The mission of Seton Hill University (SHU) provides alumni the final task they must accomplish to accurately represent the university.
Alumni from SHU have the opportunity to go down many different paths, including beginning careers, graduate study or volunteer opportunities. Each year, the Career and Professional Development Center (CPDC) collects data from alumni via the “Post-Graduation First Destination Survey.” While the survey only takes a few minutes to complete, it provides the center with useful data that is compared to other universities.
“Seton Hill now adheres to following the national standards and protocols that have been put into place by the National Association of Colleges and Employers for the collection of post-graduation statistics,” said Renée Starek, Director of the CPDC. “This is critical information for the College Scorecard initiative from the U.S. Dept. of Education that assist students and their families in making educated decisions regarding selecting a college or university to attend.”
The most recent published results were collected from SHU’s class of 2014. Out of 472 alum, 424 responded. According to the results, 73% of the graduate and undergraduate students were employed at the time of the survey. Only 4% of the total responses were still seeking some type of employment. The remaining responses consisted of military enlistment, not seeking employment, furthering education, volunteering or returning to a home country.
In addition to the various courses, capstone projects and internships that students complete in order to graduate, this may have something to do with the services offered to alumni.
“I want students and alumni to be aware of the lifetime services available to them from the Career and Professional Development Center to assist them in preparing to reach their professional goals,” said Starek.
“We use the data collected initially to better understand which new alumni are seeking employment. My staff then reaches out to offer assistance by providing career advising, cover letter & resume review, job search strategy, and interviewing information and practice,” said Starek.
SHU’s Alumni Relations department works to keep alumni connected not only to the university, but also to each other. “We communicate regularly with all alumni with information on Seton Hill current news, special events, giving, Seton alumni benefits. We have a magazine that is published twice a year providing all alumni with in-depth stories about accomplishments of our students, alumni and faculty, as well as stories on University projects and programs,” said Mary Cox, Director of Alumni Relations.
The department is constantly collecting contact information from alumni of various graduating classes. The information provides a basis for a global alumni online network for many purposes, including business, personal and volunteer ventures. These connections help strengthen the opportunities for internships and mentorships with current SHU students.
“We utilize facebook groups as a means of keeping our alumni connected to each other and to Seton Hill. It is our goal to grow a large community of alumni who are well informed about Seton Hill, our students and our programs and who consequently are able to be excellent informed ambassadors for the University,” said Cox.
Fanoli entered SHU as an undergraduate in 2011. She completed her biology degree in just three years and is currently a student in the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Seton Hill.
“Now, after completing my first year at LECOM, I look forward to gaining more knowledge in my second year of medical education and narrowing down the specific field of medicine I wish to become involved,” said Fanoli.
During her time as an undergraduate, Fanoli was a member of the women’s tennis team, earning the Scholar Athlete Award. She also participated in the Make-A-Wish Program and was a eucharistic minister at weekly Mass.
“Not only did Seton Hill prepare me for the academic challenges that I would face in medical school, Seton Hill also showed me how to release stress by participating in sports and community service to lead a balanced life,” said Fanoli.
Fanoli was awarded the Sullivan Award for having the highest GPA, as well as being inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Society. In her limited spare time, Fanoli modeled for various charity events in the Pittsburgh region.
“Being able to attend such a prestigious university and having the ability to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine in my hometown of Greensburg, Pa. is a dream come true,” said Fanoli.
Rachel Hursen graduated with a bachelor’s in communication in 2014. A nonprofit called InVision Human Services currently employs her. The organization provides services to people with disabilities, so that they may live as normally as possible.
Hursen has done her fair share of trying out various jobs. Over the holidays she worked retail, and almost started working for a company that sells products out of CostCo.
“Before this, I worked as a financial adviser for First Investors, and I tried so hard to stick with it but it just wasn’t for me. I love people, but not begging for their money. I would rather be a behind-the-scenes necessary kind of person,” said Hursen.
While she is happy with her current position, her future is unwritten. “My goal is to be in this position a year, and then move into another nonprofit at a higher level. I would move up in this company if it was possible, but ideally I would like to move out of state some time after my wedding next April. Until February when I got this job, things felt so hopeless,” said Hursen
Finding the balance between a career and the necessities in life is something that Hursen is still trying to figure out. “I still am not making enough money to have the beginnings of a life I want, but I am fighting for it. The hardest thing I’m dealing with right now is knowing I could interview for a position that makes more, but it’s a dead end job that would do nothing for my resume and my future… plus I am really happy at InVision so I have to remind myself that it’s worth it to not be miserable,” said Hursen.
Robbyn Slavin is a member of the most recent SHU graduating class, with a bachelor’s degree in social work. Slavin’s journey is classified as “untraditional,” as she chose to attend school during her adult years.
Slavin was enlisted in the United States Army. It was during her service that she met her husband. Together, they have three children and are very involved in
“I never wanted to go to college, but four years ago my husband discovered that I had a veteran’s benefit that would pay me to go to school, but I only had about 5 years left to use it. So I looked at schools and decided that Seton Hill was a great choice because of its Adult Degree Program (ADP),” said Slavin. “Social work sounded like a profession that I would enjoy as I have always enjoyed helping people. However, social work was removed from ADP after my first year,” she said.
Slavin is planning on continuing her education with a graduate program at the University of Southern California next year. Currently, she is employed as a fill-in worker at Adelphoi.
“I have also applied for a state position of forensic social worker, which really interests me. This position works with incarcerated individuals sentenced to mental health treatment,” said Slavin.