The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

L.E.O. Week presents job shadowing opportunities

Bre Goodwin

From Oct. 2 to 5, The University of North Alabama Career Center hosted L.E.O. Week, an opportunity for students to gain experience in various career fields through job shadowing. 

L.E.O. Week, which stands for “Learn, Experience and Obtain Career Competencies Through Externships,” was started last year by Natalie Morrow, who had seen other universities offer similar resources for students. 

“There’s always that push for more experiential learning opportunities for students, to help them gain more confidence in career and major choices, so it stemmed from something other people were doing,” Morrow said. “We thought, why can’t we do something similar here, to give students that on-the-ground experience?”

For this week to be possible, the Career Center had to first find employers who are willing to work with the university and students to give them the opportunity to shadow in a variety of fields. Thankfully, many employers were interested in participating, so Morrow was able to hold the first L.E.O. Week. 

“It can be intimidating to ask for a job shadowing opportunity, but what [students] don’t realize is the people that they’re shadowing with probably did the same thing, so everybody kind of gets it,” she said. “A lot of employers were just excited to be involved. A lot of our employers are alumni, so they’re always looking for opportunities to be involved with UNA.”

Because the previous fall semester was the first time L.E.O. Week was held, Morrow primarily promoted the event to freshmen and sophomores, as these students are more likely to be undecided on their majors. As the event gained more popularity, the word has spread, growing attendance throughout the university, with both undergraduate and graduate students being able to attend.

“It’s definitely something that I think will continue to grow,” she said. “I think students, when they learn about it, they seem to be into it and excited about it. The first year, we had a good amount, and this year, there’s a few more, so it’s just going to continue to get bigger.” 

This year, Dr. Rickey McCreless, the assistant director of external connections and student success, ran L.E.O. Week. 11 employers from various fields attended, giving students the opportunity to complete externships in areas they might be interested in. 

McCreless started by reaching out to the employers who previously expressed interest, and once the employers have established times that they are available for students to shadow, he creates a spreadsheet listing the time slots. Students are then able to sign up for the times they would like to meet with the employers and shadow. 

From there, the students visit the workers and watch their daily duties, allowing the students to see what a realistic day in that career would look like and decide if that field is of interest to them. This opportunity to shadow can help students to solidify their major choices and career plans.

McCreless strongly believes in the importance of students using this opportunity to find out more about career fields, both those they plan to enter and any they may be interested in, even if it does not align with their major or career path. 

“You don’t have to shadow an employer just because it might be a field that you would work in,” McCreless said. “You can just be interested and curious. It’s really just for curiosity and exploration.”

In addition to this, students are also able to build connections with future employers, which can benefit their job search upon graduating.

“Any kind of experiential learning is important,” Morrow said. “If you are interested in finance, but you’re not really sure what that looks like, it helps to be able to get that day-to-day experience. People can tell you, ‘This is what I do at my job,’ but to actually see it, to be in the environment, can really give students a better picture of if they can see themselves in that environment long-term. It’s also just a really great opportunity. Networking is so big. You can apply for as many jobs as you want, but if you have a network connection to somebody in that job, you’ve got a better chance. Starting to build that professional network system is crucial.”

L.E.O. Week takes place around the mid-way point of each semester. Students who are interested in participating in the spring should contact the Career Center for more information.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Kelley Peters
Kelley Peters, Managing Editor
Kelley is a junior from Tupelo, Miss. who is majoring in English literature with a minor in applied linguistics. She is currently Managing Editor for The Flor-Ala. She has loved reading for as long as she can remember, which developed her love of storytelling and the English language. Her career goal is to become an English professor at a university. She was previously a volunteer writer in the Fall of 2021, became a Staff Writer in January of 2022 and moved to being News Editor in January of 2023.
Bre Goodwin
Bre Goodwin, Former Lead Graphic Designer

Bre Goodwin is a junior majoring in Cinematic Arts & Theatre with a concentration in Acting. As a graphic designer for the Flor-Ala, she is passionate about art and the ways it can heal individuals and unite communities. She is from Leighton, Ala.

Comments (0)

All The Flor-Ala Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *