SoACE Kudos: February 2018 Edition

Erika Cary, Appalachian State University

Erika ROCKED a new initiative called Tailor your Success. In partnership with the local Tanger Outlets, she was able to bring professional dress to hundreds of students at discounted prices! The students were thrilled to have this opportunity to start to build their professional wardrobe and have personal shoppers helping them make their decision! She really shined a light on the Career Center and made a new programming tradition!

Gary Boling, Belmont University

Gary has done an excellent job as Director of Finance. In true form, he rose to the occasion–mid year–to serve a critical need of the Association. This is one of the many examples of Gary’s servant leadership. Belmont is lucky to have you on our team!

Dia Buchanan, Belmont University

Dia continues to make us proud with her work as Assistant Program Coordinator- Social Media/Tweet Chats. Thanks for keeping us informed on trends in the field. We are proud to have you on our team at Belmont University!

Rachel Walden, Belmont University

Rachel is an excellent presenter–and is always on top of the trends. We’re so proud that she will be reprising her SoACE presentation: “The Gig Economy: What Is It and How Can We Prepare Students for Entrepreneurial Career Paths?” Belmont is lucky to have you, Rachel!

Danielle Golinkski, Elon University

Danielle is an incredible professional with an energy that is contagious. She always has a smile on her face and a curiosity to learn. She is a great colleague to work with at Elon!

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Career Services Team

Great job to the ERAU Career Services team for another great Expo!

Alicia Smyth, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

When you need advice, call Alicia. When you need someone to remind you that you make a difference in this profession, call Alicia. When you wonder why you signed up for this gig called higher education and career services, call Alicia. Bottom line, Alicia is the one who can pick a person up, empathize, share life hacks, add to your professional development, and have your back. #putheronspeeddial

Tara Stevenson, Flagler College

Resiliency, courage, compassion, career engagement. These are all words that describe Tara. Over the last few years she experienced change within her department including the location of her office being moved away from prime location and traffic to staff being re-appropriated to other areas of campus. Through these changes Tara served her students well and with a smile, continuing to host robust events with impact. Senior administrators recognize her leadership and encourage her and state an investment in her professional growth towards vice presidency. She serves on the board of Florida Association of Colleges and Employers and has done a phenomenal job of updating our members website. This was not small task and in light of her own work on campus, I don’t know where she found the time. In addition to being an exceptional professional, she is a mother and wife, and makes time to live holistically and authentically. Tara Stevenson deserves the recognition for her contribution to our field!

Lucy Moscoso, Florida International University

I want to give a shout-out to Lucy Moscoso, Assistant Director of Events at the FIU Career & Talent Development Department for another flawless Career Fair execution. Not only did the two days of Career Fair go smoothly, but her new initiative of a hybrid component, offering the career fair experience virtually for organizations that could not attend physically, was very well received by our students!

Martha Rosa, Florida International University

I want to give a shout-out to Martha Rosa, Assistant Director of Internships at the FIU Career & Talent Development Department for her tireless dedication to our students and employers! Not only does she work diligently to ensure that every Internship posting has value to our students, she is always willing to assist in other areas of our department.

Myrna Hoover, Florida State University

It is people like you who make this profession so special. Thank you for your wisdom, generosity of time, care and concern, and kindness at a time when I really needed it.

Emily Asay, Jacksonville University

Emily created, developed and implemented Perfect Match Week for JU students. Her efforts directly contributed to the success of four major recruiting events in five days, one for each of the colleges with Jacksonville University. Awesome job Emily!

Nicki Henry, Mississippi State University

Kudos to Nicki, one of our awesome GAs, for taking the initiative to carry an idea through from conception to completion. Nicki decided to strategically increase career fair attendance in majors with low turnout by setting up pop-up resume tables on campus. Nice work, Nicki!

Christy Dunston, North Carolina Central University

Congratulations on your new role at North Carolina Central University. Your commitment, passion for excellence, and hunger for learning make you a crown jewel. You will definitely be missed at UNC-CH. NCCU is blessed to have you on their rock star team. #eaglepride

Jennifer Fonseca, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Kudos for your many contributions to the profession and to FloridaACE. You are so good at lifting people up and helping them realize their potential. You are a treasure and we are lucky to have you as a new member of SoACE! Thank you for everything you do every day to help your students and colleagues be the best versions of themselves.

Ann McAdam Griffin and Michelle Passo, Rice University

Kudos to Ann McAdam Griffin and Michelle Passo from Rice University! Ann has taken our first destination data to the next level, spearheaded our career crawls, and launched creative programming for second semester seniors who are still searching for a job. Michelle is transforming experiential education opportunities at Rice through her externship program and fund for unpaid and underpaid internships. Grateful to work with both of these innovative and caring professionals!

Saint Leo Career Services Team, Saint Leo University

The newly integrated Career Services team at Saint Leo has been rocking it nonstop since the beginning of the year. Assistant Directors Deanna Bullard and Meagan Jones, as well as Associate Director Nancy Cheek have done a phenomenal job navigating the complexities associated with simultaneous change at an individual, team and institutional level. As their team leader, I could not be prouder of the work they are doing to progress Saint Leo’s mission and vision!

John Sheehy, Stetson University

Kudos to John Sheehy for jumping in during a time of need and knocking FloridaACE Conference plans out of the park! I know it takes a lot of people to make the event a success, but John has been on top of every detail since the moment he stepped into the VP/Conference Chair role. I am so excited to see the event come together in June – I just know it is going to be fantastic! Thank you for all of your hard work!

Cortina Merritt, Texas A&M University-Central Texas

Cortina routinely goes above and beyond. She has a heart for students and is the result-maker for many of them. She is incredible.

Norma Guerra Gaier, Texas State University

One of SoACE’s own talented members has been elected President-Elect for NACE! We are so proud of Norma and appreciate the leadership, talent, passion, and enthusiasm that she brings to our profession. Congratulations, Norma!

Katie Ramirez, Trinity University

Katie is knocking every single challenge she faces out of the park this semester. She continues to produce high quality content, execute incredible events, and lead her supervisees well through the changes and successes of her office.

Marta E. Lopez-Flohr, University of Memphis

Marta is a total pleasure! She has strong ethics and her charisma aide her in providing strong leadership to large and small groups of students and employers. She is enthusiastic about her work and the mission of the University she serves. She takes initiative and is a huge change maker.

Catherine Goetz, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Hooray, Catherine! Catherine is an incredible colleague and is a wonderful ambassador for our program. She sets the bar high, supports her team and colleagues, and tells the story of our students to new and existing employer partners. Catherine is a trusted confidant and encourages me to be a better colleague and manager. Kudos, Catherine!

Nicole Hall, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Nicole is an incredible leader. I’ve often called her a “unicorn” because she’s the type of supervisor I didn’t know really existed. She’s thoughtful in every decision, strategic, and warm. She inspires and encourages me to be a better manager. Kudos, Nicole!

Erica Lake, University of South Carolina Col Of Hosp/Ret/Sprt Mgnt

Erica is such a great collaborator, leader, and mentor! She is an asset to any team that she is a part of. Even though she has transitioned to another college within USC, she has maintained her relationship with the Career Center to empower the students/faculty within her college. Her positivity and kind spirit are just a couple of aspects of Erica that make her such a wonderful colleague and friend!*

Peter Thorsett, University of South Florida

Peter is continuing the great success the Technology Knowledge Group had at the annual conference in December. He created an amazing newsletter and is starting the 2018 year strong for the Tech KG while balancing all his responsibilities and last minute requests in his position as the Communications and Marketing Officer for Career Services & Veteran Success at USF. Thanks for all that you do, Peter!

Matthew Battista, The University of Tampa

Congratulations to Matthew Battista for successfully executing his first CCFCC Career Expo at The University of Tampa! He not only planned and marketed the event but also was seen helping employers with their materials and driving the shuttle van when needed. He checked in to make sure everyone felt welcome and that their needs were met. While it was undoubtedly a UT Team (kudos to Kelly, Rachel, Molly, and Mark) effort, it was especially impressive to see Matt in action. Great job!

University of Tennessee Center for Career Development

Kudos to an awesome staff for having a part in making our recent Job Fairs a success! Without each of you we would not succeed in all that we are able to do and provide to our students. Thank you!

Victor Casas, UT Austin Communication Career Services/UT Austin

Victor has been in his role as recruiting services coordinator less than six months and has already made a difference! His eagerness to learn and do more is inspiring. Thank you, Victor!

Coaching Team, Vanderbilt University Career Center

The Coaching Team at Vanderbilt has truly taken to heart our message to all students: “You Belong Here.” They are assigned to the undergraduate majors and undeclared students and hold walk-in hours in various academic departments across campus, but they go beyond these boundaries, setting up coaching hours for students at various identity-based offices. They also design special programs for first-gen students, international students, transfer students, athletes, etc. Beyond that, the coaches have hosted Vision Board and Elevator Pitch programs for our NEXT STEPS students– adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities who are invited to participate in Vanderbilt classes and programs. The kindness and empathy of the coaching team is much appreciated across the Vanderbilt campus.

Employer Relations Team, Vanderbilt University Career Center

In one year, the new Employer Relations team has totally transformed the recruiting landscape for Vanderbilt students. They have created new employer events, SLAMS, and residence programs; greatly increased attendance at the Fairs; and engaged lots of new employers for our students. They have worked tirelessly on the less-than-fun, hard work of cleaning up our databases and creating better outcome analytics. Kudos to Jennie Marchal, Penny Baga, Camilla Stringfelow, and Anne Matthews for all that they do!

Becca Scott, Virginia Tech

Congratulations to Becca Scott for the most successful clothing drive we’ve ever had for our Virginia Tech Career Outfitters initiative where students receive a free outfit on several shopping days. In February 2018, over 700 students attended the two shopping days with no one leaving empty handed, as those who did not find attire received a padfolio. What a great way to embrace our university motto, Ut Prosim, That I May Serve, by providing free clothing to students as they prepare for career fairs and interviews. Thanks, Becca, for your leadership!

Letter from the President: Raymond Rogers

The 2017 Conference Committee, under Stephanie Bird’s leadership, put together an amazing conference that won’t soon be forgotten.  While speaking to folks since the conference, I’ve heard many compliment San Antonio, the Riverwalk, the conference’s diverse sessions, the Denim and Diamonds President’s Reception, and our exceedingly popular Tuesday night event, “An Evening in Old San Antonio,” featuring the very memorable Spazmatics concert.

While I agree that those were all top notch and memorable, for me, the highlight had to have been our opening keynote, Julian Castro.   His messages of inclusion, compassion, responsibility and optimism set the tone, not only for our conference but for our association as well.  His words reminded me of our call to service, beyond the daily noise of our jobs and to the larger role we play in supporting our students and staffs in discovering their passion and following their calling.

Conferences of this caliber and scale don’t occur without the tireless work, creativity and innovation of our many volunteers.  I want to formally thank all of you who contributed to making our 10-year celebration one to remember.  And speaking of volunteers, I’d like to congratulate and thank Gary Alan Miller, Director of UNC-Chapel Hill Career Services, for taking on the Assistant Conference Chair role for the 2018 conference in Atlanta.  He and Tim Harding (2018 Conference Chair) are already hard at work, building upon the success of the San Antonio conference.  Just having heard some of their preliminary ideas, I’m already looking forward to December.

And, in case you missed it, we held elections for the four transitioning positions on the 2018-19 SoACE Board.  We had a fantastic slate of candidates this year.  I was especially proud to see unprecedented interest in the Director – Finance position, typically one of the more difficult roles to fill.  Heartfelt congratulations go out to Charlie Wilder (Mississippi State University) as President-Elect, Kelly Lerch (Enterprise Holdings) as Director – Finance, Emmanuela Stanislaus (Florida International University) as Director – College Knowledge Groups, and Cheryl Hicks (Wake Forest University) as Director – Diversity and Inclusion.  Their roles will officially begin in July.  Welcome to the SoACE board.

SoACE had a very successful 2017 and we definitely have much more to do in 2018.



Using Insta-Language to Connect with Students

By Andrew Kohls, Assistant Director, Kansas State University Career Center

As an aging millennial, the drive to conquer all available social media apps is real! This is especially true with student affairs professionals, as we see our students effortlessly switch back and forth between platforms. For me, the big push came when I realized more and more students were dropping Facebook or not creating an account at all. I wanted to get away from Facebook and place my efforts on beefing up my Instagram account, where I could better connect with the “younger” world!

Looking back, I think I was forced to create an Instagram account to connect to a website or another app; I honestly can’t remember. I knew it was there, but I rarely touched it. (Kind of like some of our students and their LinkedIn accounts!) Like every “big” decision in my life, I wanted to seek input from experts who were familiar with the topics I was not. For my Insta-overhaul, I consulted only the best: my high school cousins and one of my faithful student workers! ☺

As I was looking through other Instagram accounts, I noticed that most people had a little blurb about them underneath their profile name. To be consistent, I realized that I also needed something! I texted my experts right away and said,

“Hey! I need a catchy, cool blurb for my Instagram! Can you help?”

Their responses…

“What does that even mean?”
“Like the part that goes under your name?”
“You mean, a bio?”

Obviously I needed a lesson on Insta-language! Once the experts finally understood what I was talking about, the A-HA moment happened!

They responded…
“What do you want viewers to know about you?”
“What do you want it to encompass?”

MIND.BLOWN! Suddenly, I felt as if I were the student and they were the professionals (which in this case, they were!). As a career advisor, my mind immediately went to cover letter and resume development. The questions these students had just asked me are the same questions I ask my students daily! I’m always looking for parallels between my students’ worlds and how they can apply their skills to university careers, and THIS.WAS.IT!

Since my breakthrough, I’ve started using Insta-language with all of my students, particularly my first-year students. Of course, I still use the Instagram “bio” (not blurb!) example to discuss tailoring documents to their intended audiences, but I’ve also started using “Finstas” to discuss personal branding and specific content that may not be appropriate for employers to see. (P.S. “Finstas” are Instagram accounts that students set up, in addition to their regular Instagram accounts, to post certain content they may not want everyone to see!) I’ve also used Instagram “followers” to discuss networking, which enables students to look at their own accounts, explain why they follow certain people, and how they can apply that same concept with networking for their careers.

Overall, my students have reacted very positively to my use of “ Insta-language connections.” The key is to keep the convos light. Be mindful that some students DO NOT want you to know anything about their social media presence, and that’s ok. But above all, stay positive, make clear connections, and HAVE FUN!

This article was originally published by the author at


Andrew Kohls received a B.S. in Psychology from Kansas Wesleyan University and an M.S. in Academic Advising from Kansas State University. He is currently an Assistant Director in the Career Center at Kansas State University, working with the College of Architecture, Planning, and Design, as well as graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kohls also serves as an instructor, working with first-year students every fall as part of the K-State First Program. He has been working in higher education since 2010, having previous experience in immigration advising, orientation programming, and admissions. Connect with him at: LinkedIn: Instagram: @andkoh52