Bridging Academia and Career: CCPD and English Department Collaboration

This winter, Ryan Fong, Associate Professor of English contacted the CCPD to collaborate with him for the English Department’s “Introduction to Literary Theory and Research Methods” class.  The partnership aimed to harmonize academic exploration with career readiness, empowering students to seamlessly connect their intellectual pursuits with their professional aspirations.

An assignment, titled “Educational Design,” guided students through five prompts, fostering self-reflection, academic exploration, and future career planning. From pondering big questions to mapping out a comprehensive academic and professional plan, students navigated the intersection of knowledge and career preparedness.

Students explored their major, minor, or concentration in response to prompt three, linking academic pursuits to overarching questions and dreams. By delving into the Kalamazoo College catalog, they identified relevant courses and articulated the cohesive nature of their chosen academic path.

Prompt four challenged students to create a tentative plan encompassing their major, minor, language classes, Shared Passages seminars, and courses from various academic divisions. This plan aimed to provide a well-rounded liberal arts education, aligning with the college’s commitment to versatile thinking.

The final prompt involved a crucial meeting with CCPD Career Coaches, propelling students from academia to the professional realm. Post-meeting, students reflected on the plans to develop professional skills and gain valuable work experience during their time at Kalamazoo College.

“These assignments are really trying to help our students feel empowered to craft their education in meaningful ways and to show them the value of gaining the broad perspectives and knowledges that are the hallmark of the liberal arts,” said Fong. His course development and partnership with the CCPD exemplifies Kalamazoo College’s commitment to career readiness. By integrating academic exploration with career preparation, students embark on a journey of self-discovery, equipped with the tools for a seamless transition into their professional lives after graduation.

K to the White House

Join Harold Phillips ’88., and Matt Pearl, ’03, to learn about their career paths from K to the White House. Harold and Matt will share how their experiences at K contributed to decisions around post-graduate education that led to opportunities to work in and around government before joining the White House staff. Dr. Max Cherem ’04, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Department Chair and Pre-Law Advisor, will moderate this event. Co-sponsored by the Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD) and the Office of Alumni Engagement. 

K to the White House 
Friday, October 6 
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. 
Room 103, Dewing Hall 

About Harold Phillips and Matt Pearl:

Harold Phillips is the Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. He earned a Master’s in Regional Planning, Housing and Community Development at UNC-Chapel Hill, following his studies in political science and English at K.  Prior to his current role, Harold worked in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a number of positions developing programs and policies designed to end the HIV epidemic in the United States and globally.

Matt Pearl is the Director of Emerging Technology in the White House National Security Council. Immediately before serving at the NSC, Matt was an Associate Bureau Chief at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  A philosophy major and history minor while at K, he attended law school at Yale University.  After law school, he clerked for Judge Lawrence Kahn of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, and Judge Laurence Harris Hartz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Why did I decide to attend the GLCA virtual career fair? 

Post by Blagoja Naskovski ’24

GLCA Virtual Career Fair - Thursday, February 23, 2023
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (ET)
Hosted on Handshake

My Fall ’22 was very busy in terms of finding new career opportunities for the summer of ’23. As a student majoring in Business, my goal was to secure an internship in investment research and financial services. Chasing job opportunities might sometimes be fun, but it takes a lot of time and energy. What I really learned is that one of the key factors to be successful in grabbing an opportunity in your favorite field is to attend career fairs where you can directly communicate with a hiring manager and to connect with the alumni community. Fortunately, I saw that our CCPD was co-organizing an event that was seen by me as a chance that should not be missed – GLCA virtual career fair.  

From education organizations and health care services, finance, and marketing to government to nonprofit organizations, GLCA career fair has a diverse spectrum of internship opportunities.  

My case included searching and talking to recruiters from the companies that are in the sphere of financial services and investment analysis. I was fortunate to learn for the first time about the company that I am going to intern at this summer- Morningstar. I had a great time talking to the recruiter about the details and specifics of the Morningstar Summer Internship Program. After the session I decided to connect with some of the K alumni at Morningstar and apply for the position. I was fortunate to connect with a K alum and to gain valuable suggestions during the hiring stages.  

One of the best things about this career fair that it is a student centric. You can schedule a 1:1 or group session with the hiring manager based on your time availability. Most of them are in a 1:1 format so you have the chance to talk directly to the recruiter. More importantly, there is an unlimited number of sessions that you can attend regardless of your school major. 

I am grateful that I attended the GLCA virtual career fair last September. This event represents a fantastic opportunity where all students, from diverse backgrounds, are given a chance to attend and talk to recruiters and hiring managers from many companies and organizations. Therefore, I strongly encourage my peers, regardless of their academic major, to attend this event (Thursday, February 23, 11 AM – 2 PM, Virtual on Handshake) and establish new connections in their professional network while learning more about different industries and career opportunities. 

Save the date for February career fairs

Save the date for February’s job/internship fairs for K students. Three are in person, and the CCPD will reimburse you for transportation if you need it. These fairs are the largest local recruiting events of the year for college students!

Wondering which employers will be there, and/or what they’re looking for in applicants? Check out the links for each— they have all the info you need.

WMU Government and Nonprofit Job Fair

Tuesday, Feb 7, 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

WMU Bernhard Center at 1922 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo

WMU Spring Engineering Expo

Wednesday, Feb 8, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

WMU Bernhard Center at 1922 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo

WMU Career Fair

Thursday, Feb 9, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

WMU Bernhard Center at 1922 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo

GLCA Virtual Career Fair

Thursday, Feb 23 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Virtual Event in Handshake 

Need a ride? 

Students needing transportation are eligible to be reimbursed by the CCPD for local Uber or Lyft trips to and from the WMU fairs listed. We encourage you to “car pool” by coordinating these trips with friends interested in attending, wherever possible, though this is not required for reimbursement.


  1. Use Lyft or Uber app to travel to/from the fair(s).
  2. Email your Lyft or Uber receipt(s) and indicate which fair you attended to Valerie Miller at​

Email Tips/Tricks from CCPD & CCE

The following is a compilation of email writing tips put together by Riley Gabriel, Program Associate, CCE, and Rachel Wood, Assistant Director, CCPD.

Components of a professional email

  • Subject line
  • Salutation
  • Body
  • Closing
  • Signature
Image shows a screen with an example of a professional email including Subject line, Salutation, Body, Closing, and Signature.
Image borrowed from “How to Write An Email” on

Email Examples

The following two email examples offer some obvious and not so obvious clues to professional email writing.

Example #1


From: Riley Gabriel​

To: Moises Hernandez​

Sup Moises,​

What are u up to next Friday at 11? I could also meet tmrw. We should meet 2 talk about office furniture. I JUST CAN’T WAIT. :/ I don’t like my chair, always hurts my back. Talk soon.​

Thanks friend,​

Riley Gabriel​

Example #2

Subject: Supply List Follow Up

From: Riley Gabriel​

To: Moises Hernandez​

Hello Moises,​

I’m reaching out to follow up with our meeting last week. We discussed purchasing new supplies for the community room for CESs to use in various events and activities. Below you will see a link to the supply list I gathered from online sources. Are you able to pick up a few things from stores? Let me know if I missed anything we talked about. ​

Thanks for your help,​

Riley Gabriel​

Pronouns: they/them​

Kalamazoo College ’21​

Program Associate – Center for Civic Engagement

Notice that Example 1 uses an informal greeting (used only if you know your recipient well and informality is established), text shortenings, ALL CAPS, complaining, and an informal closing (could be acceptable depending on level of formality).

Notice that Example 2 has an appropriate greeting, establishes the reason for contact, uses proper grammar, includes a closing statement, and a professional signature (optional). However, it is missing a link to the supply list, specific instructions about what supplies to purchase (and from what stores).

Example Greetings

  • Hi/Hello (Name),​
  • Dear (Name),​
  • Greetings,​
  • To whom it may concern,​
  • To (Name),​
  • Hello everyone,​
  • Good morning/afternoon​

Do I include titles/prefixes?

It depends. If you are writing to someone with a PhD, you can start by assuming the prefix Dr. until told otherwise. Modern advice suggests moving away from Mr./Mrs./Ms. prefixes as they are not gender-inclusive, but they may be appropriate in certain contexts.

Example Closings

Be sure to end your email with a closing. Even a simple “Thank you,” followed by your name on the next line, might suffice.

  • Best​
  • Sincerely​
  • Regards​
  • Kind regards​
  • Thank you​
  • Warm wishes​
  • With gratitude​
  • Many thanks​
  • Respectfully​

What goes in an email signature?

Email signatures can be as simple, especially if you are still a student. They may simply look like this:

Joe Hornet ’24

However, when you are writing on behalf of an organization or an employer, additional information might help give your reader context.

Examples of additional email signature inclusions

  1. Title of position & department​
  2. Pronouns
  3. Email address &/or phone number​
  4. Company logo
  5. Company physical address 
  6. Company social media links and/or website
  7. Land acknowledgement where you live/work
  8. Other important cultural messages from your organization or team

Example Signatures

Riley Gabriel​

Pronouns: they/them​

Kalamazoo College ’21​

Program Associate – Center for Civic Engagement

Reply vs. Reply All

  • Reply – Responds to original sender only. No one else originally included in the message will see your reply.​
  • Reply All – Responds to everyone that received original email. Very good for scheduling, for example letting everyone know “I’ve got this one!”​

Depending on an organization’s culture, reply all may be preferred to keep everyone in the loop as decisions are made via email. ​

CC vs. BCC

  • CC – Stands for “Carbon Copy”. Add additional recipients to a message that may need to be kept in the proverbial loop, but may not need to respond. ​
  • BCC – Stands for “Blind Carbon Copy”. ‘Blind carbon copy’ is a way of sending emails to multiple people without them knowing who else is receiving the email. Any emails in the BCC field will be invisible to everyone else in the To and CC fields. BCC should only be used when it isn’t a personal email topic and you want to keep the receipts email address private.​

Depending on an organization’s culture, a supervisor may prefer to be CC’d on certain types of messages. BCC can be used in confidential situations. ​

Subject Lines and Threads

The subject line should communicate exactly what the email is about so that the recipient can prioritize the email’s importance without having to open it.​

Good Examples of Subject Lines:

  • Time conflict for meeting 10/13​
  • Fall ’22 Term Report​

Bad Examples of Subject Lines:

  • [no subject]​
  • Hey​

Using the Reply or Reply All function will automatically generate a subject line that is formatted as: “RE: [original subject line]”.​ This helps a recipient search their Inbox for a conversation. A Thread is a set of multiple emails with the same subject line.

DO: Reply All and CC a new person to loop them into an on-going thread.​

DON’T: Changing subject lines mid-thread can cause confusion.​

The “body” of your email

The “body” of your email refers to the text that is between the greeting and the closing; it’s the main text. If you are writing to someone new, err on the side of formality in your tone for best results. Once you are familiar with your recipient/team/organizational culture, your tone can change over time.

Be clear and concise in your message— make sure you have a specific ask. If you find that your message is running very long, needs multiple caveats, or is about something delicate, email may not be the best medium. Instead, use an email to ask for a time to talk in-person (or via video/phone) to work through conflicts. Remember that emails can be forwarded or shared. When in doubt, think: “What [unintended] consequences could there be if what I have written were published on the front page of a newsletter or shown to my boss?”

Need Help? Stop by the Career Studio

If you are working on an email (especially to a potential employer, or an alum) and you’re feeling stuck, stop by the Career Studio. We’re happy to help you make your best first impression!