Stacy Marrow enjoyed her job with the Public Administration program, but she wanted more. With graduation from the Student Affairs Administration Master’s program looming, she was looking for a position that challenged her and allowed her to use her newfound mastery to create programs and opportunities for students. Then Dean Patricia Ingraham created a position that localized career assistance and international travel information for students at the University Downtown Center, tapping Marrow as the best candidate for this brand new office and its strategic initiatives. The Office of Career and International Programs for CCPA has gone from a good idea to a high impact office in just three short years. Stacy Marrow discusses some of what she has learned as a professional and practitioner, along with her vision for the future.
Stacy Marrow will tell you that Year One was discovery. “I needed some time to identify what the needs were, what we could do, and how to do it best,” she says. “We did a lot that first year.” Year Two was reflection. “I needed to reflect and understand what we did well, what worked, what was a good opportunity, but needed a little fine tuning for it to have the impact I would have wanted.” In Year Three, Marrow is now focusing on development: what does she need to be as strong as she wants to be in this role, and how can that take into consideration the needs of the growth of the department? This is presenting itself in a few distinct ways. One is a partnership with the Fleishman Center for Career Development, which has created a new level of support for CCPA students in their identification of internships and potential employers. “We now have a liaison, Dara Riegel, a Career Consultant with Fleishman, and she is working with us on CCPA specific initiatives.” Another is Marrow’s participation in a NASFA: Association of International Educators, working on the development of an international toolkit that will strengthen the opportunities and support that can be offered to students. One of Marrow’s visions is for a short trip option for students who work. “We have many part time students who work full time, and professional students; this would be a great opportunity for them to get international experience, without having to be gone from work or family responsibilities for too long.” The shorter term trips could be the length of a spring break, with foundational and reflective coursework, providing the study abroad experience that many non-traditional students and adult learners want. Though not necessarily as comprehensive as the traditional model of a semester abroad, these opportunities may help students see a common problem they encounter in a new light, participate in the rituals and customs of a culture, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
As Marrow is gearing up for the future, she articulates what helped her get to this point. “I was given a lot of autonomy in this position, and I think that, as scary as that was at the time, I had the tools to make this office what it needs to be.” With Marrow’s vision, this office has gone from a good idea to a great resource for students who are ready to implement their CCPA education domestically and internationally, for the greater good.