Professional Development Scholarship Recipient – Valerie Kielmovitch Mandel

I had the great pleasure of attending the 2017 CSI East Conference this past August at George Mason University. A few colleagues had attended in the past and came back raving about the experience and professional growth they experienced. Reflecting back on my involvement, they were definitely correct.

Right from the beginning, the conference had a different atmosphere than any other I have experienced due to the smaller number of attendees (around 70) and the friendliness of everyone there.  The conference started off with a panel of various recruiters from a variety of employers including EY, American Red Cross, Enterprise Holdings, Travelers Insurance, Citibank and MAXIMUS. They gave insights to all of us career professionals on some of the reasoning behind recruiting at specific institutions, advice for career services staff and their view of the future of college recruiting. We then had round table discussion time with the recruiters as well to ask more specific questions.

This was followed by Skill Sessions discussing topics ranging from embracing change, a behind the scenes look at college recruiting through the employer lens, assessment and finally talent disruption in the emerging workplace. All of these were very hands on sessions with lots of time for critical thinking and asking questions.

The unique aspect of this conference came later in the day when we formed our Job Alike Sessions which consisted of about 15 people with similar job types. We each had approximately 5 minutes to share a best practice from our office and give a handout to take back to our respective institutions. These were extremely interesting and well received. It was fascinating to hear what was going on at other institutions and how their best practices could be modified and implemented at my campus. We also had two faculties in the group, one a seasoned career services professional and one employer. They were able to give great insight and depth to our conversations.

There was plenty of time to network with other professionals and learn about each other’s institutions. Overall, this was a great experience and I left with many new ideas. I was very thankful to have been selected for the SoACE Professional Development Scholarship which allowed me to attend this conference.


Valerie Kielmovitch Mandel is the Director within the Career Services Office at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University- Daytona Beach. She has worked in the Career Services office at ERAU since 2010. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Central Florida and her Master of Education specializing in Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina. Valerie has a diverse background in the field of higher education from residence life to career services.

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