Eleven Houghton College students recently travelled to Washington, DC, to network with professionals and learn about postgraduate employment opportunities. The trip, sponsored by a partnership between the Vocational Office and Career Advising (VOCA) and Alumni Engagement offices, gave current Houghton students an opportunity to explore potential career paths while experiencing what it is like to live and work in one of the nation’s busiest cities.

The nation’s capital is a hub for many large international organizations and businesses, making it an excellent location for young professionals. During their stay the students gained exposure to a variety of fields, from development to public health to human resources.

They also met with successful Houghton alumni, including:

  • Mike Danylak ’09, press secretary at the U.S. Senate
  • Emily Dunham ’03, executive director of Ball Park Enterprises – Washington Nationals
  • Bretta Hixson ’10, technical IRTA at the National Institute of Health
  • Sophie (Huber) Savage ’10, communication manager for the Institute of Reproductive Health at Georgetown University
  • David Long ’90, a senior business/organizational development consultant at CGH Technologies
  • Bill McLeod ’89, executive director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets
  • Craig Proulx ’76, vice president of ADS Corporation, working on contracts with the U.S. Navy
  • Charles Thompson ’78, recruiter for Ultra Electronics – 3 Phoenix
  • Bill Wichterman ’86, senior legislative adviser at Covington & Burling LLP and former special assistant to former President George W. Bush
  • Eric ’93 and Lisa (Farringer ’92) Witte, senior international affairs specialist and deputy program office director, respectively, at the U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Rod Woodruff ’72, retired information technology manager at Exxon Mobil

Each student individually consulted with influential professionals who critiqued resumes, shared valuable career advice, and prayed with students.

Kim Pool, the director of VOCA, emphasized that networking is a crucial skill in today’s job market. “Hiring in general is on the rise and more employers plan to hire recent college grads in 2016,” she said. “However, increased hiring obviously doesn’t guarantee employment. Grads must still learn how to maximize their marketability and network to land a job.”

Justin Hatch ’17, Elizabeth Houseman ’17, Chandler Jones ’17, John Kopicky ’18, Natalie Lima ’17, Daniel Merriam ’17, Rebekah Potts ’17, Jessica Register ’17, Jackson Wheeler ’17, Emily Wing ’18, and Jenny Zacchigna ’17 joined Pool and Jessica Jennings ’08 on the trip.