Experiential Learning & Career Development Center
1817 Linden Street
8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Other hours by appointment
Telephone: (610) 921-7630
Fax: (610) 921-7635
Experiential Learning and Career Development Center
P.O. Box 15234
Reading, PA 19612-5234
Connect With Us:
The Albright College Experiential Learning and Career Development Center offers a variety of services for students, alumni and employers. The Center assists students in exploring majors, careers, and experiential learning opportunities that enhance Albright’s core learning goal of “engaging the world.” Experiential learning is a “hands-on” approach to education that is personally relevant and connected to students’ academic learning objectives. Albright College students participate in experiences such as internships, study abroad/off campus, service learning, and undergraduate research. The career development process helps students make meaning from their experiences and education, leading to greater personal satisfaction and professional success. The Center also collaborates with employers and community organizations to provide internship, service learning and employment opportunities.
Our Services Include:
Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning and Director of Career Development
Karen began her career at Albright College in early 2003 as the Assistant Director, was promoted to director in 2007 and Assistant Dean of Experiential Learning in 2010. Her background is in career development, human resources, and training and development. She received her B.A. in psychology from Catawba College in Salisbury, NC. After focusing on graduate programs in higher education counseling and organizational development, she received her Master of Leadership Development from The Pennsylvania State University. Karen loves working with students, enabling them to see their life as a big picture with experiences such as internships, studying abroad, service, and research that add the color bringing the picture into focus.
Director of Experiential Learning
Kim came to Albright in 2006 to launch the Center for Experiential Learning and Research, which has combined with the Career Development center to be known as the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center. After graduating with a B.S. in Applied Learning and Development from The University of Texas-Austin she taught, lived and traveled abroad for several years. She then made the move to higher education and worked at UT-Austin and Kutztown University before coming to Albright. Kim’s passion is travel and she has traveled throughout Asia, Australia, Micronesia and Latin America. While she is a bit more homebound these days with two young children she loves to go abroad vicariously through Albright students. Kim works with students to find experiential learning opportunities to enhance their coursework.
Laura B.C. Kline, ’99
Assistant Director of Career Development
Laura began her life at Albright College as an Alpha student, switching to Child and Family Studies in her sophomore year. She credits her personal experience as an Alpha student, struggling to find career direction, to her profession in career counseling. Laura returned to her alma mater in 2007 as a career counselor after working as an academic advisor/counselor with undeclared students at Shippensburg University and The Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg campus. She received her M.S. in Counseling from Shippensburg University and holds the professional designation of National Certified Counselor (NCC). Laura loves working with students in all aspects of their career development, but especially enjoys her continued work with Alpha students.
Employer Recruiting Coordinator/Administrative Assistant Emeritus
Cindy Becker, a long time resident of Reading, has gone from 13th and Union Elementary School to Northeast Junior High and Reading High School all on 13th Street. Cindy is in her 38th year of employment at Albright. In 1997, Cindy joined the Career Development Center staff (now Experiential Learning and Career Development Center) where she is currently employed as the Administrative Assistant and Employer Recruiting Coordinator. She is the primary contact for employers and graduate schools in planning our fairs and the On Campus Recruiting Program. Cindy has provided leadership to the campus community through serving on the Support Staff Steering Committee, Garden Party Committee, Affirmative Action Committee, Diversity Initiative Task Force, Pride Committee and the Fund for Albright Committee. Cindy’s three children and daughter-in-law are all Alumni of Albright College. Cindy loves to travel and has travelled extensively throughout Europe.
Karen has served Albright as a Graduate Intern in the Career Development Center and Center for Experiential Learning and Research. After a year away, she has returned to the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center as a Career Counselor. A two time graduate of Kutztown University, Karen holds a B.S.Ed in Secondary Education/History and an M.Ed in Student Affairs in Higher Education-Administration. Karen enjoys working with students in all aspects of career development, as well as finding new ways to share what is going on within the Center through social media. She is the primary contact for students in individual counseling appointments and workshop delivery.
Sophia Schuster ’12 Environmental Studies and Political Science
I was sitting in Dr. Osgood’s “Latin American Environmental Issues” class when a representative from the School for Field studies came in to discuss some of its programs. She went through slide after slide, displaying beautiful pictures from around the world—Kenya, Turks and Caicos, Australia, and Bhutan. Wait, Bhutan? What on earth is a Bhutan? I prided myself on being a well-rounded, culturally aware young woman, and I had never heard of this place. And the images reaching out from her slides were as if from an oriental dream. I was engrossed immediately and spent the duration of the next week investigating Bhutan. If you look it up, you find that it is the last standing Buddhist empire in the entire world whose government measured the country’s success on GNH, or Gross National Happiness, as opposed to the common, Western valuation of Gross Domestic Product. It uses the Bhutanese ngultrum and the people speak Dzongkha.
Six months later, I found myself on a plane with 16 other students, none of whom came from Albright or Pennsylvania for that matter. Kuzu zangpo (that means “hello”), Bhutan! While I had participated in travel programs and research projects, and gone abroad with my parents as well, this was the first time that I was ever truly alone, not knowing anybody but myself. The fact that we were all in the same position, however, provided a great comfort, and enabled us to establish friendships quickly. My study group, which consisted of four other individuals, assessed the local environmental impacts of small-scale hydroelectric dam systems. Others evaluated the social consequences of the dam systems, the common issue of public health in the developing world and specific problems faced by the average Bhutanese family, as well as the effects of deforestation on the local environment and economy. To be honest, though, the more time I spent there, the more I realized that studying and the academic rigor of the program was just a minute part of the overall experience.
I do not remember the exact scientific method and procedure that I used for my specific part of the research project. I do remember sitting around a campfire and discussing the values of democracy and how Bhutan was faring in its recent transition from a constitutional monarchy. I remember meandering around the capital city of Thimphu, prayer flags in hand, and getting fitted for a kira; hiking to the Taktshang Monastery, or Tiger’s Nest, located on the cliff, 900 meters high, to which Guru Rinpoche rode on a tiger’s back to bring Buddhism to the people of Bhutan; getting a treasured locket blessed by a Buddhist lama. At the conclusion of the trip, I was so excited to be going home, but I could not help but cry because this experience had opened a window in me, one that I would constantly look through to guess at my next adventure. Seven weeks. That’s all it took for me. I had always wanted to see the world. After this trip, however, I finally realized the difference between sight and experience. The first entailed several albums worth of pictures, the latter just memories to which no photo could do justice.
Travel is an addiction, and of all the addictions in this world, it is one that we should truly embrace. It was this addiction that took me to Hungary for a year and a half to teach English as a foreign language. Talk about alone! I was the only native English speaker and it took forever for me to break into the inner Hungarian circle, even with my Hungarian heritage. But. I would never trade a second of it—not the homesickness or the days that I just wanted a freaking jar of peanut butter. I’ll keep all of it with me forever because those points of weakness provide the greatest source of strength and confidence in the long run. So, my advice to you? Save the money, buy the ticket, open your eyes and your heart for that matter! For goodness sake, make like Frodo Baggins and get out of your comfort zone. You won’t regret it. And, luckily, when you’re at Albright College, you’ll always have a support system to help you get there.
Kaitlin Irwin ‘13
Studying abroad always seemed as if it were reserved for students who had money. Sure, it’d be great to travel to another country, a dream; but my financial situation just didn’t support that dream.
That mindset was totally altered when I learned about the ELCDC at Albright, where I was exposed to all of the possibilities for students who want to broaden their horizons in faraway places. I got to work on scholarship applications, and fortunately, one granted me a decent sum to allow me to study in Barcelona, Spain. And that’s where I caught a bug.
A travel bug, that is! I drank up the culture of Barcelona and only wanted more. Here I was, in a foreign city, studying a language I’ve come to love, and art that inspired and intrigued me. Not only that, but I was learning more about myself each day, meeting new people, and developing new perspectives. Upon my return to Albright, I sought out opportunities to share my experience and learn from others in my own community. I began volunteering in an ESL group in Reading, and sharing stories of my experiences while tutoring Spanish at Albright. I found that I was really enjoying this kind of work. I think Albright’s liberal arts and interdisciplinary curriculum greatly contributed to the way I began to address different circumstances. I studied subjects and themes that I had previously never even considered, but which proved to be interesting and fundamental in developing a manner of thinking.
I soon learned about an Albright class in Ecuador. I had to take out a loan for this one, but everyone around me knew that this would be a worthy investment, and it was! It was something new and different, and I fell in love once again, so much so, that I spoke with the English department about English-teaching jobs. Three months and a TESOL-certification course later, I was hired as an English teacher in Ecuador. At that moment, I thought to myself, Wait, when did all of this even happen?
I still ask myself that question, long after I’ve received my diploma from Albright. How did I go from immediately planning to transfer to the art college of my dreams to writing a thesis on architecture in Spanish at Albright? Not sure about that one, but I do know that I probably would not have travelled abroad, dared to explore all of my interests, and I almost certainly would not be teaching English in a foreign country (and be loving it) if I hadn’t stayed at Albright.
Kathryn Biehl ‘11
May 23, 2011, I was scared out of my mind. It was the day after my Albright graduation. The tassels had been turned, the speeches shared, the excitement had died down, and I had been left somewhere between the alma mater I love and my scary, unknown future. Now, I have to admit, I was a lucky one. I had a plan. After working with my advisors, mentors, and the Career Center during my senior year, I had successful gain admittance to Villanova University and was set to matriculate into their Masters of Communication Program and serve as a Graduate Assistant (department intern) in the Fall.
But between my last day at Albright and my first day at Villanova there was a LONG summer of waiting and thinking (which if you know me is extremely dangerous). I wondered, did I make the right choice? Could I handle Graduate School? Will having my Masters (and all the experiences that go along with getting it) help me to reach my goals? Would Villanova be the right place for me?
So needless to say, I panicked all summer, and anxiously went to my Orientation at Villanova hoping to find all of the answers to these burning questions. When I arrived, much to my surprise, I found out that I was not only prepared academically, but prepared professionally, to take on the challenges that my program and assistantship would present me with. And I have the strong foundation in campus leadership and experiential learning that I received at Albright to thank for that.
During my time at Albright I was blessed with a number of opportunities that enhanced by abilities to learn and grow as a Communications professional. My time management, organizational, communication, and leadership skills were all put to the test on a daily based in my roles of S.G.A. President, Vice President of Phi Mu sorority, a member of the POPS Steering Committee, and as a Resident Assistant. I gain valuable experience in the fields of Public Relations and Advertising, by being a part of AC2, working as the Campus Center Desk Managers, being an Admissions Ambassador/ FACE, and partnering with multiple campus organizations to build awareness for campus initiatives and events (i.e. S.G.A. Concert, Food Services outsourcing forums, etc.).
These Albright experiences, along with several others, prepared me for the challenges I have met in the last year. Since I graduate last Spring I have planned successful events for Villanova University in New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. Because of my work as a Graduate Assistant in Communication, I was asked to work in the Villanova University Alumni Associate to help coordinate events, public relations efforts, and help organize Reunion Weekend and the 60+ student volunteers working the events. And in April, I accepted my greatest challenge to date, working as an intern at Gregory FCA Communication, Philadelphia’s largest PR Agency (as deemed by Philadelphia Business Journal).
From writing a press release, to pitching to a national media outlet, to employing proper business etiquette, I can trace back all of these abilities to my history of experiential learning at Albright College. And it is because of this that I greatly urge all my fellow Albrightians to take advantage of the opportunities provided by the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center. Whether it is attending a workshop, participating in a mock interview, or mingling at an event with alumni, each and every one of these opportunities will provide you with the knowledge you will need to successful navigate the world beyond 13th Street. So in closing, I would say the best tips I can offer you as a student are to eat lots of WaWa, enjoy the view from an Adirondack chair, play volleyball in the mud, and become a frequent guest at the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center. Because, even if you don’t want to believe it, your days at Albright will end, but Albright’s ability help you achieve a better future, NEVER will.
Just Give Us the Who, What, Where & When and We Will Come to You!
Imagine having The Experiential Learning and Career Development Center deliver a workshop on one of over 10 topics to your student organization, residence hall, class, club, chapter, team, group or department!
Imagine no more! The Experiential Learning and Career Development Center is proud to offer Workshops on Wheels, an exciting new (and free) way for your organization or group to provide a valuable experiential learning and career-related service in the comfort of your own residence hall, weekly meeting room, classroom, or (just about) anywhere else.
Still interested? Excellent. In about as much time as it takes you to order a pepperoni pizza, you can order a workshop, and you could be the hero of your organization!
How It Works: Steps for Ordering A Workshop
Step 1: Select a workshop from our list.
Step 2: Complete the online order form.
Step 3: Confirm workshop goals, customization requirements and logistics (time, date, location) with
one of our career counselors who will contact you upon receipt of the online order form.
Step 4: Reserve location and confirm with the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center.
Step 5: Advertise, advertise, advertise and send reminders, too.
Step 6: Have a great workshop!
Step 7: Tell others about Workshops on Wheels and schedule another workshop!
Need a Place to Hold Your Workshop?
Consider these options:
- Residence Hall Lounges
- Campus Center
- Reserving space at a local establishment (i.e., coffee shop – we drink coffee, too!)
- Introduction to the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center: So Many Options, So Many Services
- What is Experiential Learning and Why Should I Care?
- From Alpha to Major in 60 Seconds (or More): Choosing Your Major
- Resume 101
- What’s a Cover Letter?
- How to Find the Perfect Internship or Job?
- Job Fair Preparation: What to Do and What NOT to Do
- Interviewing Skills: Blue or Black Suit and So Much More
- Mock Interviewing: Practice Makes Perfect
- Networking (and We Don’t Mean on Facebook)
- 10 Things Employers Want Most
- Is Graduate School for Me? How to Determine the Right Program, Get Through the Application Process and Write a Personal Statement Without Freaking Out!
- Study Abroad: Can I Afford I? Where Can I Go? How Can I Make It Work With My Major?
- From Study Abroad to Career: How to Sell Your Experience to Employers and Graduate/Professional Schools.
Didn’t Find What You Are Looking For? Work with a Career Counselor to Design a Workshop to Fit Your Needs
Still have questions? Call us to find out more at 610-921-7630 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When should students visit the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center?
- Why should a student who has decided on a major need to use the Center?
- How does the Center help students who are undecided about their major?
- Is it common for students to start out knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives but then become uncertain or consider a completely different direction?
- What majors, co-majors and special programs are offered at Albright College?
- What is the Honors Program and who is eligible?
- Who Can Study Abroad/Off Campus?
- Will I be able to afford to study abroad/off campus?
- When can I study abroad/off campus?
- How can I find on-campus employment opportunities?
- How can I find off-campus part-time employment, internships or full time job opportunities?
- What assistance does the Center provide for applying to graduate school?
- What is an ACRE?
- What is Purple Briefcase?
When should students visit the Experiential Learning and Career Development Center?
Students can utilize the Center at any time during their academic career and as alumni of Albright. Students are encouraged to begin working with us in their first year.
According to the National Association of College and Employers 2010 Student Survey, “the likelihood of a student getting a job offer increased with the frequency of career center use. Students who used the career center four or more times a semester were more likely to have job offers than those who used it once a semester.” It all begins with choosing/confirming a choice of major, developing a plan for experiential learning opportunities and being able to articulate your skills and experience both on a resume and in person.
Why should a student who has decided on a major need to use the Center?
Many students begin college confident in their choice of a major. In any major, there are a number of career paths that a student can take depending on their interests and abilities. Shadowing, networking, gaining “hands-on” experience through an internship, study abroad, and/or undergraduate research project can help students to develop skills that are valued by employers and to gain real world experience that can clarify or solidify the direction of their career. The Center is a valuable resource for finding such “experiential education” opportunities, and for providing access to alumni and employers. Also, as noted in the answer to question 2, research shows that “the likelihood of a student getting a job offer increased with the frequency of career center use. Students who used the career center four or more times a semester were more likely to have job offers than those who used it once a semester.”
How does the Center help students who are undecided about their major?
As an incoming Alpha (undecided) first year student or a sophomore who is re-exploring their initial major direction, we can help. The Center offers several self-assessments in consultation with a career counselor who will help the student to define their interests, values, skills, personal characteristics and what concentration and career options may be a good match. We also offer Alpha 101, an eight week, one-hour series of workshops that will enable Alpha students to explore their motivation to learn, their interests, and values within the liberal arts context. Interwoven within the exploratory series will be an introduction to Albright’s majors and programs. SPI 125 – Career Decision Making is offered in the spring to assist Alpha and other students in the selection or confirmation of an appropriate major through the integration of personal awareness or self-knowledge and research career options. Decision-making strategies, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing skills, and internship/job search techniques will be reviewed.
Is it common for students to start out knowing exactly what they want to do with their lives but then become uncertain or consider a completely different direction?
Many college students struggle with the decision about their college major and are unsure of their choice, even if they have selected a college major. Approximately eighty percent of all entering students change their concentration (major) at least once during their college career. Albright wants to emphasize that it’s fine for students to enter college without a clear idea of which academic program they wish to pursue and what their ultimate career will be. Being “undeclared” or “undecided” isn’t a cause for panic! The opportunity for academic exploration is a unique life opportunity, and it is central to the educational experience at a liberal arts college like Albright.
What majors, co-majors and special programs are offered at Albright College?
Go to the Albright Undergraduate Programs page for more information.
What is the Honors Program and who is eligible?
For more information about the Honors Program at Albright, please visit this page
Who Can Study Abroad/Off Campus?
No matter what your major, you CAN study abroad/off campus. Our staff will work with you to find the best location and program for you. It is possible to take courses in English through a program provider in a non-English speaking country. There are also many domestic programs available right here in the United States, including the Washington Center, the Philadelphia Center, and the National Theatre Institute. Students interested in studying abroad must be in good academic standing, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 / 4.0, in good financial standing and in good social standing. For more information on planning a study abroad experience visit this page.
Will I be able to afford to study abroad/off campus?
When you study off-campus, you only pay the price of that particular abroad program. There are no extra fees from Albright. Occasionally, students end up paying less than they do at Albright! Albright scholarships, such as the Presidential, Founders and talent scholarships, cannot be used for off-campus study. However, Stafford loans, Perkins loans, State grants and most privately funded scholarships may be used. Many Albright affiliates offer additional scholarships for which Albright students can apply, and there are other opportunities, including the Gilman Scholarship (for students receiving a Pell Grant) which we can discuss with you when you make an appointment to talk with our staff. For information about additional scholarships and paying for your study abroad experiences visit this page.
When can I study abroad/off campus?
Students wishing to study abroad or off-campus in a domestic program may do so upon completion of two full-time semesters at Albright. This means students may study abroad as early as the summer between the first and second year at Albright. Most Albright College students study abroad during their sophomore or junior year. Seniors may study abroad during their fall semester only with permission from the Registrar’s Office.
How can I find on-campus employment opportunities?
All on-campus employment is handled by Albright College Human Resources. Student employment opportunities can be found on this page or by contacting the department directly.
How can I find off-campus part-time employment, internships or full time job opportunities?
The Center offers students and alumni various online resources in addition to individual career counseling to discuss specific strategies based on your needs. Please view the Internship Opportunities page for more information or contact us to schedule an individual appointment. In addition to job/internship postings, we are committed to facilitating on-campus recruitment (held October/November and March/April), job/internship fairs (February/March) and preparing students for the best job search possible through workshops, online/resource library information and individual appointments.
What assistance does the Center provide for applying to graduate school?
Our career counselors can assist you in finding the right graduate/professional school, defining criteria to assess programs, developing your personal statement as well as provide information about various admission exams such as the LSAT or GRE. We also host a graduate/professional school fair each fall where students will have an opportunity to meet with admission counselors from graduate/professional schools in various disciplines.
What is an ACRE?
The Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) is an interdisciplinary program that enables students to conduct research or creative activity in partnership with nurturing faculty mentors during the summer or over the interim session in January. All students are invited to submit an ACRE application. A committee of faculty members reviews the proposals and recommends awards. Participants receive a stipend and free room and board during the summer or January interim. Students and faculty from all disciplines meet each week to share their experiences and learn from each other. Many collaborative teams of students and faculty present their research at academic conferences and publish their results in professional journals.
What is Purple Briefcase?
Purple Briefcase is an online system that allows you to post your resume, view and apply to part and full-time job and internship listings, and connect with professionals through the Mentor database. Be sure to complete and keep your Profile and Documents sections updated. Before posting your resume on Purple Briefcase, students are encouraged to receive resume feedback from a career counselor. This one-stop, web-based system will help you to manage your job search throughout your time at Albright. A comprehensive calendar of the Center’s events is also accessible through Purple Briefcase.