2019 Raven Program Just in Time for 2020 Troubles

The coronavirus crisis is terrible luck for seniors facing their departure from college and entrance into the job market. But the Raven Walk at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, came just in time.

Benedictine launched the career services platform last year, making it easy for students to schedule video appointments with the college’s career services office, alumni mentors, and prospective employers.

The Leaven newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City-Kansas recently spotlighted the platform and the work of Megan Dougherty, director of Career Service at Benedictine College.

Dougherty told the paper that students have not had full-time job offers rescinded that she has seen; the more likely problem is the interview process coming to a sudden halt.

That is what happened to Grace Hernandez, a Benedictine senior studying education.

She was student teaching when the COVID-19 crisis hit.

“I don’t have a job lined up,” she said. “I was in a good place with a couple of schools — we were both interested in each other — before everything hit.

Now, “Everything feels kind of on hold right now,” she said.

The school recently launched a webinar series to help students navigate this tough time, giving them resources about job searching during a pandemic and building their interviewing and other skills.

“We go through how they can follow up in a way that shows interest but also understanding,” Dougherty said.

“There are still companies out there hiring,” she told the Leaven. “But there are some industries as a whole that students have been looking at that, unfortunately, aren’t going to be options for the time being.”

The RavenWalk platform helps connect nearly 1,000 alumni with nearly 1,000 students, hundreds of faculty, staff and employees, and dozens more friends of Benedictine.

For example, Will Vinton graduated last year with an International Business and Finance major. RavenWalk gave Will the  David McClain ’91 and Patrick Carr ’94.

McClain is the Chief Operating Office for Ammbrtech, which develops wireless telecommunications solutions for global deployment in underdeveloped areas of the world. He said he had a great conversation with Will. “Now, more than ever, students need a helping hand.”

Patrick Carr and is President & COO at History & Heraldry USA,  a company with operations in over 60 countries, spanning 30 languages and selling over 400,000,000 gifts worldwide over the last 20 years. Carr helped Will see the power not just of networking, but of remembering names, seeking common ground and following up with new contacts.

Students are looking for those kinds of answers. For marketing and finance senior Kyle Lauterwasser, the situation is a major stressor.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.