2017 Professional Development Scholarship Recipient – Donna Srader

I have worked in the Texas Tech University Career Center for three years now and anyone who has ever worked with Jay Killough, our director, knows his passion for helping his staff and our students identify their strengths. Two of my strengths are input, a desire for more facts and knowledge, and intellection, a need for intellectual activity. So when Jay urged anyone who was interested to apply for a SoACE scholarship, I jumped on it. I could learn something new and SoACE would pay! Win, win!

Because I am seeing more and more alumni who want to make a career change and current students unsure of their career objectives, I chose to obtain a Career Transition Certification through Career Thought Leaders Association. I gained new ideas, learned new techniques, and developed resources to help students and alumni work through the transition process in this self-paced program.

Of all the useful information I gained, the most valuable was learning to view the loss of a career or, for current students, the inability to complete a major they have worked toward for years, through the lens of the grieving process. This idea of grieving the loss of a job or the failure to complete a goal is not new. However, the suggestions for helping individuals through their grief will be invaluable in creating and implementing a structured process that is flexible enough to meet the in-depth needs of alumni while complementing the services we already offer to our on-campus and distance students.

Of the many different grief/transition models presented in the course, my favorite is the William Bridges Transition Model (http://www.wmbridges.com/index.html). This model begins with the loss or ending which transitions into the Neutral Zone. Most of the students and alumni that I see are in the Neutral Zone between the end of the old thing and the beginning of the new thing. The transition from the old to the new, whether it be a job or a way of life, can be long, difficult, and psychologically distressing. People transitioning through the limbo must mourn the loss of something before they can be comfortable with the change, the new thing.

Working with a career coach to transition through the Neutral Zone can be an opportunity for creativity and development. That ability to help students and alumni through the limbo of the Neutral Zone is my biggest accomplishment in the completion of this certification. Along with a greater understanding of the process of grief and transition, I have gained tangible resources to assist students and alumni.

Over the past three years, I have come to rely on SoACE for exceptional professional development opportunities, from the webinars to the conference each December. Utilizing the SoACE scholarship has broadened my perspectives and strengthened my skill set.

I value the opportunities that SoACE provides for sharing my experiences and learning from others. And I am grateful that I was chosen as a recipient of the SoACE Scholarship in 2017 because I gained new tools, skills, and information that will benefit my colleagues, current students, and alumni. I urge every member of SoACE who is eligible to apply for the scholarship!