Flagler College’s Career Development Center: success and student impact

Photo by Kelsey Hearns.

By Kelsey Hearns

With a free açaí bowl in one hand and a goodie bag in the other, Flagler’s 2024 Spring career expo was a hit for students. The Career Development Center (CDC) held a Career and Graduate School Expo on March 6 in Flagler College’s student center.

The career expo is held to invite recruiters and universities so students can network and build connections with employers in hopes of securing an internship or job opportunity. 

The CDC helps college students achieve their goals through special events like the Career and Graduate School Expo. This year’s career expo was highly successful, with 281 students registered through Saints Connect and over 80 employers and graduate schools in attendance.

Students at the Career Expo walk with goodie bags while discovering the employment and graduate opportunities provided by the Career Development Center. Photo by Kelsey Hearns.

The CDC is a career counseling office located on the second floor of the student center. Their mission is to empower Flagler College students and alumni by providing comprehensive resources, fostering connections and holding events to help them succeed.

Vernita Bowens, director of the CDC, leads the office with grace. She meets with students one-on-one to discuss their aspirations and holds events that get students out of their dorm rooms and involved.

The annual Career and Graduate School Expo occurred on March 6 with over 80 employers and graduate school programs to choose from. Photo by Kelsey Hearns.

The fan-favorite Career and Graduate School Expo began before Bowens’ arrival in 2017.

“The career expo offers students a chance to prepare for the real world,” Bowens said. “My favorite part is walking around and seeing students talking to recruiters and having those engaging conversations. I love to see them laughing and talking; it’s so genuine.” 

The CDC was once a one-woman show but Bowens now shares the office with Alec Spicer, the CDC’s assistant director. 

Spicer was recently appointed, transitioning his background from Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) to Flagler. Spicer arrived just in time for the expo and has enjoyed his experience thus far. 

“My first career expo was great. The Career Development Center has been a marvelous experience,” Spicer said. “My ideas have been welcomed at the CDC office and I cannot wait to put them in motion for the betterment of our students. Consequently, I believe that my experience will only get better.” 

Despite being new to the office, Spicer already has plentiful goals to impact the institution and its students. 

“I am fortunate to be in a position in which I can meet with students directly and impact their college experience by providing resources they may be unaware of,” Spicer said. “I look forward to getting to know the students and assisting them in their professional endeavors.” 

The office offers valuable resources: a career closet where students can pick one professional outfit for free per semester and Handshake appointments for résumé building and employment opportunities. 

Both Bowens and Spicer are looking forward to the future of the office. The career expo and the CDC as a whole have vast potential for growth at Flagler. 

“In the future, we will integrate more advanced technology and focus on developing skills for emerging industries such as AI, renewable energy and biotechnology,” Bowens said. “As far as the career expo, we will add other expos such as graduate, law and volunteer.” 

The office’s success is owed to Bowens, as her effort to benefit the lives of each student is memorable and worth navigating. 

The CDC will continue crafting success stories as a personable outlet for students. It is a resource every student should take advantage of during their time at Flagler. 

“I realize that having interpersonal relationships and getting to know students is what separates this institution from bigger universities, which makes it a hidden gem,” Spicer said.

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