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: https://www.linkedin.com/in/triciazelaya/. Should you wish to contact me directly, please email me at tricia.zelaya-leon@kzoo.edu.

Wishing you a successful year ahead,

Dr. Z

Director, Center for Career & Professional Development