Job Shadow: A Transformational Student Experience

This spring, more than 50 undergraduate students participated in Vanguard University’s Job Shadow Program (JSP). The JSP provides students with hands-on experience and links students with professionals—many of whom are Vanguard alumni—in their desired industries.

“Our desire is that this program serves as an inclusive, educational experience to bridge the awareness gap between students and various professional industries,” said Director of Career Services Jennifer Smith. “This program is meant to serve as a tool to build a student’s confidence and expose them to opportunities designed to increase their social capital.” 

Through Job Shadow Program, students practice and enhance the skills necessary for their job choice and learn how professionals deal with demanding situations, resolve problems and manage their time. Students can ask questions about their industry and role to understand what the job involves and whether it is the right choice for them. 

“I was able to get great advice from my host by listening to his career and personal experiences. He encouraged me to look for mentors, be confident, and be persistent,” said Emmanuel Velazquez Sierra. “This experience helped me to have a better idea of what I should do after college and the steps I need to take to become successful.” 

The success of this year’s JSP shows its value not only for the students, but for the organizations and people who host them. The alumni who support the program provide a venue to engage with current students, connect with the University, and help build students’ professional networks. 

“Many of our alumni are excited to donate their valuable time to offer career support to their fellow Lions,” said Employee Relations Manager Juls Johnson. “We have talented alumni with a wealth of experience and skills to help support in work placements and help a current student launch their career.” 

“I had a great experience with [Psychology student]. I invited her to listen in on an assessment with a client, and she got the bonus of hearing an intervention with the client’s four-year-old daughter,” said Jeanette Beland, an employer participating in the program.

“Our hope is that next year’s Job Shadow Program will feature more majors represented in the shadowing opportunities,” said Johnson. “We desire that every student that leaves Vanguard would experience what it looks like firsthand to work in their career field and walk with confidence into the workplace.” 

Learn more about participating in next year’s program.