St. Mary’s College of Maryland Career Center Staff Receives Prestigious Award for Innovative Program

Three employees from St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) have been recognized by the Eastern Association of Colleges and Employers (EACE) with the Excellence in Program Development & Innovation Award. The award recognizes the trio for their work on the Professional Pathways (CORE-P) program, which guides students to career paths that best suit them.

Michael Dunn, the Director of Professional Pathways, along with Julianne Petrilla and Meghan Druzgala, the coordinators of the program’s first year of Professional Pathways and Externship courses, will receive the award in 2023. Every year, the EACE awards outstanding program developments that serve as a model program for others in this field to emulate.

Credit: St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Professional Pathways is an important part of the College’s LEAD (Learning through Experiential and Applied Discovery) curriculum. This series of pre-employment courses is compulsory for all new students and is designed and delivered by the staff of the CCPD. The program was recommended by the Associations’ Leadership & Recognition Committee and approved by the Board of Directors.

CORE-P started as a pilot program in autumn 2018 and has since grown to three different courses. First-year students enroll in two one-credit introductory courses in which they explore their strengths and interests, learn basic professional writing and interviewing skills, attend networking events, develop a career exploration plan, and take the National Association of Colleges & Employers (NACE ) professional maturity skills.

In their sophomore or freshman year, students complete a two-credit honors college internship course taught by a subject matter expert in a specific career field. These unique courses combine classroom activities, classes focused on NACE competences, and hands-on experiences outside of the classroom, so students are well-prepared for an internship in a specific field. Subject matter experts who teach the Honors College internship courses come from industry, alumni communities, and other networks.

In an email from EACE, CCPD staff learned that the program was recommended by the Federations’ Governance and Recognition Committee and voted for by the Executive Board. The award will be presented during an EACE Awards luncheon in June.

The award underscores the importance of professional development programs in helping students determine their career paths. Through the CCPD’s innovative program, St. Mary’s College of Maryland prepares students to successfully enter the workforce with the skills and competencies needed. As students continue to grapple with the economic impact of the pandemic, professional development programs have become even more important in equipping them with the tools they need to thrive in a competitive job market.


Leave a Comment