Friday, June 21, 2024

W&M: Success Preparing Students for Careers Draws National Praise

William & Mary students Jack Keating (center), Aggie Augustine (second from right) and Hannah Svirsky (right) take a photo with U.S. Air Force representatives at the Air Combat Command International Affairs Directorate on Langley Air Force Base. The three students completed internships there in April. (Photo by Katie Pelletier)

WILLIAMSBURG — To enhance career opportunities for students and embrace its value of service, William & Mary has secured $500,000 in congressionally directed spending to support students pursuing national security careers.

Championed by U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine, this investment will grow the university’s current National Security Internship Program to create expanded pathways for students to gain valuable experiences with the U.S. government, including the military services and intelligence communities.

Careers is one of four core initiatives in William & Mary’s Vision 2026 strategic plan, and the university’s work in that area has garnered national attention, according to a report by W&M News.

“I am incredibly proud of the model William & Mary has built to strengthen applied learning,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “This funding will support students interested in joining William & Mary’s distinguished tradition of public service. We are grateful to Sens. Kaine and Warner for advocating on our behalf.”

Transformative opportunities to serve

With this congressionally directed funding, William & Mary will cultivate student talent within the region while serving as a key resource for government agencies seeking to grow a well-trained future workforce, according to the report.

“I’m thrilled to have secured $500,000 for the William & Mary National Security Internship Program, and I’m excited to watch as this partnership helps train the next generation of brilliant and qualified civil servants,” said Warner. “Particularly from my perspective as chair of the Intelligence Committee, I look forward to the work this program will do to create a talent pipeline that connects Virginia’s incredibly smart college students to our abundant opportunities across the military and intelligence fields.”

The expanded program will increase the number of opportunities available to students by providing stipends, mentorships and other vital resources. In addition to monetary assets, the internship program is intended to lead to an increased number of students with security clearances.

“As a member of the Senate Armed Services and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees, expanding access to educational opportunities and strengthening our national security are among my top priorities,” said Kaine. “I’m glad to have worked with William & Mary to secure federal funding for stipends and mentors through their National Security Internship Program, which can help us do both. I’m looking forward to seeing how this program continues to foster students’ interests, provide more students with life-changing experiences, and grow America’s national security workforce.”

The increase in security clearances will strengthen the pool of qualified candidates for national security projects, the intelligence community and military agencies, ultimately bolstering the nation’s security efforts, the university said. Students will also gain hands-on experience with national security projects and agencies, preparing them to excel in challenging roles within the federal government and related organizations.

National leader in careers

In addition to the National Security Internship Program, William & Mary supports students in a multitude of applied learning opportunities offered through the Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement, the Global Research Institute, the Reves Center for International Studies, the Washington Center and others in a “whole of university” approach focused on students, it notes.

As part of its careers initiative, the university has committed to “lead in the preparation of lifelong learners equipped to navigate rapid change and thrive from their first job to their last.” That commitment includes a goal of providing a funded internship or other applied learning experience for every undergraduate by 2026, it added.

William & Mary has raised nearly $3 million over the last year and a half to support unpaid and underfunded internships for undergraduate students.

“At our university, we don’t just educate students; we empower lifelong learners ready to conquer the challenges of an ever-evolving world,” said W&M Chief Career Officer Kathleen Powell. “At William & Mary we are preparing the leaders of tomorrow, today.”

The university’s work in this area has drawn national attention, the university notes. For three consecutive years, The Princeton Review has named William & Mary the best public university for internships, and new rankings from The Wall Street Journal count the university among the top 20 public institutions of higher education for high-paying jobs in finance, management consulting and technology.

Praise for W&M’s career efforts goes all the way to the top, it added. Last month, President Rowe was named the recipient of the 2024 Career Services Champion Award from National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

According to the NACE website, the award is presented to “a college or university president or chancellor from an accredited institution of higher education who supports the establishment of and demonstrates forward-thinking leadership in support of career services/education.”

“Receiving the 2024 Career Services Champion Award, in recognition of President Rowe and her unwavering support of lifelong career engagement, from the National Association of Colleges and Employers is not just a recognition for William & Mary, but a signal to universities across the country that a commitment to career development and dedicated support, and resources, creates a culture that fosters career and professional development at every level,” said Powell.

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