Wesleyan College honored the graduating Class of 2020 during commencement exercises Saturday, May 16. In order to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was a virtual celebration enjoyed by our seniors, members of their families, friends, and the Wesleyan family watching from devices all over the country and from around the world instead of being held in Porter Auditorium. A special Zoom session live-streamed baccalaureate services.
Each year, the Center for Career Development (CCD) asks graduating seniors to report on their near-future plans by completing a Next Step Survey. The vast majority of these 104 Wesleyan College graduates, including both December 2019 and May 2020 graduates, completed the survey. Even in the middle of a pandemic, this year's graduates reported a slightly higher rate of initial career outcomes (full-time employment or graduate school enrollment) compared to last year’s graduates.
Many of our May 2020 graduates are continuing directly to graduate programs this coming fall at institutions that include Columbia University (master of music education), New York University (master of integrated marketing), Chatham University (master of counseling psychology), Weber International University (master of business administration, concentration in sports business management), The New School (master of music in piano performance), the University of Minnesota, Twin-Cities (Ph.D. in chemistry), and the University of New Orleans (Ph.D. in applied biopsychology).
Graduates are already moving on to full-time employment at organizations including Amazon, Girls, Inc., Navicent Medical Center, Primary Pediatrics, Coliseum Medical Center, Houston Healthcare Emergency Center, Grady Memorial Hospital, Piedmont Hospital, ScribeAmerica, Tipton, Marler, Garner, & Chastain (CPA), The Methodist Home for Children and Youth, the United Nations Development Programme in Santiago, Chile, and at schools in Bibb, Houston, and Peach Counties. Several of these full-time employment opportunities occurred as a result of graduates completing internships at those companies.
Several students reported that their post-graduation plans were significantly affected (rescinded or delayed) by COVID-19. Notably, had COVID-19 not occurred, 68% of graduates for whom we know outcomes would have been employed full-time or enrolled in graduate school immediately upon graduating. This rate would have been higher than the corresponding at-graduation outcomes for the last two years of graduates (7% higher than 2019 grads, and 4.5% higher than 2018 grads). While we cannot ignore the devastating effects of the pandemic on the economy, these numbers indicate that our recent graduates are especially well-prepared for the job market. Notably, the class of 2020 is the first graduating class to have experienced four years of intentional career development through Wesleyan’s From Here to Career four-year plan. Under this initiative, all undergraduates learn about career exploration techniques, complete an intensive experiential learning opportunity, and take a strategic career preparation course. The CCD collaborates closely with faculty, staff, and alumnae to ensure that students are exposed to career preparation in accessible, relevant ways during each year at Wesleyan. The CCD is providing intentional outreach and support to all recent graduates still seeking their next steps.
As our Wesleyannes look toward and prepare for their futures, our alumnae are in a unique position to give back to the next generation of leaders. Recently, the CCD and the Alumnae Office partnered to launch an alumnae mentor platform through Purple Briefcase. The mentor platform facilitates professional connections between current Wesleyan students and alumnae who are willing to share industry knowledge and resources with students at various stages of students’ career exploration. Through this platform, alumnae users can post employment opportunities (such as jobs and internships), as well as indicate interest in engaging with students via the mentorship platform. Alumnae can choose to help with informational interviews, resume reviews, job shadows, mock interviews, and long-term mentoring relationships. To connect with recent graduates and current students, please visit: https://www.wesleyancollege.edu/studentlife/career/career-development-alumnae.cfm or contact Stephanie Baugh, director of career development (478-757-5224; firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you or someone you know are interested in hiring a Wesleyan student as an intern or full-time employee, please contact Mallory Neil, assistant director of career development (478) 757-5209; email@example.com.
Barring any changes by the government, the College is planning physically distanced commencement ceremonies with limited attendance in Porter Auditorium on August 7th and 8th.
The schedule is as follows:
7:00pm | Friday, August 7 Nursing pinning and commencement ceremony
10:00am | Saturday, August 8 Graduate Students (M.Ed. and MBA) commencement ceremony
1:00pm | Saturday, August 8 Business, education, and biology majors commencement ceremony
3:00pm | Saturday, August 8 Fine arts, humanities, and social science majors commencement ceremony