As the oldest women’s college in the nation, Mount Holyoke has been preparing women to face the future with confidence for more than 175 years. As the College embarks on its next 175 years, a new era is at hand–one that demands a new kind of career preparation, as well as a strong liberal arts education.
Recognizing this challenge, the College is introducing The Lynk–a systematic approach to connecting students’ academic work with practical experience and career exploration. The Lynk is designed to help students identify their strengths, set goals for themselves, network with successful professionals and accomplished alumnae, and explore career possibilities. It is a key part of the College’s promise to continue to prepare students to face the future with confidence.
As a major component of The Lynk, President Lynn Pasquerella has announced the College will fund one qualified summer internship or research experience for every student during her sophomore or junior year at Mount Holyoke.
“More than ever before, it is critical for colleges and universities to provide opportunities to connect curriculum to career,” said Pasquerella. “At Mount Holyoke, we provide models for excellence by engaging embedded practitioners, offering enhanced advising, and taking advantage of our extraordinary alumnae network to ensure that employers understand that a liberal arts education is the best preparation for work in a globally interdependent, rapidly changing world.”
Through The Lynk, students will be introduced to a myriad of internship and research opportunities in which they can experience the value of intellectual flexibility and critical thinking in a workplace setting. The College’s Career Development, McCulloch, Weissman, and Miller Worley Centers, as well as its Nexus and Community-Based Learning programs, connect students with internships in a wide range of settings here and abroad–from research immersion in faculty labs on campus to the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU); from the political offices of Washington, D.C., to NGOs across the globe; and from businesses in Manhattan to entrepreneurial ventures in Africa.
This summer selected students will be able to use their Lynk funding to participate in a program offered by Koru, which will provide intensive business preparation and an embedded internship to funnel top liberal arts students to corporations such as REI and Zulilly. Lynk funding can also be used to support participation in the Fullbridge Program, which will be offered on Mount Holyoke’s campus for the first time this summer to help students build mastery in practical and professional real-world work skills.
The Lynk is supported by enhanced advising in the first-year program and sophomore year; this includes career advising, résumé support, internship searches, and an introduction to research ethics, professional behavior, and networking.
“This is not just an internship. The Lynk is about embedding practical experience in the liberal arts core,” said Eleanor Townsley, professor of sociology and associate dean of faculty. “From the first semester to the last, we ask students to reflect on their goals, to integrate their internship or research experiences into their academic learning, and to translate this learning for different audiences in public presentations of their work.”
Students continue their professional development in their junior and senior years as they share their work through a series of new and old Lynk events, including the fall post-internship LEAP Symposium, the spring Senior Symposium, the Junior/Senior Alumnae Career Fair, and Crafting a Life in the Arts, among others.
~ Mary Jo Curtis