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LHU News

Alumni Offer Professional Advice to Students During Commonwealth University’s Career Intensive Boot Camp

Career Intensive Boot CampPhoto: (L to R) Alumni, Rachael Snodgrass (BU '19), Sydney Miller (LHU '19), Marsha Kaiser (LHU '76), Georgina Bennett (LHU '19), and Mark Ewing (MU '09), participate in alumni panel during Career Intensive Boot Camp.

Commonwealth University (CU) recently hosted a Career Intensive Boot Camp from Feb. 9-11 at The Greenly Center in Downtown Bloomsburg. The event brought together students and alumni leaders for a transformative experience aimed at jumpstarting students’ careers and fostering personal growth.

The sessions, virtual and in-person, provided a heavy focus on equipping students with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the ever-evolving professional landscape and included more than 72 alumni from CU-Bloomsburg, Lock Haven and Mansfield, including Lock Haven alumni:

  • Marsha Kaiser ’76 (Area Manager, Parsons Brinckerhoff)
  • Greg MacGowan ’89 (Technical Writer, Optum)
  • Kristin Parson ’90 (7th and 8th Grade Teacher, Springer Middle School)
  • Debbie Donlick ’90 (Human Resource Manager of North America Energy, Valmet)
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick ’95 (IT Manager, Rothman Orthopedics)
  • Deb Chiapelli ’95 (4th Grade Teacher, Everett Area School District)
  • Don Calcagni ’98 (Chief Investment Officer, Mercer Advisors)
  • Jennifer Keaton ’98 (Director of Communications, Broadband Communications)
  • Georgina Bennett ’19 (Department Manager – Operations, Barnes & Noble College at Rider
  • University)
  • Sydney Miller ’20 (Associate, Ridge Policy Group)

The boot camp commenced with a vibrant kickoff on Friday evening. Participants engaged in team-building activities and personal branding exercises, setting the tone for an immersive weekend ahead.

Saturday morning included a series of engaging sessions and panel discussions. Alumni panels debunked the myths surrounding traditional career paths; delved into diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) in the workplace; and explored strategies for maintaining work-life balance in hybrid and virtual environments. A keynote panel featuring distinguished speakers set the stage for insightful conversations on career strategies.

Participants then embarked on rotating quick chats, covering essential topics such as resume and cover letter review, job search techniques and mastering the art of interviews. The day concluded with open networking opportunities and guided reflections to prepare for the upcoming sessions.

The momentum carried into Sunday as participants engaged in a dynamic lineup of activities. Alumni panels inspired attendees to carve their own paths, while rotating sessions provided practical insights into virtual and in-person interviews, as well as considerations for gap year experiences and graduate or professional school pursuits.

A networking lunch provided a platform for meaningful connections with professionals, complemented by rotating quick chats focusing on student loan repayment, financial literacy and salary negotiation.

“I wish I knew then what I know now, but that’s impossible,” said 1998 Lock Haven graduate Don Calcagni to students in attendance. “Don’t be in such a rush to get mortgages and pay taxes. Build a great foundation, learn all you can and experience the world.”

The boot camp culminated in certificate delivery to students and closing remarks from alumni and university leaders, leaving students empowered and ready to embark on their professional journeys.

With its diverse array of sessions and interactive activities, the Career Intensive Boot Camp offered a holistic approach to career development, equipping attendees with the tools and confidence needed to thrive in today's competitive job market.

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