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Tigers At Work: A Shadowing Opportunity for College Students

*Written by Hannah Lester | hlester@opelikaobserver.com 

The Auburn University College of Liberal Arts has created a new initiative designed to help college students find their passion — and their future career choice.

Many college students choose a major when they start school, only to find out that nothing about the career choice appeals to them.

‘Tigers At Work’ will hopefully help eliminate major switches in a student’s senior year.

“It kind of serves as an externship,” said Daniel Robinson, career services specialist at Auburn. “… ‘Tigers At Work’ serves as a job shadowing opportunity for students to gain relevant knowledge and experience in their chosen career field.”

Students will be paired with local employers in Liberal Arts fields, such as media, marketing or public relations, and will spend a day or half-day with employers to learn a little more about the job.

“One thing we have found out in career services, it’s the sooner you get to a student, the better because we don’t really want those juniors and seniors coming to us going, ‘well I don’t really know what I’m going to do,’” Robinson said.

Right now there are six or seven different organizations in the Auburn/Opelika area that have committed to ‘Tigers At Work.’

The program will begin this upcoming summer — allowing students to shadow in June and July.

“But the hope is that in the program will grow, and include more employers, and more time frames for shadowing,” Robinson said.

“My vision is to have, more or less, a bridging program with some of these employers where they say ‘hey, every fall or spring, Auburn University has a group or students, or one or two or whatever, they’re going to come and shadow’ at a newspaper or a local merchant or something like that, so they know it’s coming,” he said.

The goal is not to make the job glamorous for students, Robinson said, but to show them the real-world aspects of the job.

“One of the very first things I ever learned in education was to consider your audience,” he said. “I think the same thing applies for employers, considering they might be experienced, they might be three or five years into their career, while some of the students that they might be engaging with might be 19, 20 years old, there might be a generational gap and obviously a career-experience gap.

“So just to consider that these students aren’t getting paid to shadow, it’s not for credit, they’re doing it voluntarily and to really show them, as practically as possible, what it is that they do and to give them a peek behind the scenes.”

Employers who are interested can reach out to Robinson by email: dwr0008@auburn.edu

*The article is re-published here with permission from the author. 

Tags: Students Career Services

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