How is Liberty University’s Career Center Helping Students during COVID-19?

With non-essential businesses shut down and universities  closed, students who had summer internships planned wonder what their summers will look like now. 

As COVID-19 shook the country, some internships ended early while others transitioned to a remote setting, according to the placement and program coordinator for the Liberty New York City Fellowship, Samantha Pfeiffer. 

One student is still in New York continuing his work with a Christian nonprofit helping the homeless in the city, four students are in Washington, D.C., and one senior was offered a job and is able to work from the dorm, Pfeiffer said. 

Tori Nelson is a senior at Liberty in the New York Fellowship but had to go home to North Carolina early. Though her parents wanted her to stay in New York so she would not lose her internship and credits, when she heard rumors about a travel ban, Nelson knew she needed to leave.

One of her roommate’s parents offered her a ride home when they were picking up their student, giving Nelson less than an hour to pack the necessities before leaving.

“It was intense,” Nelson said. “I was eating Chick-Fil-A and then less than an hour later I’m on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.”

Nelson is now completing her internship virtually with a nonprofit affiliated with the United Nations. She said Pfeiffer played a large role in her landing the job and helping her along the way.

“She is just such a blessing,” Nelson said. “She is always there. I’ve texted her at midnight and asked questions and for help with anxiety and she responds immediately with answers or saying she’ll look into it. She’s been amazing.”

Pfeiffer said in an email interview that summer and fall fellowships are still on and they are “actively recruiting” for the fall semester.

Interim Executive Director and Assistant Director of Experiential Learning for the Career Center Kate Choudhury said, as far as future internships, everyone is in a limbo period. Many employers are still evaluating whether to continue with summer internships. Some have voiced their plan to move forward, while others have cancelled their summer internship programs. 

However, Choudhury said she expects employers to be speaking soon, but Liberty has connections in place for students regardless.

“We are continuing to stay really vigilant with what different industries are trending with and the way some employers are leaning versus others,” Choudhury said. “Luckily we have some really great relationships internally here with our staff and different organizations.”

The Career Center continues to work with students to help them adapt to changing and canceled internships, as well as future career goals.

“Because students are going to be done with classes in a couple weeks, that doesn’t mean they’ll be done career searching,” Choudhury said. “We’re going to continue to support students after classes are over and connect them with recruiters that are still hiring for internships and full-time jobs.”

The Career Center has created opportunities for students to be able to meet with recruiters virtually for interviews and résumé sharing. Choudhury said they have 50 employer events scheduled through May to the end of June.

Students can also connect to career coaches via Handshake using the “events” tab and schedule virtual meetings through resources like Microsoft Teams. These coaches can provide aid to students who have questions about their future career, industry trends and what jobs are associated with their major.

“The career coaches are incredibly professional and knowledgeable within their school,” Choudhury said. “A lot of them have exceptional experience in their field and this is almost their second career. They really are truly pouring into students and are consistently on top of all the industry trends unique to Liberty University.”

Brittany Slaughter is a News reporter. Follow her on Twitter @BSlaughterReal

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