Career Services Interns: Students Behind the Scenes

Nestled in a corner between Olin and McGregory lies Benton Hall, where the fine folks of Colgate’s Career Services help prepare students for the next steps in their lives. The building, completed in 2018, is a beacon of perfection; walls and ceilings are lined with dark mahogany panels, and expansive windows offering unimpeded views of lush northeast forestry let natural light stream in. But the most impressive feature of Benton is not its incredible architecture or views — it’s the dedicated staff working there. Let’s take a quick journey to Benton and learn about some of them. 

Sophomore Elsa O’Brien is an office assistant (OA) at Career Services. Specifically, she is a part of the Operations and Communications department. O’Brien explained that the department is responsible for communicating any profession-related information worth knowing. The interns in this department take calls from students and alumni, schedule appointments and compile lists of resources. One of O’Brien’s more recent projects was working with fellow OA, senior Shannon Keefe, to compile mounds of information on the top law schools in the country and create a list of them that were specifically tailored towards Colgate students on the pre-law track. 

Networking with past students is another important part of the job.  The responsibility of connecting current students to the right people out in the professional community falls on the shoulders of the OAs. 

“Alumni are essential to helping students find connections,” said O’Brien.

Sophomore Hope Sacco, an OA also working in Operations and Communications, knows a thing or two about dealing with pressure in the Career Services office. She had barely started working in Benton last year when she found out that she was going to have to set up the entire SophoMORE Connections career conference almost completely on her own, as COVID-19 sidelined the rest of her fellow OAs. 

“It was pretty crazy,” she said. “I was setting up like fifty projectors and signs; it was the middle of winter too.” 

Despite the adversity, she pulled it off, and her affinity for her job and her fellow students and office coworkers has only grown over time. 

“I definitely recommend [working at Career Services],” Sacco said. “There is lots of community being fostered, it’s fun, and it always feels like a productive use of my time.” 

Working in Career Services has also helped Sacco in ways that go beyond the office. 

“Getting this job made me utilize my time here so much better,” Sacco said. 

Senior Shannon Keefe is one of the returning members of the Operations and Communications crew at Career Services, but she still finds new ways to help her fellow students. 

“There isn’t one distinct thing to what we do,” Keefe explained about the goals of Career Services. “We want to help [students] towards their next step.”

Being an OA also comes with its fair share of perks — all that networking leads to lots of connections throughout the Colgate community. Keefe has spoken with all manner of successful Colgate alumni. She recalled a particularly memorable event for her: the time she met Jimmy DeCicco ’15, CEO of Supercoffee and 2019 member of Forbes’s 30 under 30 list, at a networking event. Like Sacco, Keefe has also benefited from working as an OA in ways that go beyond the job itself. When asked if she would recommend working in the Career Services office to prospective students, she replied enthusiastically. 

“[Working here] has pushed me to be a better student,” Keefe said. “I would definitely encourage them to do it, it provides a built-in support network of advisors and students.”

Indeed, that seems to be the common thread from O’Brien, Sacco and Keefe; all of them have thoroughly enjoyed their time working in the Career Services center. It isn’t easy work, but, then again, nothing worth doing ever is. 

You can contact Career Services at [email protected].