iSchool course introduces students to career pathways

iSchool undergraduates have the opportunity to explore various career pathways and meet potential employers through a unique course, IS 200 CE: Career Exploration and Development (formerly IS 199 EE: iSchool Explore, Engage, Develop). This one-credit course focuses on professional development and career exploration by connecting students with industry representatives, alumni, current students, faculty, and staff. It provides an opportunity for students to build a professional network and teaches them the skills to do so through course assignments, informal interview and career fair presentations, and other professional workshops.

"The course is designed not only to help students better understand the many pathways available to them in the information sciences but also to connect their skills, interests, and values with certain career paths," said instructor Rebecca Hodson, assistant director of career services at the iSchool. "One of the learning outcomes is for students to be internship and career ready, in order to be more successful."

In the Spring 2023 semester, presenters from companies such as AbbVie, Eli Lilly and Company, and Wayfair spoke to students about undergraduate and post-graduate career opportunities, trends within the field, company projects, and more. Students also met with field experts: user interface/user experience (UI/UX) professional Lisa Bethard discussed skills and career paths in the field, and multimedia producer, journalist and iSchool doctoral student Jack Brighton shared the history of analog, digital preservation of media, and ethical impact of technology on the field of journalism and news media.

IS 200 Students
Students tour the Research Park with instructor Rebecca Hodson.

For the last class of the semester, students toured State Farm and John Deere facilities at the University of Illinois Research Park. They learned about summer and fall student employment opportunities, company benefits, and projects. Speakers talked about how they utilize information science students, connecting them with subject experts who make technological advances in agricultural equipment—such as using machine learning tools and image scanning to improve crop growth and limit the environmental impacts of pesticides. 

This fall, IS 200 CE will include two eight-week sessions with different areas of focus. Recruiters will be invited to speak to the class and recruit for their companies during career fair season. Topics offered in the Spring 2024 semester will include IS 200 BE: Business Essentials for Information Professionals.

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