Career Chats: Liberal Arts at Work

Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts alumni and current undergraduate students gathered in Roski Dining Room on Feb. 7, to mingle and talk shop at BCLA Career Chats. The annual networking event, now in its fourth year and co-hosted by BCLA and Career and Professional Development, is a way for alumni to share their professional experiences with students.

Alumni enjoying rewarding careers in diverse industries such as social sciences, non-profits, the public sector, law, sales, digital media, entertainment and corporate citizenship demonstrated the wide range of opportunities available to liberal arts majors.

Tamika Lang, English ’01, is the global corporate citizenship western region manager for Boeing. She spoke and encouraged students to take just five minutes a day to work on professional development by checking in on their goals or identifying a skill they’d like to develop.

Kenneth Chancey, Political Science and Government ’15, is the legislative deputy for the Office of Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson. He inspired the room with his journey from homeless to LMU graduate to a burgeoning career in politics. Having no other choice but to find a job immediately after graduation, he credited all of the resources available to LMU students for making it an easy transition from college to career.

Stephanie Ocampo, English ’04, is the deputy social media director at BuzzFeed. She thought she wanted to be a lawyer, but found happiness as a creative working in entertainment. She urged students to trust their gut instinct and mentioned several times that her writing skills have been the foundation for all of her career success.

Students left the event optimistic about the career options available to them and Kelly Younger, English ’94, an LMU English professor and award-winning playwright currently working on a project at Disney, reminds us that degrees in the liberal arts are far more diverse and attractive than we usually assume. “‘What are you going to do with that?’ Liberal Arts students get asked this question probably more often than any other, and it’s unfair. We should be asking this generation, ‘Who are you going to become? How are you going to make a positive and meaningful impact? Why are your studies important to you and to the world?’ Career Chats is an opportunity for our students to ask alumni these kinds of questions, and to learn how their LMU education prepared them for careers with purpose so the next time they are asked ‘What are you going to do with that?’ they will respond, ‘Wait and see,'” he says.