Career Education’s Laura Neville: Each person, experience has value

Job highlights for staff coach include helping students and alumni explore their own path, working with employers and faculty

January 29, 2021
Faculty/staff report

Laura Neville, who joined the Career Education Team three years ago, says her own career path has been driven by exploration.

Laura Neville

Laura Neville, Career Education Coach

After majoring in Education Studies in college because of its interdisciplinary nature, Neville went on to work with students with learning differences and teach environmental education, and English as a second language; she also lived in Argentina and Spain, studying applied linguistics. “There was even a brief detour into designing and building stained glass,” she says.

Neville emphasizes taking advantage of every opportunity, especially those available at Saint Mike’s. Whether it’s doing an academic internship, being a student employee, or volunteering with other members of the community,  she encourages clients to “See value in every person and every experience and you’ll always learn something,” adding, “One of the most rewarding parts of my job now is helping the students and alumni I work with identify what sets them apart and communicate that effectively.”

Laura prioritizes communication as a career skill. “Learning how to express yourself clearly in writing and in person will serve you no matter what you pursue,” she says. “That’s part of the value of Saint Mike’s and a liberal arts education, no matter what their major is. Students here practice their communication skills on a daily basis, whether it’s writing an essay for class, giving a presentation at a club meeting, or engaging in challenging conversations.”

A large part of Neville’s work is having individual career appointments with students and alumni. She also enjoys running workshops for classes and student groups, and collaborating with faculty, alumni, and employers to create career events and opportunities. Neville says being part of a team with her co-workers Ingrid Peterson, and Tim Birmingham, is an essential part of what she does and makes her look forward to the day. “I can always go to them for feedback and support. And we have fun, which is important, now more than ever,” she says.  “I also think it’s good for students and alumni to know that even if you primarily work with one of us, you have our whole team as a resource and we’re working together on your behalf.”

“A current challenge in career coaching is that it can be hard for students and alumni who are searching for opportunities to keep their motivation, especially when they have so much else on their plate” Neville says. “It can feel difficult to write a cover letter when you’re worried about your family or your grades. So my goal is to be positive, and help them re-engage their curiosity so they can take a step forward.”

Neville says the Career Education Center “is always here as a resource no matter where you’re starting from or where you’re headed. You can make an appointment with any of the Career Coaches through Handshake.”

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