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Career services director search narrows

When Missouri Western started their search for a new Director of Career Services they had a list of 33 initial candidates, they now have that number whittled down to the two candidates invited to campus.

The career director candidates for Missouri Western presented their case to for employment last week in front of the search committee and those in attendance.

On Monday, Feb. 28, Wester invited Kim Caponi to campus and gave her an opportunity present some ideas and state her case, as to why she’s the best person for the director of Career Services.
The position has remained vacant since last October, when previous Director Linda Garlinger decided to retire.

Caponi started off by introducing her presentation with some visual aids, she brought Playdough and talked about how the moldable substance represented students and their potential.

“When you’re starting out in your education–and even before you reach the university level–this is you,” Caponi said holding the Playdough. Caponi said that it’s easier to work with the dough when it’s soft and that’s where she said that Career Services fits in by trying to work with students, directing them to an educational path that fits them.

On Wednesday, March 2, it was his chance to persuade the search committee his way.

Donnell Turner makes his case in front of the Missouri Western search committee for the new career services director. Jason Brown | Staff photographer

Kim Caponi speaks her piece to those attending Monday's presentation. Dave Hon | Editor-in-chief

“Do students really have real world experience?” Turner said. “Rules change once students get into the real world.”

Turner’s presentation was focused mainly on how he would handle the job as career director, focusing on students and how their future is going to be impacted from college.

“Helping students tap into both their strengths and their passion will make them successful,” Turner said.

Turner spoke about the challenge it takes for students to not only make it through college, but to find a job afterwards and be able to do that job at their best. He believes he is the right man for the job because of his past experiences as well as his passion for this opportunity, passion that is undoubtedly needed in the real world.

“I would do what I do for free because I love what I do so much,” Turner said. “Having your own passion or own calling is very important.”

Strategies are very important for students, Turner said. He also stated that they need to approach these by talking to an advisor and he would help a student out by telling them his own strategies for being successful out of college.

Student involvement and mentoring were major components of Turner’s personal guide to success in college.

Turner’s third strategy he spoke about was to have students get internships and externships. “Be able to network,” Turner said. “These are essential. Students can gain a competitive advantage by having resumes.”

Caponi said that while networking in the traditional sense is still very important, social networking is becoming important as well.

“It doesn’t replace the personal networking,” Caponi said. “But, it can be a place to start.” Caponi then recounted a story of how she helped a student using LinkedIn to secure a job in the town he wanted to live, after he had been offered a six-figure salary in another market.

Both candidates said globalization is changing the way that students need to approach education, and that study abroad learning will only make them more marketable.

Turner ended his presentation by taking a few questions from the crowd. Taye Triggs, assistant dean of student development, asked him what he how he would approach a non-traditional student.

“(I would) help lead them with skills they’ve had in the past, researching them,” Turner said. “The reality is, we never really stop learning.

Student Coordinator Matthew Gregg weighed in on the candidates for the position.

“I think both of the candidates we have coming to campus are very strong candidates,” Gregg said. “We wouldn’t have brought them to campus if they weren’t.”

Gregg said that they really tried to select candidates that reflect what the students want, and believes that both candidates have those qualities.

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