Spotlight for Career Services ProfessionalsOctober 2, 2013
Kristin Eicholtz, director of career services at DeSales
University, was her office's only full-time staff member and
seeking to meet the growing needs of her students.
"I was looking to extend my human resources in a way that is
beneficial for the career center and for our student population,"
Two years ago, she started a peer ambassador program, through
which selected students are trained to work with the career center
to provide services to their fellow students, essentially acting as
The benefits, Eicholtz says, have been noticeable. For example,
in addition to the 1,000-plus student appointments Eicholtz
conducted last year, her office's student ambassadors handled 279
"That may not sound like a lot to a larger school, but for us,
it is," she explains. "As the only full-time staff member in our
career services office, I wouldn't have been able to conduct that
many appointments. The peer ambassadors have really allowed us to
meet the needs of all of our students."
Stephanie Saunders, who was a career development specialist and
supervised the peer educator program at Georgia Southern University
prior to joining the staff at the University of North Carolina at
Charlotte in August, echoes the enthusiasm for peer programs.
"I've found that students tend to relate better to their peers
than they do to the regular career advisers," Saunders says. "The
[peer advisers] offer a tremendous service for us, and, in turn,
they learn leadership skills, are able to network with recruiters
in ways other students can't, and typically come out of the
experience as more polished candidates."
Saunders and Eicholtz offer some tips for developing and
managing an effective peer adviser program:
"It does take a lot of effort to get a peer adviser program
started, but the benefits are tremendous," Saunders says.
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