitment to community engagement and allows students to see how their coursework translates to the workforce.
“Job shadowing is an excellent way for students to observe a day in the life of their chosen career or industry,” Loeffler said. “Research also suggests that experiences like job shadowing help students crystallize career goals which in turn aids in academic progression and higher graduation rates.”
Students were given the opportunity to choose a professional to shadow for a day from participating businesses in the region to experience a typical day in the industry, network with professionals and gain hands-on experience in a field of interest.
Colton Currier, senior marketing major, shadowed Liz Pelt, senior account manager and digital media lead at Appleyard Agency. Appleyard Agency is a full-service marketing and advertising agency, recognized as an industry leader in the Northwest Florida region.
“I attended meetings with a few of Appleyard’s major clients, allowing me to gain an inside view of what a job in the marketing field entails and meet other professionals in the area,” Currier said. “I am very grateful for the experience I have gained from this opportunity and to Liz for being such a great mentor.”
Pelt said she learned of the opportunity from Quint Studer, founder and CEO of Studer Community Institute, and wanted to give students an opportunity to see the inner workings of an advertising agency.
“Colton was able to see how we work with clients and manage marketing plans and budgets,” Pelt said. “He discovered how to integrate what he has learned at UWF into real-world scenarios with local businesses and community organizations.”
Job shadowing is designed to allow students to gain valuable exposure to a career of interest and apply knowledge acquired from their academic program. It is also a short-term, high-impact practice that can serve as preparation for other methods of experiential learning, such as internships and cooperative education, which typically take place in a student’s upper division academic experience.
For more information about the Office of Career Development and Community Engagement, visit uwf.edu/career.