By Emilie Lewis
When asked how she feels about landing an internship that led directly to her job in the Crime Scene Investigation unit at the Columbia Police Department, alumna Danielle Clifton declares, “I would like to personally thank Mr. Gomez-Palacio.”
That’s because Danielle, like countless other students and alumni, found her current position thanks to Gomez-Palacio and his team at the Grossnickle Career Services Center.
The center, which aims to help current students and alumni around the world with career and graduate assistance, has a team of career specialists ready to prep students for interviews, fine tune a resumé and even help military students adjust to the civilian workplace.
Many colleges offer some career services to current students to help them find a job after graduation, but Gomez-Palacio put it best when he stated simply, “Our services are available to all students and alumni, free of charge, for life.”
That’s right, there is absolutely no limit to the amount of time or help students and alumni can receive from the center. And it’s open to all Online, Nationwide, Evening and Day campus students. Though the physical center is located at the main campus in Columbia, Missouri, Gomez-Palacio states that he and his team are happy to work with students in-office, over the phone or via technology. The ultimate goal for the center is to speak in-depth with students and help them move toward their goals.
This personalized take on career services has led to countless success stories for CC alumni and current students. Lori Curtman ’15, who has a human services degree from the Lake of the Ozarks campus, credits the Career Services team with helping her find her current position at Head Start though an internship with Kid’s Harbor.
“I would recommend any student consider an internship for class credit because it allows the student to experience real work rather than just learning from a book,” Curtman said.
And the internship experience paid off for Douglas Chikono ’16 as well.
“I found [out] about the internship [at Great Circle] through the weekly email that Career Services sends to students,” Chikono said.
But Gomez-Palacio and his team don’t just help students find internships. They also make sure the internships are the right ones for each student.
“Not only does Career Services staff help you prepare for interviews and get the internship, they make sure to ask how you are doing at the internship,” Chikono added.
Christopher Harris ’18 seconded the sentiment.
“Career Services stayed in touch with me and made sure that everything was going the way that I had wanted it to.”
For Gomez-Palacio, aiding students with their career search was an accidental love.
“My plan after graduate school was to work in museums,” he said.
Moving from the east coast to mid-Missouri with his wife, Gomez-Palacio found Columbia College five years ago, and he says he’s enjoyed every moment of it since. And though he commits time to various committees and campus initiatives, Gomez-Palacio still finds time to work with CC students and alumni on a daily basis.
“Frequently students are unsure about what they can do with a specific degree or which academic area is the best match for their aspired career,” he said.
The result is students receive one-on-one sessions with Career Center staff complete with brainstorming, updated LinkedIn profiles, completed graduate school applications and learned interview techniques. The main campus also hosts a career fair with nearly 70 local and national employers eager to hire new graduates.
The success of the Career Center is obvious in the number of satisfied (and employed) students and alumni. But for the center’s director, it’s about more than just statistics.
“It’s very gratifying to work with our diverse student body of traditional, nontraditional and military students – to hear their stories and work with them to move toward their aspirations,” Gomez-Palacio said.
To set up an appointment with Dan Gomez-Palacio or a member of his team, contact the Grossnickle Career Services Center at 573-875-7425 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be found via their website and on Facebook and Twitter.