Michael Brant started his journey at Widener surrounded by a world of opportunities but an unclear idea of his path forward.
Now a senior computer science major, Brant is about to step into his new role as software engineer for Lockheed Martin with confidence and clarity, thanks in part to one of Widener's most distinctive points of pride— its commitment to preparing students for a successful and fulfilling career.
Like many students at Widener, Brant began career preparation as early as freshman year, finding personalized support from a dedicated career liaison and a host of programs designed to develop professional skills.
"We aren't just a resume shop for upperclassmen," explained career liaison Kelly Deily. "The Career Services team builds four-year relationships with students to help them explore career opportunities, feel prepared professionally, learn transferrable skills like problem solving and critical thinking, and receive experiential education to help land them that full-time job."
This deliberate commitment to career preparation is what sets Widener graduates apart when interviewing for jobs, applying for graduate programs, and reaching leadership positions in their respective fields.
And it is certainly paying off for our students and graduates as seen in many of our recent accolades:
- Wall Street Journal scored Widener an 8.7 out of 10 in student satisfaction regarding students' opinions on their individual career preparedness.
- In a recent study, 89% of 2015 graduates reported active employment or the pursuit of continued studies.
- The U.S. Department of Education's annual College Scorecard ranked Widener 11th out of the top Philadelphia-area schools based on median post-graduate salary of young alumni— more than $18,000 above the national average.
"Sometimes there's this misconception that you're going to have a job once you get a degree," Brant said. "But there are a lot of steps in between and Career Services helped guide me through."
Brant worked with Deily to coordinate a six-month co-op with Lockheed Martin, a company he never thought he would work for. "Without her support, I wouldn't have even applied. She gave me the extra boost I needed."
At his co-op, Brant was able to draw upon the computer science skills he had learned in the classroom and apply those skills at one of the leading technology companies in the world. Surrounded by coworkers with masters and doctoral degrees, at first he felt intimidated, but soon realized that he was capable and professionally prepared.
Now just a few months from graduation, Brant said, "Everything feels more attainable. I can see the link between where I am, where I have to go, and what I have to do to get there. "