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Changes at Toppel Career Center

Screen shot of http://twitter.com/toppel

By Kelsey Pinault // Contributing News Writer

Most students use Twitter to keep tabs on their favorite celebrities. But now students can use the Web site to keep up with programs offering help for their future careers by simply clicking to “follow” the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center.

Although many students know about Toppel and at least have an idea about what it does, its new director, Christian Garcia, is using modern means to connect students to Toppel even more. At the beginning of the school year, Garcia brought Toppel online with a YouTube channel showing informative videos about the center as well as a Facebook page.

“I wanted to build on all the great things we’ve done as a department while experimenting with new programs and ideas,” Garcia said.

Formerly an associate director of Toppel, Garcia had a good idea of what he wanted to bring to the table for the career center. Having previously worked to connect with representatives of different industries and businesses, Garcia now oversees all of Toppel and its staff.

It seems that students are taking notice of these changes.

“I went to the Career Expo last February and got an interview, but this year I realized there’s a lot more that Toppel does to help students and that it’s the best place to go to be set up with the right people to find a job,” senior Kyle Blanton said.

Garcia is also trying to show students how Toppel is not simply for the traditional business major, but it also connects all types of students to a variety of jobs.

“For example, we have a event coming up to show what’s out there for careers in the culinary industry and what it’s all about because, although we don’t have a culinary school at the university, students are still interested,” Garcia said.

The “All Things Food: Careers in the Culinary Industry” program is scheduled for April 6.

Other spring events also reflect Toppel’s new goals. For the first time, thanks to Garcia, on March 1, Toppel is having an event spotlighting careers that are “off the beaten path,” perfect for students who don’t think they fit with the nine-to-five cubicle job description.

One tradition Toppel has started that Garcia plans to carry on is the well-known Career Expo. With this year’s main event just a little over a week away, on Feb. 25, the director anticipates another strong turn out even with the economic conditions.

“Obviously, hiring is down which affects the number of companies who register, but we do expect to have close to 100 companies,” Garcia said.

To get even more buzz about the event, Garcia has planned another for the night before: a “Reverse Career Fair” in which student organizations will get to switch sides with the business recruiters, letting the prospective bosses approach them in an effort to get to know the group better and create connections for the future.

“I think the Reverse Career Fair sounds interesting because it helps calm students’ nerves when they don’t have to walk around to all the different business tables,” said Brittany Pirie, a sophomore at the university who has already visited Toppel twice for help with her resume.

With a new director on top, Toppel may have made some changes, but its overall purpose is clear.

“Whether a student has no clue what to major in or knows exactly what he wants to do, we are here to help guide them along the way,” Garcia said. “We can explore careers and other pertinent information, but the decision will always be the student’s.”

Kelsey Pinault may be contacted at kpinault@themiamihurricane.com.

INFO BOX:
What: Toppel Career Center
Where: 1306 Stanford Dr (Stanford Circle behind the C-Store)
When: Open Monday-Friday 8:30-5:00 p.m.
Who: Center Phone Number – (305) 284-5451. Christian Garcia- (305) 284-5451 christian@miami.edu
www.miami.edu/toppel

February 17, 2010

Reporters

Kelsey Pinault


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