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endeavor article


As a communication major with a history minor at Boston College, Tim Shanahan ’09 became interested in sports broadcasting by his sophomore year. He worked as a broadcaster, producer, promotions director, and co-director at WZBC Sports, Boston College’s student-run sports radio station, and as a public address announcer for the athletics department. Six years after graduating, Shanahan is applying the skills he began to develop as a student in the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences (MCA&S) as the marketing supervisor for social and digital media at Major League Baseball’s television sports channel MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Shanahan hadn’t considered a career in public relations or marketing while at Boston College, he says, but he describes his liberal arts education as “very valuable” in preparing him for his current position. “The wide array of classes I took at Boston College helped me to adapt to different roles,” he adds.

This January, Shanahan and other alumni will share their success stories as volunteer mentors for “Endeavor: The Liberal Arts Advantage for Sophomores,” a new two-day career exploration program that will show students links between a liberal arts curriculum and meaningful careers. Taking place January 14 and 15 (the last two days of winter break) and designed specifically for second-year students in the Morrissey College, the program was organized in response to feedback from students and from more than 2,000 recent MCA&S graduates who took part in a survey in summer 2014.

A majority of alumni respondents, who graduated between 2003 and 2012, said their Boston College education had served them well in the workplace. Ninety percent indicated they would probably or definitely recommend Boston College to an enrolling undergraduate; 85 percent said they would recommend the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Asked what might have improved their undergraduate education, hundreds of alumni respondents mentioned the need for guidance and coaching on how to apply liberal arts knowledge and skills—writing, communication, creativity, critical thinking—to the professional world.

endeavor
Who: Sophomores in the Morrissey College of
Arts and Sciences
When: January 14–15, 2016
Where: Gasson Hall, Boston College Middle Campus, and other campus locations
Website:
/endeavor
Registration deadline: December 1, 2015

“We want students to understand early in their career exploration process that a liberal arts education can lead to great success,” explains Joseph Du Pont, associate vice president for student affairs/career services and director of the Boston College Career Center, which is coordinating the event with the College of Arts & Sciences, Alumni Association, and Division of Student Affairs.

Endeavor kicks off January 14 in Gasson Hall with a keynote from Stephen Joseph Pemberton ’89, Hon. ’15, vice president of diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer for the Walgreens Boots Alliance, and author of the critically acclaimed memoir “A Chance in the World.” Pemberton, who graduated with a B.A. in political science, will talk about the ways in which his Boston College education contributed to his professional success. Students will then participate in a hands-on skills assessment to help them identify their existing skills and those they want to develop, and to learn how those strengths “translate” to professional settings.

Much of Endeavor’s first day, though, will focus on student-alumni interaction in small-group panel discussions organized around industries of high student interest and during coaching sessions, says Career Center Associate Director Rachel Greenberg. An end-of-day networking reception for students, faculty, and alumni, followed by a dinner for students and Career Center staff, is expected to open up further opportunities for discussion, questions, and reflection.

Yet professional connections won’t be the only “tangible takeaway” from Endeavor, notes Greenberg. On its second day, Endeavor students will spend the morning working with Career Center staff to map out the next steps in their career exploration and planning. Then they’ll head into Boston on “job treks”—visits to workplaces of a variety of MCA&S alumni.  

Annie Kim ’18, a history and music double major considering careers in government or law, is already planning to attend. “I think I’ll come out with more confidence in what I’m doing,” she says, “and a better sense of the options and opportunities for me.”

Boston College graduates’ participation will be key to the Endeavor experience in the opinion of Lindsay Schrier ’18, an international studies major with a minor in women’s and gender studies. “It’s one thing to hear how BC grads are using their majors,” Schrier says. “But it’s much more helpful to actually meet those grads and find out how they did it.”

Shanahan agrees, adding that the opportunity to connect with students interested in his field led him to volunteer for the program. “I hardly knew anybody in the sports media industry when I graduated,” he says. “Not everyone is lucky enough to have those resources at the start, and I think Endeavor gives students this chance.”

Rory Browne, interim associate dean of the Morrissey College of Arts & Sciences and interim director of the Academic Advising Center, says that he’s convinced that Endeavor will help students see the possibilities in a liberal arts major. “When students realize that they can pursue their true interests and passions and still obtain gainful employment, they’re much more likely to explore academically and be adventurous,” he says.

—Alicia Potter