Saint Michael’s Boucher Center sets students up for careers
Thanks to the Henry “Bud” Boucher, Jr. ’69 Career Education Center (BCEC), Saint Michael’s students have a head start diving into their post-grad goals.
The collected data speaks for itself. In the first six months after graduation, 97% of the class of 2022 was employed, continuing their education, participating in an internship, or doing military or volunteer service.
Career Coach, Joe Speidel, explained that a presentation series created to prepare students for seeking a job – one of strategies used by the Boucher Career Education Center – helps achieve those statistics at Saint Michael’s. Speidel said the goal is also to get students connected with the career education services through the Boucher Center office to talk with the team further about topics including employment opportunities, the application process, and job interview skills.
In both the fall and spring semesters, Speidel delivers an in-depth presentation to students majoring in Psychology, Education, and Criminology, who are in their junior and senior years at Saint Michael’s. Career Education Center Director Ingrid Peterson P’21, P’22, and Career Coach Michael Ewan divide and conquer presentations with other majors as well, which include Business Administration & Accounting, Environmental Studies & Science, Biology, and the junior seminars.
Peterson said departments including Digital Media & Communications and Political Science and International Relations encourage internships to prepare students for job placement.
The Boucher Career Education Center has built partnerships across campus with faculty so that students can learn about the Center’s offerings earlier, Speidel said. Speidel, Peterson, and Ewan tailor their presentations to support the different majors and answer questions related to specific academic disciplines.
“We’re talking about internships and experiential education, and they are connecting with our office sooner than later,” Speidel said.
In the fall, Speidel focused on teaching the students about creating resumes and cover letters, job search skills, career exploration, and learning about graduate schools.
Peterson said that students get experiential learning through three primary avenues: student teaching, Psychology practicums, and internships.
Students have been selected for Psychology practicums for the academic year at the Baird School which is part of the Howard Center, Edmunds Middle School, Winooski School District, Art From the Heart which is located at UVM Medical Center and sponsored by Burlington City Arts, H.O.P.E. Works, Williston CJC, Monkton Elementary School, Turning Point, Summit Street School, The Arbors, Memory Care Allen Brook, and Amici Associates working with adults with developmental issues.
On February 22, Psychology students will participate in mock interviews with alumni such as Aidan Warhall ’11 and Aimee Upchurch ’95 at the Howard Center, Tabitha McGlynn ’06 at Washington County Mental Health, Bo Finnegan ’96 at Community College of Vermont (CCV), Nalini Cheatham ’14 at N.W. Counseling and Support Systems, Fostering Change for Children in New York, and Helen Fox ’20 at Concord Academy in Massachusetts. One of the mock interviewers, Helen Fox, is a former Saint Michael’s Psychology major who participated in the mock interviews, herself, during the practicum program and is now doing the interviews for the second year in a row as an alum. Fox now works as a Human Resources Administrator at Concord Academy in Massachusetts.
“It’s good to be out in the community,” Speidel said. “It’s good to be taking what they learn in the classroom and really applying that and seeing if they find a good match with a company or organization.”
Last month, Speidel presented to Psychology students in Instructor Melissa McDuffie’s classroom to help prepare them for interviewing. The students will all be doing virtual mock interviews with professionals who are mostly alumni of St. Mike’s.
“LinkedIn is often the way that people are going to find you whether it’s for a job or an internship,” Speidel said during the presentation and noted that Boucher Career Education Center can also help students take professional bio photos.
Speidel showed the class the Saint Michael’s alumni group on LinkedIn which has around 20,000 people. He explained how to click the alumni tab and use the search tool to find alumni in particular locations. Speidel explained that interviews should be a dialogue.
“You want to make sure that this is the kind of job that you’re interested in and the kind of culture that you’re going to fit into. It’s important to have those questions ready,” Speidel said. “Remember, you’re interviewing them as well.”
Watch a video of the Boucher Career Education Center open house on Feb. 7, 2024, created by Sophie Burt ’26