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Bearcat Promise Career Studio recognizes seven graduating seniors

group photo of peer coach staff

Peer coaching staff photographed in late 2019, including five of the seven who are graduating this spring. Front row: Kayleigh Brown, Prerna Gandhi, Saachi Sharma, Saira Matthews. Back row: Shannon Lehwald, Kayla French, Poornima Gopalan, Cameron Beck, Hannah Feltz, Mya Jones. Not pictured: JR Nixon, Rachel Bloom. Photo/provided.

Seven of 11 peer career coaches in the Bearcat Promise Career Studio at the University of Cincinnati graduate this spring – the largest-ever “class” to graduate.

Peer career coaches help fellow students in the Bearcat Promise Career Studio with job and co-op search questions, job applications, resumes, CVs, cover letters, references, interviews, and more. Students trust their advice because peer coaches are, well, peers. Peer coaches provide personal attention, sound advice and relevant resources.

Peer career coach supervisor Shannon Lehwald is sad to see these seniors go, but she believes they are “incredible people who will do great things in life. I have seen them grow so much, and they’ve taught me many things as well. They have embraced change with grace and humor and have left a legacy that will positively impact future peer career coaches and the students we serve.”

Rachel Bloom, Psychology

Rachel was one of the first peer career coaches. She considers herself lucky to have been part of growing this program and watching it develop over the last few years. Her experience has confirmed her passion for helping others succeed and reach their goals.

Saira Matthews, Neuroscience and Psychology

Saira’s role as a peer career coach has helped her develop skills that she will use in her future career as an educator. She values the opportunity to connect with peers and effectively communicate the importance of career education both one-on-one and in group presentations.

James (JR) Nixon, Marketing

JR drew on his co-op and campus leadership experience to share with fellow students his tips for career fairs, interviews, finding jobs and updating resumes. His contributions include directing the Studio’s promotional video and creating an interview preparation guide.

Kayleigh Brown, Psychology

During Kayleigh’s three semesters as a peer career coach, she has enjoyed walking with fellow students along their career path. She values her experience and calls the job “extremely fulfilling.”

Prerna Gandhi, Business Analytics and Information Systems

Prerna has had a positive impact on others’ lives by helping them develop their personal brand. She has enjoyed sharing her experiences and learning from a diverse group of fellow students.

Saachi Sharma, Communication and Organizational Leadership

As a peer career coach, Saachi learned how career development can play a crucial role in one’s academic and professional career. She helped students improve their resumes and cover letters and advised on many other topics. This experience has helped her realize what she wants to pursue in her own career.

Cameron Beck, Chemical Engineering

In this role, Cameron has been able to develop himself professionally as well as watch other students grow. “It has been very rewarding to be able to help others with this specialized knowledge,” he says.

Peer coaching history

Peer career coaching started in Fall 2017 to supplement the few professional career coaches at UC. At that time, four peer coaches operated out of an awkward space on the seventh floor of the Steger Student Life Center.

In November 2019, the expanded staff of 11 peer coaches and four professional coaches moved to a more visible and comfortable space on the 300 Level of Tangeman University Center (TUC), now called the Bearcat Promise Career Studio.

Since the move, use of the Studio’s services has increased, and the staff can host workshops and events that weren’t possible before.

While peer career coaches break for the summer, professional career coaches continue to see students by appointment year-round. With the restrictions on close contact, students can meet with their career coach virtually using video conferencing, telephone and email. In addition, Career Studio staff are working to build out more online resources that students can use anytime, anywhere.

The Bearcat Promise Career Studio is a space for students to explore careers and plan for life after college. Its staff are part of the division of Experience-Based Learning and Career Education, which facilitates real-world work experiences for students, teaches students to prepare for their professional lives, and provides career services to students and alumni. In addition, the division connects employers and external partners with the talent they seek in a variety of arrangements both inside and outside the classroom.

Feature image at top: Some members of the Bearcat Promise Career Studio staff. Front row: Shannon Lehwald, Hannah Feltz, Prerna Gandhi, Mya Jones. Back row: Poornima Gopalan, Taylor Oetjen, Charlie Thornton, Ellie Bridges. Photo/Emily Sullivan.

Career Resources at UC