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First Year to Career

About First Year to Career:

Welcome to the Office of Counseling and Career Services at Ursuline College.  You don’t realize it now, but the next few years are going to fly by.  You’ll be spending a lot of time in class – as you should – but at the same time you need to get ready for life after college. The First Year To Career Program is here to help you do that.  First Year to Career allows students to explore career and college major options, develop and sharpen professional skills, learn about opportunities with top Cleveland companies, and work in a micro-internship!

So what are you waiting for?  Explore your values, find your voice, and create a vision for your future by joining the First Year to Career cohort today!

Want to be a member of First Year to Career?

Applications will be distributed during Welcome Week and are also available in the Student Affairs Center in Mullen 130. 

First Year to Career in Action:

In an inherently competitive job market, The Office of Career and Counseling Services has made it a priority to work with a motivated group of freshmen students to help them receive preparation for life after college. The First Year to Career Program, supported by OCCS, allows students to explore career and college major options, develop and sharpen professional skills, learn about opportunities with top Cleveland companies, and work in a micro-internship.

Some of these motivated freshmen include: Natalie Nowicki, Katelyn Hopton, Tanea Hamilton, and Laci Gross. We caught up with them to gain some insight on their personal experiences.

Biology Major and Ursuline Lacrosse freshman Natalie Nowicki jumped right into action with Ursuline’s Head Athletic Trainer, Cathy Rook. Reflecting on her experience, Nowicki notes, “I really enjoyed my internship here with Cathy. My career of interest is Physical Therapy, and I love the cross over from Athletic Training.” Nowicki, like many of the other First Year to Career cohort have attended events to help refine professional skills, including resume workshops and activities relating to business ethics. Natalie Nowicki continues, “I would suggest First Year to Career to everyone. It has really helped me feel more comfortable and excited about my career in Physical Therapy”.

Aspiring Nurse Katelyn Hopton completed her micro-internship at University Hospitals. Hopton first landed a connection with UH through a Networking Event hosted by OCCS. The First Year to Career students met with many local organizations to see which firm was the correct fit for them. Hopton, who gravitated towards UH, reflects on her experience: "It showed me that this is the right career path for me to take. I've been so impressed with each of the patient’s determination in physical therapy and occupational therapy. The staff has been so welcoming and have been helpful in answering all my questions.  Their priority is to make sure the patients are comfortable while they are recovering. Most patients are here recovering for weeks sometimes months." After such a pleasurable experience, Katelyn is determined to reach her Career Goal of earning a BSN by 2020.

Tanea Hamilton, who is also studying nursing, completed her micro-internship at UH’s MacDonald Women’s Hospital. Reflecting on her experience, Tanea notes, “This experience has been fabulous, it's helped me prepare for when I start clinicals.  MacDonald feels like home and I've been able to see a variety of patients, such as women with high-risk pregnancies and new moms who are learning how to breastfeed”. Tanea was even mentored by Zina Hodge, an Ursuline Graduate from the class of ’85. Hamilton is feeling more confident than ever approaching her career goal of becoming a Nurse Educator by 2020.

Laci Gross had an awesome opportunity to complete her micro-internship for Dress For Success, a global non-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Gross, completing her first year majoring in Fashion Merchandising, states, “This experience has given me more confidence, I have grown a lot and I’m so happy to be giving back to the community and helping to empower women. This internship is a good fit with both my fashion merchandising and women's studies coursework”.

The Office of Counseling and Career Services is very proud of all the First Year to Career Members. OCCS looks forward to continuously providing support and guidance to these students as they advance through their undergraduate careers.


Clay Fellows – Sophomore Historic Preservation Major

“My experience has further opened my eyes to the importance of community in preserving cultural memory. Completing my micro-internship with the Unionville Tavern Preservation Society has helped to confirm my love for historic preservation and has fueled my motivation to pursue this career. I plan to continue volunteering with the Old Tavern and I hope to have many more internships with various preservation projects and museums to gain more experience and make connections. The best part of my experience in First Year to Career was working with many wonderful people and being able to explore and research the Old Tavern to eventually share my findings. My involvement in saving the Old Tavern will continue to be one of my most favorite experiences.”

Ta’Doshya Jackson – Sophomore Nursing Major

“First Year to Career has helped me pave a way for myself and has helped to me to challenge myself. The program opened up my eyes so much and has made me want to further pursue my education.  My favorite workshop was the Resume building workshop.  It allowed me to spice things up a bit! I am also thankful for the interview practice that I did with Hannah Hardy.  Thanks to this, I interviewed and got a job as a Residents Care Assistant at Kemper House.”

Jake Loughner – Sophomore Art Therapy Major

“When it comes to career exploration, I believe that programs like First Year to Career should be implemented in high schools to encourage earlier decisions for course of study.  Coming to Ursuline I was already positive about what I wanted to study, but this has definitely validated those feelings for me.  My next steps would include further networking and building relationships with people in the art therapy field. “

Nikolina Filipovic – Sophomore Nursing Major

“The best part of First Year to Career was the way the workshops directly correlated with what we will experience during our career.  I enjoyed that they were hands on.  I really liked being able to create my resume because it essentially gave us a head start on our career.  The workshops were very well set up, and I took a lot from them!  After the career exploration workshop, I know I am still interested in nursing, and now I know how to continue down the right path to pursuing my goals.”

Meet our Career Coordinator

Michelle Bennett serves as Career Coordinator of Ursuline's First Year to Career initiative. Michelle comes to us from Cuyahoga Community College where she served at the TRIO Student Adviser at Lincoln-West High School. She brings a wealth of knowledge in effectively communicating with students in college preparation and connection with career resources. She earned a Master of Science in Education in Adult Learning and Development from Cleveland State University.

Many thanks to the Fenn Educational Fund of the Cleveland Foundation for funding Michelle’s position.