The Harry C. Piper Center for Vocation and Career provides resources and experiences designed to help students leverage their liberal arts education to achieve their full potential. Piper Center staff and programs help students:
- Identify their values, interests, skills and abilities
- Understand how their skills relate to professional life
- Explore a wide variety of careers that best leverage their skills and interests
- Develop and pursue a sustainable plan for life after college
The Piper Center innovatively strives to equip St. Olaf students with resources for achieving immediate and life-long career success. The Piper Center aims to raise student awareness of its personnel, programs and career management tools and strengthen student preparedness for transitions after college by increasing participation in vocational discernment and professional development activities. This is accomplished through continuous collaboration with faculty, staff, parents, alumni, employers, and community partners. The Piper Center aspires to become a hallmark of the St. Olaf student experience.
The Piper Center empowers students to achieve life-long career success by committing to the following:
- We provide first-class vocational and career resources to St. Olaf students and alumni.
- We offer high quality one-on-one career coaching with highly trained staff and student advisors.
- We maintain the highest level of confidentiality throughout all of our services.
- We build and maintain strategic relationships with employers, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and donors in order to maximize opportunities for students and alumni.
- We provide equal access to internships, externships, fellowships, and job opportunities for all students.
- We view our services and programs as critical components of the St. Olaf student experience.
The Piper Center is comprised of five program areas offering a host of opportunities for students to discern their vocation and gain career-related experience while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Within each program are initiatives that promote the Piper Center’s mission to “provide resources and experiences designed to help students leverage their liberal arts education to achieve their full potential.” The Piper Center is a resource center for students, providing information and assistance to help determine vocational goals and devise well-informed post-graduation plans.
Career Education and Coaching — Career coaches help students develop, implement, and evaluate career and life plans while collaborating with academic departments to integrate concepts of career development into courses of study. Career Education workshops and events are designed to help students identify their vocation and refine their professional skills. From vocational discernment exercises, to mock interviews and salary negotiation, Piper Center events and workshops provide the tools to guide students toward a meaningful career or post-graduate opportunity.
Internships and Civic Engagement — These programs support students in applying classroom learning and developing professional skills. Students utilize services and resources available through the Internship program to identify and prepare for structured educational work experiences. Piper Center staff work closely with faculty members to develop tools and strategies that encourage students to set learning goals and derive meaning from their credit and non-credit internship experiences. The Civic Engagement program helps connect the classroom with the community – linking students with civic and service opportunities in local, domestic and international contexts. Collaboration between the Piper Center, faculty members, and community partners enhances learning and encourages students to develop the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to become engaged citizens.
Recruiting and Outreach — Throughout the year, students have the opportunity to interact with alumni and employers through on-campus and virtual recruiting, information sessions, job and internship fairs, and networking events. Piper Center staff facilitate numerous on and off campus career and networking events where students can take advantage of the vast network of St. Olaf alumni and other supporters living and working locally, domestically and abroad.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship — The Innovation and Entrepreneurship program promotes creativity among students, faculty, and alumni toward the goal of transforming society. Dedicated to education, research, and service within the liberal arts, the program supports student creativity through innovation grants, courses, internships, business plan development, start-up support, and networking events.
Postgraduate Scholarships and Fellowships — In close collaboration with faculty and academic departments, the Piper Center offers strategic guidance to students applying for competitive postgraduate scholarships and fellowships, such as Fulbright, Marshall, National Science Foundation, Rhodes, Rotary, and others. Faculty liaisons assist students with the discernment process and advise on best practices for assembling a competitive application.