Career Services has undergone numerous changes this semester. On top of its move to Eldrige Hall, two employees have retired and a new employee has joined the team.
Janine Desgres is the new assistant director of the Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) as well as the coordinator of Career Services.
Her first day on the job was Monday, April 2. Desgres is also the first external hire into CSSE, which means she, unlike the other professionals working in CSSE, did not work at the College until she was hired into her current role.
“I have experience in work force development,” she said. “I try to find different approaches to career counseling by modernizing the search and by focusing on social media, the ways to utilize it effectively, and how to find networking opportunities and connections.”
Her previous occupation was at Holyoke Community College as a career councilor and an adjunct instructor for career planning and job search strategies, she said.
As an external hire, she brings with her outside experience to help add to the positive changes occurring on campus, she said.
“I love working with students,” Desgres said. “I enjoy helping them search for jobs and figuring out what they want to do; what their interests and skills are. I also strive to make my workshops fun and interactive so students can truly walk away with something.”
The search for the new position began in February; Susan Bailey retired in December and Sharon Zavattaro retired three weeks ago, according to Deb Foss, Assistant Dean of Advising and Director of CSSE.
“Their retirement presented a wonderful opportunity to welcome someone new into the CSSE program,” Foss said. “We are currently in the process of reevaluating our staffing needs. We are uncertain if we need another staff position in CSSE at this time and what specific duties this person would hold.”
Foss said the search for the new position was the second fastest she has ever been part of. The position was posted in early February, phone interviews began at the end of February, and applicants visited the campus for interviews shortly after.
“We had three candidates come to MCLA for an interview,” Foss said. “But it was unanimous across the search committee to bring in Janine Desgres. She was the best match.”
Eldridge Hall now houses Advising Services, Learning Services, Career Services, and the Center for Student Success and Engagement. CSSE is the primary academic support center on campus, Foss said. It is a resource for advising, academic support, tutoring, and it is an academic home for undeclared students.
“It is perfect to have everyone under the same roof,” Foss said. “We are working on turning parts of this space into student centered areas.”
Foss said the difference between Desgres and other candidates was how prepared she came to the interview.
“Desgres had done her homework, which just predicts how well someone is going to fit into the position,” Foss said.
Desgres said she feels like MCLA is a good fit for her and the way she approaches her field.
“It’s great to have found my professional home,” she said.
The department would like to encourage seniors to access the senior ePortfolio page on the website in order to virtually meet Desgres, along with stopping by the department for any support and advising.