BEREA, Ohio — Summer 2020 looks different for so many college students.
In this Rebound report, we take a look at how Baldwin Wallace University is helping link students up with jobs — and the experience they’ll need down the road.
Inside one lab on a relatively quiet campus, every glance inside a microscope is something learned.
“Definitely helpful to have something meaningful to do, something to think about that’s physical and intellectual and I don’t feel like I’m wasting my summer,” said Abigail Cox, a sophomore at BW.
The students, alongside Dr. Kathryn Flynn, are studying tree rings from the North Chagrin Reservation.
“We can see if there have been any climate changes, any other kind of disturbances in the forest, so it’s a way to see how old-growth forests function with natural disturbances,” explained junior Madison Dolnicek.
In the field, they stay six feet apart and wear masks — same deal in the lab.
And the goal, pandemic or not, is to make sure students don’t miss out on crucial learning experiences.
“One of my students wants to be a doctor, the other wants to go to environmental science,” said Dr. Flynn. “But it gives them a chance to exercise their creativity and ingenuity and problem solving and really just develop the skills of thinking like a scientist.”
Like every other college in America, Baldwin Wallace had to rethink research projects, internships, and job placements for thousands of students.
But, they also found COVID-19 actually created some opportunities that didn’t exist before.
“This morning our Spanish majors were hired by the Cleveland Department of Health to translate medical information for the Hispanic community to prevent deaths,” said Patrick Keebler, the director of career services.
Nursing students were also hired by a local museum to help them reopen in a coronavirus compliant manner.
Even so, Keebler said right now, they’re seeing about double the amount of recent grads still looking for work.
“I think it takes a little more work but the opportunities are definitely there,” he said. “I checked our system this morning, there are currently 230 part-time jobs. Over 100 internships still available.”
And Keebler said it is important to keep reminding students — don’t overlook any employment opportunities.
“Even if it is not a job that requires a college degree, working right now is a great experience because it shows you can function in a challenging situation,” Keebler said. “And it’s going to reflect well for you down the road when people see that you took initiative to work during this very difficult period.”
The university is working remotely with students all summer long to get their resumes ready — and making sure they get lots of practice interviewing virtually.