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10 Reasons to Like this Course

Students try out jobs before graduating.

Illustration: Michele McCammon

By Diana Aguilera

When Hayley Hodson, ’19, returned to Stanford after studying abroad at Oxford, she felt a bit lost. An English major, she questioned what her career path would be after graduation. 

“I thought, ‘OK, what am I going to do with my life,’ essentially,” Hodson says. “I was trying to figure out how to prepare for life after college and what sort of things a humanities major could even do.”

Gearing up for spring quarter, Hodson registered for 10 Jobs in 10 Weeks: Leveraging Your Liberal Arts Career. In the course, students explore different career fields by interacting directly with Stanford alumni from a wide range of industries. John O’Neill, assistant dean of career education and associate director of career communities, and Danielle Wood, associate dean of career education and director of career catalysts, teach the course, which was developed in partnership with the School for Humanities and Sciences.

Each week, two to three Stanford alumni present an overview of their industry to the class. They discuss varying roles within their field and conduct a hands-on project pulled from their typical workday. Undergraduates can ask the alumni about their work, their background and their Stanford experiences. 

“This class gives students the opportunity to actively prototype a lot of different versions of themselves, a community with which to do it, and alumni to inspire them,” Wood says.

Alumna Pam Geist, ’08, MA ’09, recently returned to campus as a guest speaker. For Geist, a brand manager at Procter & Gamble in Ohio, it was a rare opportunity to give back to her alma mater. 

“It was fulfilling to see that there’s an amazing group of both faculty members and students who are continuing to elevate the importance of the humanities and the value of a liberal arts education,” Geist says.

After each presentation, students write reflections about what they learned and whether it changed their perception of certain industries. Hodson, a self-described “fuzzie,” says the course allowed her to learn more about lesser-known industries and encouraged her to follow her passion for film production. 

“I think it gave me the push I needed in a lot of ways,” she says. “I feel more confident in being able to tell my story—it made me realize what I want, what I need to learn and what I already have going for me.”

The Lineup

Companies and organizations that alums represented included:

Chronicle Books
Procter & Gamble
Precursor Ventures
City of Berkeley
Vargas Elementary School
The Minerva Project
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
ICA Fund Good Jobs
Blumhouse Television

Diana Aguilera  is a staff writer for STANFORD.

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