By Zachary Nelson
As students go through college, they get to explore their interests and discover new ones. For some students, however, picking what major to pursue can be a stressful choice. To help them decide what to study during college — and what career to pursue after graduation — the University of Washington Bothell has launched the Professional Pathways Panels.
“These are wide-open events to all majors from all class years. For new students, these panels can be used to explore different fields and pathways, and for more senior students they can be a way to network and identify opportunities for internships,” said Kimberly Wilson, interim director of the UW Bothell Office of Career Services.
The Professional Pathways Panels are a collaboration between career services and staff across campus working in advising, alumni engagement and University advancement. The goal is to offer students multiple opportunities to hear and speak with working professionals from a variety of fields.
The first event, held on Jan. 11, featured panelists from the tech industry and drew an enthusiastic crowd of students as well as alumni looking to advance their careers. The panelists answered prepared questions — How did they choose their majors? How did they enter the tech industry? — and then took questions from the audience.
“These were questions informed by student input that we felt held the most relevance to the panelists and attendees of coming to the event,” Wilson said. “We also wanted to give students the opportunity to talk with the panelists one on one.”
Panelist Daniel Lee (community psychology ‘17) enjoyed returning to UW Bothell to give back to his alma mater. Lee said he uses what he learned in college to help update the mobile app for Expedia. He also gives credit to UW Bothell for helping him develop the skills needed to thrive in the world of work.
“All my classes have prepared me for the work I do on a daily basis. I was able to find out what I was passionate about in psychology and pursue a degree in it,” Lee said. “The small class setting at UW Bothell is also very close to what you would get in a real workplace coordinating in teams.”
When asked about his career path, he explained that he didn’t follow the traditional path of going straight from high school into college. Instead, Lee joined the Air Force and later worked at Microsoft while he went to UW Bothell. He understands the challenges of going to school and work at the same time.
“I worked the night shift at Microsoft from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.,” Lee said. “I would then sleep in my car until class started at 8:45 a.m. I was determined to do whatever it took to accomplish my goals.”
Looking back on his journey, he also recalls with gratitude the tight-knit campus environment at UW Bothell that allowed him to get to know his classmates and professors.
“I appreciate the faculty and staff members so much. They went out of their way to help me and really were there to push me to succeed,” he said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help they gave me.”