No stuffiness. No appointments. Just conversations and a clearer path to success

The Paul M. Lisnek LAS Hub helps students achieve academic and career goals
Peer mentors in the LAS Hub
Peer mentors meet in the Paul M. Lisnek LAS Hub. The LAS Hub offers a variety of academic and career services to students. (Photo by Carly Conway.)

Tommy Li wanted a summer internship, but he wasn’t sure where to look. The junior majoring in communication had a lot of questions: What activities should he put on his application? What do employers look for in potential interns? How do you polish a resume?

Li was guided to the Paul M. Lisnek LAS Hub, where he met with peer mentors and put together a strong resume. He has since landed some interviews and feels optimistic about his prospects for landing an internship after the semester ends.

“I really think my whole resume was created in the Hub,” Li said. “We worked to make my resume from scratch. I was able to get it polished about five times—it was really helpful.”

The Paul M. Lisnek LAS Hub, created by the College of LAS with the support of communication alumnus Paul M. Lisnek (BA, '80; MA, '80; PhD, '86, speech communication; BA, '80, political science;. JD, '83), is a new space dedicated to assisting students with a variety of academic, career, and other queries.

Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday on the first floor of Lincoln Hall, the LAS Hub helps undergraduate students with a system of peer mentors who offer drop-in advising for resume and cover letter reviews, internship searches, career guidance, experiential learning opportunities, and information about college services. Steven Cox, assistant director for student engagement, said that the space is designed to help students achieve academic and career development goals.

The LAS Hub came to fruition in Fall 2022 in a design thinking framework that encourages experiential learning as a means for exploring potential academic and career paths. Since opening last fall, the LAS Hub sees or otherwise engages with about 10 students per day. It serves primarily LAS students, but students from across campus are welcome.

Cox said that organizers want the LAS Hub to be a place where students feel comfortable and encouraged to work together. He said 10 students per day is a good number, but he anticipates that the number could grow as the LAS Hub grows.

“The beauty of the LAS Hub is that it is all drop-ins. No appointments. No stuffiness. More conversational,” Cox explained. “And it’s all geared around experiential learning. That can be academic experience, part-time jobs, career development, or any aspect of experience-based learning.”

The peer mentors that work within the LAS Hub are hired as student interns for the College of LAS. They are students themselves who receive training to help other students find pathways to success. Alexis Blum, a junior studying East Asian languages and cultures, said that working as a peer mentor in the LAS Hub has given her a way to make connections within LAS.

“People come in with all sorts of different questions,” Blum explained. “As people come in, we answer their questions. We review resumes and cover letters. Sometimes we help with internships and sometimes people come in with questions we can’t answer but, we know where to direct them to get their questions answered.”

Fellow peer mentor Oche Harris, a junior majoring in history and English, finds similar satisfaction in being able to help guide students to their goals. This gives Harris valuable experience as well. Through this job—from speaking to potential employers at career fairs to finding connections between herself and the students she works with—Harris is able to explore her own possibilities.

Li, an international student from China, said that the LAS Hub has not only helped him develop his resume but helped him find his footing on campus and identify opportunities.

“I’ve found that I want to explore different cultures and I don’t want to stay in my comfort zone,” Li said.

Such comments are affirming to Cox, who said that the collaborative style of mentoring that occurs in the LAS Hub has proven effective at guiding students toward success. Whether it is a writing sample, resume, assignment, or even a simple question about possible career aspirations, Cox said, the LAS Hub can help inspire students.

“We hope students can find even just a little bit of experience, by planting that seed. Then hopefully one thing can lead to another, and they can eventually find a career that they love,” Cox said. “And they could trace it back to one of our peer mentors. I think that would be a great thing.”

News Source

Ella Dame