U departments aim to broaden students’ career options

The Spanish and Portuguese Department will begin career assistance panels Friday.

Whether they are facing a daunting 8.1 percent Minnesota unemployment rate upon graduation or not, finding a job after college has always been a concern for students. In an attempt to meet this problem head-on, the University of MinnesotaâÄôs Spanish and Portuguese Department will follow in the footsteps of many other school programs, hosting an alumni panel this Friday at noon in room 140 in the Nolte Center for continuing education. The panel will feature University alumni talking to Spanish majors about possible career options after they receive their degrees. Those sitting on the panel will represent a wide variety of jobs, such as government employees and businesspeople. The decision to create the event came after department academic adviser Maryanne Williams said students continuously asked what they would be able to do should they graduate with a bachelorâÄôs in Spanish. Williams said she wanted students to see how marketable the degree could be. âÄúWe wanted to make students think how useful and transferrable skills from a CLA major are,âÄù Williams said. Williams acknowledged teaching as a common pathway after college for Spanish majors, but wants students to know there are many more options, and University alumnus Tom Romens is proof. A graduate with a doctorate in Hispanic Linguistics and a masterâÄôs in Spanish, Romens now works for the Minnesota Economics department as the director of audit and special accounts. Romens, who will be speaking on the panel Friday, said Spanish majors are very helpful for a person looking to work for the government. While Romens has found success with his degrees, he said that just a degree without any work experience will make it hard to find a job. He added that it is also essential to have some background in the field a graduate wishes to pursue. Although some people may be wary of a major in Spanish or English, Rebecca Aylesworth , an academic adviser for the English department, said it is most important for students to pick the major they want. âÄúStudents who choose a major they enjoy will be more successful,âÄù Aylesworth said, adding that she thinks parents play a large factor in steering a studentâÄôs major choice. While the English department has offered a similar event for a number of years, Aylesworth said this year the department moved to make it a part of the curriculum. English students are now required to go to a âÄúWhat Can I Do with A Major in English?âÄù session for their 3001, Textual Analysis course. âÄúThis type of event can benefit all students,âÄù Aylesworth said. With 41 students already registered for FridayâÄôs event, Williams said she hopes it will be the first of many. âÄúThe doors are wide open,âÄù Williams said of career opportunities after college. âÄúIt just takes a little research.âÄù