A new career frontier for science students

(Edmonton) Science students at the University of Alberta are about to boldly go where no one has gone before—their own CAPS office.

The new facility, located on the main floor of the Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science next to the Science Student Services Office, is a joint venture between CAPS: Your U of A Career Centre and the Faculty of Science. It was created to provide science students with an accessible space they can use to seek employment opportunities, find answers to questions about career options or get resources to help them plan their future. The centre brings two strong resources together to give students a single point of access in their own space.

“The question had been raised as to how we could best help science students come up with the tools they need to continue into the workforce,” said Shannon Goodwin, student life and industrial internship program advisor for the Faculty of Science. “Given the visibility of where this office is, we felt it was a great opportunity to work with CAPS to have these services right where our students eat, live and breathe.”

Building the buzz

The office will open as students are returning to campus, welcoming new students with information and giveaways, and building with programming and prizes to attract students to the space and inform them about the services it will offer. The end of September will culminate with activities geared toward helping students explore their career choices—just in time for the centre’s grand opening Sept. 25, followed by Careers Day Sept. 26.

Another bonus for students using the centre is that, along with being in a new and distinctive building, it will put top-of-the-line resources at their disposal.

“The really nice thing is about this centre is, because it’s new, it has all new technology and all new resource tools going in to make it work and make it that much more accessible,” said Sarah Coffin, communications co-ordinator for CAPS.

Science is the focus, but all are welcome

The CCIS branch of CAPS joins the other centres located in HUB and the Students’ Union Building to assist students with job- and career-related queries. Just as the HUB centre has an arts-centric theme, the CCIS office is focused mainly on science students. But regardless of faculty or school, all students are welcome to seek assistance or take part in workshops and seminars at the new centre.

“Most of the services are very similar; it’s the location that makes it different. Because this is in a science building and we’re partnering with the Faculty of Science, there will be a lot more science-specific resources available,” said Coffin. “In terms of the services and the expertise and the questions that students can ask, they’ll get the same level of friendly and quality service throughout all three centres.”

The CCIS space: Your CAPS career-planning frontier

Goodwin says much of the programming that will be offered and planned for students will come from information gleaned from surveys and contact with students. The common theme falls to questions related to careers and what to do with their science degree. She says by developing programming and tabling resources that will answer their questions and equip them with knowledge and networking opportunities, the centre will help them be better positioned to guide their own careers in the direction they want to go.

“We’ll be offering a few more science-related services from the faculty side—linking with the Undergraduate Research Initiative to help undergraduates get involved in research, and helping students hit the job market through direct contact with industry or by building their profiles with tools like LinkedIn.”