Excel Network’s Virtual Career Readiness Award Winners Announced

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The six winners of the College of Arts & Letter’s second annual Virtual Career Readiness Award Winners recently were announced and received prizes, ranging from $250 to $750. 

Facilitated by the Excel Network, the competition was open to MSU students with a major in the College of Arts & Letters and required them to complete various career readiness-related tasks according to a three-obstacle system. With each challenge, there were three to five tasks to complete, and for each level completed, there was a chance of earning a greater monetary award. 

While the competition gave students the opportunity to receive monetary prizes, it also had them prepare their resumes, create a professional online presence, and virtually network with College of Arts & Letters alumni.  

This year, there were 56 enteries, with two winners drawn for each tier. This year’s six winners are:

Gold Winners ($750)

  • Danielle Tice (Graphic Design) 
  • Maddy Eischer (Apparel and Textile Design)

Silver Winners ($500)

  • Sydney Jackson (Experience Architecture)
  • Gabrielle McKeever (Graphic Design)

Bronze Winners ($250)

  • Faith Pan (Interdisciplinary Humanities) 
  • Avigna Tatineni (Experience Architecture)

Gold Winners

The Gold award is $750. To complete this obstacle, students had to find three internships/jobs they are applying for, write a paragraph articulating their interests for each opportunity and how they apply to their professional goals, conduct a virtual informational interview with one College of Arts and Letters alum, and attend a Virtual Career Fair or Conduct an InterviewStream in addition to all the Bronze and Silver challenges.

Danielle Tice

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Danielle Tice

The competition encouraged Danielle Tice, a Junior studying Graphic Design, to properly develop her online presence with a recognizable headshot and LinkedIn profile in order to jumpstart her job search and recruiting process.

“Going through the virtual career readiness allowed me to dive deep into the platforms that hiring companies would mainly use. I had a LinkedIn but didn’t really use it, but this program was an opportunity for me to jump right in.”

Maddy Eischer

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Maddy Eischer

By participating in the Virtual Career Readiness Awards, Maddy Eischer, a senior studying Apparel and Textile Design, was introduced to a variety of resources and connections, allowing her to develop a long lasting professional community.

“I would (and have!) definitely recommend making an appointment with career services just to become more aware of opportunities on campus that you might not have heard of before. Since Freshman year, I have been pointed to a couple of organizations that I am now very involved in; not only do I genuinely enjoy them, they are expanding my portfolio and helping me make more connections with people all around campus.”

“Take advantage of all of the resources Michigan State has to offer! From resume reviews to mock interviews, MSU has an abundance of career readiness resources that have helped guide me to become more confident in myself, my goals, and my future career.”     

Silver Winners

The Silver Award is $500 and required students to submit a resume that had been reviewed by a peer mentor, staff, or faculty member, upload a professional headshot, and attend a Virtual Internship Workshop in addition to all of the bronze level challenges. 

Sydney Jackson

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Sydney Jackson

Through the competition, Sydney Jackson, a senior majoring in Experience Architecture, feels more connected to the College of Arts & Letters and confident in establishing her professional virtual presence, especially during the shift to virtual job searches and interviews. 

“It was helpful to talk through my resume and get feedback, especially since I have been applying to full time jobs for after graduation. I feel more prepared to apply and interview with companies because I got insightful input on how to better search on job boards.”

Gabrielle McKeever

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Gabrielle McKeever

The Virtual Career Readiness Awards helped motivate Gabrielle McKeever, a junior majoring in Graphic Design, to update her professional portfolio, particularly her LinkedIn and resume.

“I have learned the importance of presenting a professional online presence and know that I will continue to make professional development a priority. This experience has improved my communication skills, connected me to valuable resources, and shown me how I can put my best foot forward in all of my future endeavors!“

Bronze Winners

The Bronze award is $250 and required students to sign up for an Excel Network Career Community, set up a Handshake profile, create a LinkedIn profile and connect with Internship & Alumni Coordinator Maggie Harris, sign up and create Arts & Letters Connect profile, and set up a professional Zoom interview background.

Faith Pan

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Faith Pan

By participating in the Virtual Career Readiness Awards Faith Pan, a Sophomore studying Interdisciplinary Humanities, improved and updated her network and virtual presence to be more polished and professional.

“Completing the Career Readiness Awards was super beneficial to me both personally and professionally. In the pandemic, it can be hard to be career ready or even want to think about it, but this competition allows for students to do so from the comfort of their own homes.”

“It can seem overwhelming for someone grow their network of connections but it really just starts with being prepared and making adjustments and adding things that may seem small, but can actually go a long way in making a profile or resume look more professional.”

Avigna Tatineni

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Avigna Tatineni

Through the Virtual Career Readiness Competition Avigna Tatineni,” a Sophomore studying Experience Architecture, gained a significant amount of professional experience through expanding their network through the Arts & Letters Connect program.

“Participating in this competition helped me update and improve all my professional platform accounts, such as LinkedIn and Handshake.”

“Platforms such as [LinkedIn/Handshake] allow students to search for internships/jobs and reach out to other professionals in their respective fields. Joining the Arts & Letters Connect platform is also helpful because it connects you to alumni that could be potentially become your mentor!”