By Powell Wright
This year, the Becker Career Center is introducing the Union Career Advisory Network (UCAN) to the alumni community. UCAN is a new 24-hour service that allows alumni and friends of Union College to volunteer to talk to students about future career insights or graduate school interests. Senior Associate Director of Becker Pete Fowler answered some questions about UCAN.
What is it? And how can students gain access?
UCAN is a searchable database of approximately 7000 alumni who have offered to share information and advice relative to their Career and/or graduate school interests. The UCAN database is exclusive to Union College students and alumni and is accessible through the Union College Alumni Online Community.
How did the idea for UCAN begin?
The previous alumni database was only accessible from inside the Career Center. The Career Center frequently heard from both students and alumni that they wanted access to this database outside the office. In working with College Relations we identified a product that could be utilized in conjunction with their Alumni Online Community. By partnering with College Relations, we are able to provide students access to UCAN and upon graduation there would be a seamless transition to this and other services provided by Alumni Relations.
What is the overall goal in mind for UCAN?
The overall goal of UCAN is to provide networking database that provides greater access for both students and alumni. In addition, alumni who are willing to serve as a Volunteer Career Advisors would now have direct control over managing their profile, which in turn should lead to maintaining more accurate information on our alumni volunteers.
So far, how many students have successfully used this service?
We have close to 100 students who have completed the UCAN orientation and now have access. We have heard from a few students who have arranged informational interviews with alumni and their feedback has been very positive.
What can alumni expect to receive from this new resource?
Alumni will have access to a searchable database of alumni who are willing to share information and advice relative to their career and/or graduate school interests. Alumni will use this database to secure informational interviews with [other] alumni so they can acquire knowledge about career fields of interest and build genuine relationships with alumni professionals, increasing the likelihood of securing an opportunity to which they are well suited. Alumni serving as Volunteer Career Advisors can manage their profile information as they advance in their careers.
What can students expect to receive from this new resource?
Once students complete the UCAN orientation they will have access to a searchable database of alumni who are willing to share information and advice relative to their Career and/or graduate school interests.