Workshops Prepare Students for Career Success

Students attending a Freelancing 101 workshop Students attend the Freelancing 101 workshop to learn about the benefits of contracts and how to bill for their time. (Sydney Elle Gray, GWSB '20/the George Washington University)

Like most college students, when students start at GW, they are already planning beyond graduation. “So many students are interning,” says Amanda Rey, industry career coach with GW’s Center for Career Services. “You are in DC; you get to intern and get real life experiences and understand who you would be as a professional.”

Working with students day-in and day-out, librarians get a front-row seat to the needs of students. These observations inspired the creation of the GW Libraries and Academic Innovation (GWLAI) career-readiness workshop series. Workshops cover the range of skills needed to launch any career in today’s workplace, including creating engaging presentations, developing a professional online presence, and finding information about organizations and industries.

Recognizing the potential for benefit to students, Geneva Henry, dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation, and Peter Konwerski, vice provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, invited their staff to partner to increase career readiness opportunities. As a result, four librarians worked with Rey to develop a Freelancing 101 workshop based on student needs.

Covering topics like copyright issues, the benefits of contracts, and counting billable hours, librarians walked students through a newly created website, providing links to countless resources related to freelancing. “It now gets to live on for all of our students,” says Rey.

For dynamic students who intersect business and media, photojournalism and international affairs, web design and biotechnology, learning the basics of freelancing is invaluable. “I think it’s really important to have a focus on who and what you want your brand to be and making sure you take advantage of those resources,” says Amanda Fulwood, a graduate student pursuing her master’s degree in business administration. A full-time web designer, Fulwood also took advantage of GWLAI’s Adobe InDesign workshop a few semesters ago. “If you have certain deficits, you can look to the library to see if they have opportunities to enhance these skills,” says Fulwood. “I think that’s always really encouraging to know that there’s someone there who is willing to find references and find resources to help you to get better. I see the library as that.”