Start Strong Down Your Career Path

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Anneke Mason, Associate Director of Career Pathways

What do you do as an associate director of career pathways? 

I focus on a few different areas: one being early exploration opportunities for students in their first and second years, to help bring awareness to what students can be doing early on to give themselves the strongest start possible.

My other focus is building career-related supports, programs, and resources for first-generation and economically vulnerable students on campus. I always have been passionate about educational access and equity, which I think naturally leads to conversations around information and access to career choices.

This becomes especially obvious when you start to talk about things like the importance of internships; you have to have the access and equity conversation right alongside it. We ask questions like: Who does or doesn’t have the ability to take an unpaid internship or an internship in a city with a high cost of living? What resources exist for exploring the bevy of opportunities that are available to a Denison student, and how could that process be made clearer or more accessible?

Often, people tend to think about their career as this separate thing that happens after college, but building skills and fluency with respect to the world of work starts early on in a student’s experience on the Hill. It’s incredibly important to me that everyone has the resources, information, and support to make the best choices for themselves based on their interests, skills, and goals. 

Do you have any major visions or goals for next year? 

I think in a role like mine, listening is paramount, so I am eager to get to hear the experiences of Denison students and alumni and get a sense of their lived experiences when it comes to their career journey and how they are navigating those first few steps after Denison. I see my role as being an information gatherer, speaking with as many students, alumni, faculty, and staff as possible. What is going well? What are the places where there are gaps? What aspects of Denison students’ experiences aren’t being accounted for or recognized with respect to career resources and programming on campus? And how do we start to think about solutions given the resources we have? 

What do you most enjoy about your work? 

Building relationships with students and celebrating the hundreds of small wins that happen when you’re working alongside someone as they start to explore and pursue different opportunities. I love getting an email or a drop-in from a student letting me know that they accomplished a goal — that could be as big as getting an internship or job, or as small as sending a networking email they were intimidated to send. Sharing those moments with students is incredibly special to me, and I am eager for everyone to get here so I can start being a part of that!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time? 

Right now, gardening! I love watching things grow and being able to see and enjoy the product of all that hard work, whether it’s a bouquet of flowers or eating salsa made entirely out of ingredients from your garden. On the other end of the spectrum, I am also a pretty big Netflix junkie. In the heavy rotation right now is GLOW, Great British Bakeoff, The Good Place, Better Call Saul, Terrace House and Peaky Blinders.

What is your favorite part about working at Denison?

It is already abundantly clear to me that this is a community that cares deeply about one another. I went to my first student and alumni event last night, and seeing the immediate connections being made based on the shared experience of being a member of the Denison community was a great thing to witness and be a part of.   

What should students know about you?

The most important thing to me is just knowing that I’m in your corner. Just like everything in life, career exploration, networking, job searching, resume writing, interviewing, it’s all something that you have to learn, and you get better over time. There are no stupid questions, venturing out into new territory is always going to be a little scary, and there will be hiccups, detours, and challenges along the way — but I’m here for you and have your back! I am excited to meet you.

Can you describe your professional background before coming to Denison?

I graduated from Kenyon College with a major in economics. I always knew that a small liberal arts school was where I wanted to be; community and being able to dive into a campus fully were really important to me. As a student, I was pretty involved (Greek life, orientation leader, community service, musical groups, etc.).

After graduating from Kenyon, I taught high school math for several years in the Baltimore City Public Schools. I loved teaching, but realized that the moments I most valued were the one-on-one conversations with students about things bigger than the geometry curriculum, so I started to look more deeply into higher education roles.

After earning my master’s in Higher Education & Student Affairs from Ohio State, I worked at Wittenberg, where I focused on providing programming and advising targeted towards first-year transition success, and then returned to Kenyon, where I served as associate director for employer relations. I worked closely building relationships with employers and recruiters, championing Kenyon students and the value of the liberal arts education in the world of work. 

Posted Date 
Friday, August 10, 2018

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