video by Joe O'Neill; story by Matt Getty
Dickinson's new Winter Break Career Pathways Program recently gave 30 students a rare inside look at Google to help them get a leg up on building a successful career in data and tech. The daylong event brought the students to Google's New York City offices to meet with a dozen Dickinson alumni who've already carved out their own successful careers at the IT giant.
"I don't know any other colleges or universities who are doing this," says Mitch Andres '18, a Google account executive who participated in the networking and career-exploration event. "And certainly not to this scale, where we're taking everyone we can possibly find and giving them this exposure of, hey, this what life in tech is like across the board, regardless of what department you're in."
In addition to Andres, students got to hear from:
The day included panel discussions with these alums on everything from on what Google looks for when recruiting employees to the future of machine learning. Students also got a site tour as well as plenty of opportunities to network and learn exactly how someone goes from Dickinson to Google
"The Dickinson alumni network ranges so greatly," says Darcely Peña '25 (data analytics). "This was such a unique experience. I never thought that I would be able to tour Google and speak with these panelists."
Zimeng Liu '23 (mathematics, quantitative economics, data analytics) agrees, noting how valuable it is for students to get firsthand information on prospective companies and careers before they graduate. "This was really amazing," she says. "It's very helpful for us to learn about a slice of such a huge company."
Giving students this kind of career preparation is a hallmark at Dickinson, where the Advising, Internships & Career Center offers numerous programs, advice, and one-on-one counseling to help students translate the college's distinctive liberal-arts education into a successful and fulfilling career. As a result of these efforts, 92% of all students complete an internship, externship, research, service-learning or field experience course before graduation; and 95% of graduates are employed, completing an internship, attending graduate school, or engaged in meaningful service within one year of graduation.
The site visit also included a networking lunch in Google's NYC office.
The Winter Break Career Pathways Program is the latest of these career-prep initiatives and was piloted this January with a focus on careers in data and tech. Each pathway program is held over winter break as a three-week, non-curricular career-development program that combines online programming with in-person opportunities. And each offers Dickinson students a chance to engage in career exploration, gain employment skills, conduct corporate simulation projects and take part in a site visit with Dickinson alums.
In addition to the Google site visit, this year's program included industry workshops on career building with Kurt Kendall P'25, chief analytics officer at Publishers Clearing House, and Zach Wahl ’98, CEO at Enterprise Knowledge; recruiting sessions with Vanguard, Protiviti, Amazon Web Services and Alpha Omega Integration; corporate virtual work experiences; informational interviews; and tutorials in skills such as Google Analytics, Cloud concepts, and Python.
Dickinson's ability to host events like this highlights the power of the college's alumni network. "Dickinson's such a unique place where everyone wants to help one another," says Hass, who noted that larger schools lacking Dickinson's close community ties often can't offer the same kind of opportunities.
"As alumni we really care about students at Dickinson," says Karetsos. "If you need to put us in your pingable network, don't be shy. Reach out and ask for some help."
The event provided students with a one-on-one Q&A session with Spyro Karetsos '96, Google's chief compliance officer.
In addition to offering networking opportunities and career tips, the Google site visit also enabled students to discover that the Dickinson liberal-arts approach to data analytics, computer science and other tech-focused studies offers them a distinct advantage in the job market. With 16 alumni currently working at Google, it's clear that the Dickinson experience can be a springboard for tech careers, and that lesson wasn't lost on the students.
"What's unique about the Dickinson program reflects a lot of what the panelists were saying today, which is that some of the really important skills in the data world and in the workplace in general are flexibility and communication, and those are things that we get innately at Dickinson and particularly through the data analytics program," says Ben Warren '25 (data analytics). "So we're learning to code, we're learning really good statistics fundamentals, but we're also learning really valuable skills that you might not get in a cookie-cutter analytics education. We really get the whole package in the program at Dickinson."
Published January 25, 2023