Lorie Davis, Director of Mentoring and Employer Relations at the Career Center
by Jessica Richardson ’17
Lorie Davis ’98m has one piece of advice for Ship students—stay open to possibilities. As the director of mentoring and employer relations at the Career Center, Davis teaches students to be open to possibilities through the new Raiders Connect 365 program.
“I was not open to career paths during college, as I thought I knew what I wanted to do and had a career path laid out,” she said. “However, when I went to student teaching, I discovered by working at an inner-city school that I wanted to work with students differently, not educating them about history.”
Davis knows that a career path is not linear. She went to Kutztown to be a social studies teacher and now works in career development. She graduated with a social studies education degree, then went to Ship for a master’s degree in counseling. After graduate school, she worked in residence life at Elon University in North Carolina, followed by residence life and judicial affairs at Kutztown University, then career development at Gettysburg College. Davis made her way back to Ship as the director of Alumni Career Services and Outreach, but recently took a new position in the Career Center.
To Davis, Ship always felt like home. While working in alumni career services, she grew to love the other components of alumni relations and developed amazing relationships. She said it felt natural that she formed relationships with those in the Career Center as she connected students and alumni for career programming.
“I loved seeing how I could connect alumni back to the university and have them devote their time and talents to working with students.”
Now, Davis is linking alumni and students for career mentoring through Raiders Connect 365. Rolled out in the fall of 2018, the program capitalizes on alumni volunteers who requested to mentor students. Once alumni are paired with interested students, they meet with their mentees in person or via video chat to guide them on their career paths.
“The ultimate goal would be for all students by their junior year to have a career mentor,” she said. After alumni and students are paired, she hopes to send out monthly newsletters where participants provide talking points and guidance.
“Experts agree that over 75 percent of jobs are found through networking connections. By providing (students) a mentor, their mentor will open up networking connections for them.”
Looking back at her own mentoring experiences, Davis said she remains in touch with the mentor from graduate school who guided her professionally. “He is someone who, when I think I have the answer to something, I can still run it by him and see if I am missing anything.”
In addition to mentoring, Raiders Connect 365 helps students develop the professional skills they may not be aware they need. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, there are seven critical components that students need to know when they graduate college: critical thinking/problem solving, oral/written communication, teamwork, information technology application, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, and career management. She said mentors can help students with many of these components.
“I always say that programs don’t develop people, but people develop people.”
The program has had a great turnout of mentors but needs more, especially in the STEM fields. Davis hopes that alumni are motivated to give back because someone once helped them in a similar way.
The Career Center has connected students and alumni through Ship Connects, where the center previously took students to Philadelphia and Washington, DC, for alumni events. She said students found it eye opening to hear alumni say that career paths are not linear, as Davis herself experienced. “It is amazing for students to look at alumni and say, ‘You did it, so that means I can, too.’”
Davis reiterates the importance of her career advice: “Be open to possibilities—don’t be so set on what you think is going to happen that you miss a really great opportunity.”
The Career Center will host a celebration and kickoff event for Raiders Connect 365 later this year. To get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jessica Richardson ’17 is a legislative reporter.