Winter Term Letter from the Director

Happy New Year, everyone!

Typically, the start of a new year brings with it the excitement of renewal, recalibration, and resolution. Unfortunately, January 1st, 2021 came in with that hope and then, just a few days later, our country saw a violent uprising at our nation’s Capitol. Some were shocked by the events that unfolded, while others saw it as an outcome of years of racial inequity and mounting civil unrest. Now, more than ever, we as a populace, find ourselves uncertain, anxious, and exhausted.

Here at the CCPD, we continue to be here to support you in your pursuits, both personal and professional. If you are like so many college students, you are feeling overwhelmed with academic work, trying to maintain a social life, and feeling the tension between seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and still not knowing when life might return to some semblance of normal. Oh, and add to that the ongoing search for internships and jobs, preparation for graduate school, all in the midst of an ever-evolving and chaotic job market.

I know it’s a lot. But my biggest piece of advice to you is to PERSEVERE. When we find ourselves in a crisis, it is easy to disengage, to give up, and to do nothing. I implore you to fight that urge. My team and I stand at the ready to meet with you, to listen to you, and to help you create a manageable professional development plan, one that starts small and can be customized to your goals over time. Simply setting up an appointment with us (via Handshake) or popping into our drop-in hours (via Microsoft Teams) can help you feel like you’re making some progress toward your goals.

The CCPD’s mission is “to educate and empower Kalamazoo College students and alumni to discover their talents, build their professional networks, and apply their learning to meaningful lives after K.” This process of discovery, building, and application is just that: a process. It takes time and it takes work. But, with one-on-one, personalized support from the CCPD team, know that we care about you and your goals. We exist to guide you along this journey!

This Winter Term, renew your excitement for being a student at K. Recalibrate your goals. And resolve to not give up, no matter how overwhelming things get. The Center for Career & Professional Development is your destination for career resources, supportive Career Coaches, and most importantly, hope. Let us move forward with you.

In solidarity,

Dr. Z

VMOCK Resume Service Proves Useful

Spending an average of ten minutes each, 81 students have already utilized the CCPD’s new VMOCK resume AI tool to drastically improve their resume.

What is VMOCK?

VMOCK is an artificially intelligent resume review platform populated with K-specific targets for resume standards. It replaces the generic advice that you might get in an initial resume review, freeing you to tailor and improve your document at a much higher level with a career coach.

How does it work? What does it do?

  1. Students upload a version of their standard, generic resume to the platform.
  2. Within 1-2 minutes, the system analyzes their document on Impact (40 points), Presentation (30 points), and Competencies (30 points).
  3. Specific, detailed feedback on students’ actual resume content is provided, including where the document is strong and where it could use some work.
  4. After making suggested changes, students can re-upload their document to see an improved score.

It’s really that simple. Check VMOCK out today, and let us know what you think!

Updated – CCPD statement in support of Black lives

Black Lives Matter. 

The CCPD acknowledges that individualistic and systemic racism continues to be pervasive in the United States and around the world, and stands in solidarity with those that are fighting for basic human dignity.

The CCPD has taken the summer to carefully review our policies and procedures around employer and alumni relations and staff and student engagement to address our role in the fight against racism. We announced previously that we would share our comprehensive plan at the beginning of the Fall 2020 Term.

Actions Completed:

This summer, after collaborating with colleagues across other college and university career centers, we added a new page called “Identity-based Resources” to our website. This is an evolving page that is open to new submissions.

We reviewed our current representation of BIPOC on our website, promotional, and presentation materials in graphic, photo, and quotation formats. Representation matters. We commit to continue being mindful of how we visually represent humanity in our work.

In our review of student usage of Handshake, especially with relation to finding and applying for posted jobs, we launched a new label to help BIPOC students identify employers that consistently hire and support BIPOC employees. Using Diversityinc’s Top 50 Employers, we created a label for easy student sorting. Students can use the label ‘diveristyinctop 50-2020’ right now to search for these employers.

In addition, we will use these labels to inform intentional employer engagement. We have already invited all of these companies to our virtual career fairs, which are of zero cost to employers.

Work In Progress:

Data Analysis and the Creation of SMART Goals:

This academic year, we will expand on our annual data analysis related to student and alumni usage of our programs and services. We will explore deeper questions related to BIPOC student and alumni involvement, with the plan of creating a baseline and measurable goals for the future. 

We already know from past year’s data analyses that we want to increase BIPOC participation in our Discovery Externship Program, both in terms of alumni and students. Our goal will be to increase the number of BIPOC alumni who participate as hosts in the externship program and seek out alumni who either run or work at black-owned businesses and organizations. We know that representation matters, and that increased BIPOC alumni hosts will help us increase student participation. 

We also want to increase the participation rates of BIPOC students in our summer internship stipend program. This involves intentional advertising and collaboration with cross-campus departments and student organizations.

Employer Engagement:

As stated in the CCPD’s Recruitment Policy, the CCPD reserves the right to deny on-campus recruitment opportunities or position postings by any Employer or Recruiter at its discretion. The CCPD is evaluating the current Employer Approval process in Handshake, to determine what additional steps may be needed to identify and deny access to employers with discriminatory hiring practices or poor reputations related to BIPOC. 

The CCPD is reviewing resources to identify and contact employers who have a record of hiring and supporting BIPOC employees as well as regional Black-Owned companies. Staff will select top tier companies and organizations from these lists in fields of interest to K students, and build and implement an engagement strategy to these employers. Engagement levels will include the posting and promotion of positions in Handshake, inviting employers to participate in on-campus or virtual events, and developing K-Treks to these organizations.

Student Feedback:

While keeping in mind the delicate balance of asking for student feedback but also not making BIPOC students “do the work”, we will hope to work with stu-orgs across campus on building partnerships for career development. We will be open and honest in asking, “Do you feel supported by the CCPD?”. We will tailor our offerings of industry alumni networking to stu-orgs that are interested, and establish regular dialogue to ensure we are curating content that is timely, relevant, and wanted.

Staff Professional Development:

As part of our continued engagement with College programming, working to bring about a culture change of inclusion, anti-racism, and equity, we will participate in the Inclusion Excellence project,  including the Reading for Change initiative, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, And Other Conversations About Race, by Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D. We have each also began reading other important and emerging titles in the academic study of anti-racism, and we have staff representation on the newly formed BAFSA. While the majority of our staff have completed ERAC/CE training, we commit to full staff completion by the end of this academic year* (*if COVID-19 restrictions allow. If not, ASAP

If you have any questions/concerns/feedback for us, please email us at or fill out this form to send feedback anonymously.

To report bias, please visit the college’s Bias Data Gathering System:

Dr. Z – K’s new career center leader

Welcome to this new school year!

I write today to introduce myself to you: my name is Dr. Tricia Zelaya-Leon (you’re welcome to call me Dr. Z) and I am the new Director of the Center for Career & Professional Development (CCPD). I officially began in my role on September 1st; most recently, I worked at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. I have devoted my entire career in higher education to student success – more specifically, my prime directive is to help you leverage your Kalamazoo education to achieve ultimate post-graduate success, whether that means going to graduate school, engaging in continued service experiences, or finding a meaningful job.

As you know, we all find ourselves in unprecedented times. Amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic, our country is again deeply reckoning with racial injustice after the murder of George Floyd. I personally affirm that Black Lives Matter and as the Director of the CCPD, my team and I are committed to serving students from all identities and backgrounds, paying particular attention to the unique challenges that exist for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in navigating career opportunities. Our Center is actively engaged in anti-racist work and will continue to work toward strategies that dismantle systemic racism; to learn about our commitment, please visit this page.

My team and I also strive to prepare you for the ever-evolving challenges that Covid-19 continues to exact on the workforce. I believe wholeheartedly that liberal arts graduates are well poised to respond to the needs of our changing world: employers want college graduates with strong communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively with a team, and the creativity to think critically and solve grand challenges. Ensuring that your personal brand adequately reflects those skills will help you remain both versatile and marketable as you continue on your professional journey.

The CCPD team stands at the ready to guide you as you prepare for the next step. Through one-on-one appointments, document reviews, and networking opportunities, the aim of the Center is to help you explore majors and careers, translate your experiences into skills that resonate with employers, and build strong networks.

I recognize how intimidating career discernment can be, especially in these trying times, but the best defense is always a good offense: the earlier you engage in conversations about your career journey, the more opportunities you will have to explore your options, enhance your skillsets, and connect with top-notch employers. I encourage you to sign up for an appointment today!

I greatly value student feedback, so please seek out opportunities to engage with me personally about how you are making the most of your K experience. Do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions, comments, concerns, or success stories. I am here to serve you, so I look forward to engaging with you.

Make sure to connect with me on LinkedIn where I will often share relevant career-related content: Should you wish to contact me directly, please email me at

Wishing you a successful year ahead,

Dr. Z

Director, Center for Career & Professional Development

CCPD statement in support of Black lives

We in the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) at Kalamazoo College believe that Black Lives Matter. 

We acknowledge that individualistic and systemic racism continues to be pervasive in the United States and around the world, and stand in solidarity with those that are fighting for basic human dignity.

What is our role? The CCPD is taking the summer to carefully review our policies and procedures around employer and alumni relations and staff and student engagement to address our role in the fight against racism. We will share our comprehensive plan at the beginning of Fall Term. 

If you have any questions/concerns/feedback for us, please email us at or fill out this form to send feedback anonymously. 

To report bias, please visit the college’s Bias Data Gathering System:  

Virtual CCPD

We have moved to a virtual format due to the spread of COVID-19. CCPD Virtual Office Hours on MS Teams: (Fall Weeks 1-10) Monday through Thursday: 2-3 PM EST. Tuesday evenings 7-8 PM, EST. Our office will be closed for in-person appointments in order to practice social distancing. Our staff will continue to make virtual student and alumni appointments using Handshake.

Virtual career fairs and events will take place throughout the term. For additional help, please contact