April 6, 2018

Staff Spotlight: Katie Ryan, Career Services Representative

By B&SC Blog Team

Staff Spotlight: Katie Ryan, Career Services Representative

Katie has been part of the Bryant & Stratton team for just over three years. She started her tenure as a financial aid advisor before transitioning into her current role with Career Services.

She is part of an excellent Career Services staff who specialize in providing instruction and counseling to students in developing job search skills. They cover everything from cover letters and resumes right up through networking and honing interview skills. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from SUNY Fredonia, Katie recently completed her Master’s in Adult Education from Buffalo State.

She is a self-proclaimed Law & Order fanatic and also indulges in Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Modern Family along with other hobbies that includes bike riding. However, she sticks to bicycles as she doesn’t categorize herself as a motorcycle person.

“A few weeks ago my parents were cleaning out there basement and wanted throw my bike out. I took home with me and rediscovered how much I love it,” she said. “I should mention I’m a bit klutzy and had a terrible record of falling off my bike as a kid. So far, so good lately, but my husband keeps threatening to buy me a helmet and elbow pads!”

Katie’s role in assisting so many students through the job search process means that she has a plethora of success stories she can share. She chose to provide us with an insight to a particularly touching story of assisting a recent graduate in earning a job in her field along with some of her favorite parts of working at Bryant & Stratton.

What is your favorite part of working here? Katie: I feel like we really make a difference in people’s lives. I know that may sound a little cheesy but I think the personal approach we take with students makes a real difference. As part of my position, I conduct exit interviews with graduates. During the interview we ask students to share their experience with the college. Not only do I hear about how proud they are and the challenges they overcame to get there, but I get to hear such great comments and stories about everyone here; how easy their admissions rep made enrollment, how helpful their FA advisors were, how supportive their academic advisor was, how knowledgeable their instructors were and so on. Most of these graduates remember their reps, advisors or instructors by name and go out of their way to tell me about them. I feel like that is pretty cool! Very often these same students tell me they didn’t have that service or experience at a prior college they attended.

Can you share one of your favorite stories related to the students you work with? Katie: One of my favorites has to be working with Mary Barron, a Paralegal graduate. Mary reached out to me after months of not having any luck finding a position in her field. She had been so proud of completing her PLEG degree later in life and was looking forward to making a change in career field. Despite that fact that she had a ton of great related work experience, she had not job searched in years and was feeling very lost. She and I worked together for several weeks on developing her resume, cover letter, LinkedIn page, and really worked to build her confidence and networking skills. She was not offered a job after her first or second interview, but she stuck with it. After each interview we talked over the phone about what went right or wrong, and she was able to look at each as a learning experience. Eventually she was offered a position working as a paralegal which she accepted and is still working in today. I especially love working with grads that are that dedicated to reaching their goals. I honestly felt like celebrating when I received the email from Mary, letting me know she was hired.

What would be one piece of advice you’d give to current or prospective BSC students? Katie: Have a clear goal and make a detailed plan to reach it early in your college experience. I hate to see students get to the end of their degree program and tell me they are just starting to think about what they want to do after graduating. Clearly defining career goals early in their program and then creating an action plan to reach those goals will help them to transition into employment in their field much easier. The most successful grads seem to be those that have a distinct vision of their career and have worked towards it throughout their degree program; volunteering, networking, preparing for certifications, and thinking about course material in terms of real world applications.

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