By Anna Garbowski
Special to Niagara Frontier Publications
Niagara University is a liberal arts school, which was founded in 1856. The college was created by the Vincentian community, and carries out the Christian values of service and helping others. Niagara University has given impeccable education to students for over 100 years and continues to do so today.
Not only does Niagara University give students the education they are looking for, but the university takes great pride in helping students prepare for their life outside of the university. With over 80 majors and multiple custom programs, Niagara University helps all students find internships, mentors, and connect with future employers.
Niagara University has an on-campus career center located in Bailo Hall. The career services office offers many options for students to prepare for future jobs and interviews. Michael Skowronski, assistant director of career services, on a daily basis, helps students construct their resumes, cover letters, and practice interviews.
He also introduces students to online tools the school offers, such as Handshake and LinkedIn. These platforms are for students to build their online professional brand, and connect with employers. Students can look for current job placements all over the country, and network with future employers.
I asked Michael what his goal is for students after graduation and he said, “The bottom line is to leave Niagara with a job; that’s the end game.”
Students are encouraged to utilize career services starting from when they are a freshman. Most students do not engage until they are in their junior or senior year, but freshman and sophomores are introduced to their opportunities through their classes and campus events.
The university hosts multiple on campus events for students to meet employers. One of the largest events is the annual career expo held in March, where there have been 94-125 employers ready to hire students from various majors for internships, part-time or full-time positions.
Niagara has employer introductions for all majors, including other events such as teacher recruitment day, the internship fair, “Meet Accounting and Finance Night,” and “lunch and learn” employer info sessions.
Stephanie Morris, the executive director of career services, said their mission at career services is to, “Help students to achieve their goals.”
Career services helps students build their resumes and write cover letters, along with giving practice interviews. Students can practice interviews in person, virtually or on the phone – for all types of scenarios – which help with tone of voice, and professional body language.
Not only does Niagara University help students sound and act professionally, but also helps them to look the part. Last spring, career services added a professional closet where alumni have donated their clothes. When a student has an interview or event, and they do not have the means to buy suits or blouses, career services lets them pick out an outfit and keep it for future use.
Morris added, “placement rate of students employed or going to grad school, six months after graduation, is 98%.”
Placement rate at Niagara University is high because the school gives students the opportunity to get jobs in their field of study while getting their education. Niagara University not only brings employers to campus, but also gives direct contact with mentors and internships.
Niagara University has many clubs and organizations that give students the resources to network with professionals in their field. Kristina Bradshaw, assistant to the dean of hospitality, said leadership clubs such as CMAA, SMA and HTA help to get hospitality students connected with mentors in country clubs, and sport and hotel management. These clubs also travel to places all over the U.S. for conferences, where students can network with employers from all over the country. Every student in the club is encouraged to get an internship, which often times turns into a permanent job.
I asked Bradshaw her thoughts on if students use these opportunities of mentors, internships and career events to their advantage for graduating. She said, “Definitly. It’s why students come here; they not only get job experience, but internships and jobs they really want and love.”
A student who has used the opportunities from Niagara University to maximize success is Gabriella Ortiz. She is the president of the 2022 class, and president of the Club Managers Association of America. Ortiz started her journey at Niagara.
“Freshman year, I used career services to help me fix up my resume and do a mock interview before my first interview with a country club,” she said.
In her freshman year, Ortiz said career services recommended learning how to sit in a professional interview and start building her resume. She also joined CMAA, a leadership club for hospitality students.
“Through CMAA, I was able to have three internships in different cities,” Ortiz said. “One as an event management intern in Rochester, one as a club management intern in Ohio, and then one as a pool snack bar manager in Virginia.”
With these internships, Ortiz was able to gain on-the-job experience, mentors, and personal recommendations. CMAA also involves its students in conferences to meet employers all over the country with information sessions.
“I was able to learn how to be a better manager and a better leader. Also, at these conferences I was able to network with managers all over the country who were able to give me advice and some of who became my mentor,” she said.
Career services were able to set Ortiz up for success, and Niagara’s leadership club opportunities allowed her to get her career in motion. With internships and mentors guiding students, they are able to get real job experience in their field to prepare them for after graduation.
For incoming students to the university, the Niagara website is extremely helpful. The career services page explains what programs, events and online tools can be accessed, as well as information inquires to Morris and Skowronski.
The Niagara University website, at www.niagara.edu/career/, can be used to explore the college’s academics, life on campus, and services. Career services are only one of the many tools that the university provides to aid students in being successful.
Niagara University uses all of its resources, through staff and alumni, to provide opportunities for students to engage in their future. Through building resumes, practice interviews, mentors, internships and employer events, Niagara helps students prepare for obtaining jobs. Niagara University focuses on setting students up for success – not only while in school, but for their life after graduation.
Niagara Frontier Publications works with the Niagara University communication studies department to publish the capstone work of students in CMS 120A-B.
These articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of NFP, NU or the communication studies department. Moreover, every effort has been made to adhere to the principles of journalism, encourage the proper use of sources, and discourage anything that would constitute plagiarism.
Comments or concerns can be sent to the NFP editorial department, care of the managing editor.