Career Center Podcast helps students think about the future

Elizabeth Quam | Staff Writer |

Career Education Coach Tim Birmingham ’02 hosts, “SMC Career Paths” podcast which features conversations with alumni, employers, and staff. “We hope to bring you engaging and strategic conversations that will give you the perspective and the resources that you need to help gain understanding and be able to make better and more informed career-related decisions,” Birmingham said. 

            The original goal of the podcast was to capture alum’s experience. “The design was to learn from other people’s journeys and stories transitioning out of St. Mikes,” Birmingham said. The first episode dropped on September 17, 2021. Over time, the podcast has evolved and now includes employer spotlights as well. “The purpose behind that is it’s just a way to highlight local employers, talk about what it is they do, talk about their hiring practices, advice for students, things like that, as a way to bridge the gap between students’ employers,” Birmingham said. 

Tim Birmingham interviews Lauren Ritcher for his podcast “SMC Career Posts” on Nov. 9. Photo by Anyssa Logan.

            Birmingham got the idea for the Podcast during the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, Birmingham thought about recording webinars and alumni panels so the content would be around forever. After going on the STEM at St. Micheal’s Podcast, Birmingham was inspired to make his own. “The STEM at St. Mike’s podcast is a podcast that spreads awareness of STEM opportunities at St. Michael’s, and just to geek out over STEM topics that we find interesting,” co-host Lily Sabol ’24, said. 

            According to Ingrid Peterson, director of the Boucher Career Education Center, the podcast format benefits students because they have an opportunity to learn in a short amount of time. “We are just trying to spread out so everyone has equal access and opportunity,” Peterson said. The episodes are intended to be short and digestible for students and available for them to listen on their own time.  

            “The podcast is important to the St. Michael’s community because it provides another avenue for students to explore the career navigation process,” Peterson said. Through the podcast, students can connect with alumni and connect with the career center. “It enhances the community by opening up lines of communication in developing relationships,” Birmingham said. 

            In addition, the podcast has helped promote the career center and the services it provides. The career center is a resource to help students and Peterson hopes that if someone is listening to the podcast, they will consider going to the career center. “That’s what we are here for, to help students think about their next steps and help them figure out how to get there,” Peterson said. “And the podcasts play a role in that.”    

Cambelle Nutting ’24 found the podcast very informative. “What I found really cool is that they said they can help you from your first day of your freshman year, all the way to 10 years past graduation. They can help you through your entire career process,” Nutting said. “I will definitely go see them, now that I know they can help with so much.”

Birmingham records the episodes over zoom because the audio is clearer and it allows him to interview anybody. For the few in person interviews he has done, he recorded on Audacity, a digital audio recorder and editor. He edits all the episodes in Audacity and then uploads them to Anchor, the spotify platform that hosts the podcast. In the future, he hopes to use the new Media Creation Studio. 

The podcast is not the only way students can connect with alumni. On Friday, November 11, at 3:45 pm, the Alumni Board of Directors are presenting the 16th Career Symposium. This is the first time the event will be held in person since 2019.

            This year’s keynote speaker is Kate Anderson ’14, current eCommerce manager for live event leader, On Location. In addition to the keynote speaker, there will be industry panels made up of alums from all over the country. “The idea is that alums are sharing their personal stories, their career journeys with students,” Angie Armour ’99, executive director of institutional advancement, said. 

            After the panels, there will be a networking reception that will allow students to connect with alums and ask questions. Alums are coming back to campus because they want to help current students.“They can empathize with students and really understand the shoes that current students are in and kind of hopefully start to take away a little bit of that overwhelming feeling that students are having,” co-chair and member of the alumni board of directors, Jillian Cahrest ’04 said.

            The Career symposium is open to all students, whether they have identified a specific path or career they want to pursue, or if they remain undecided. The Symposium will provide an opportunity for students to meet alums, to hear how they navigated the career process, and  see different paths forward. 

            The symposium’s purpose is for students to feel more confident about their futures. “What I really hope is that students leave feeling pretty inspired and hopeful for their future,” Armour said. “This is not a place to feel intimidated, this is a place to feel empowered.”  The career symposium is also an Uplift event, and there will be raffle prizes offered at the networking reception in the Roy Room.

 The podcast plans to release one to two episodes a month throughout the school year. The episodes are available on Spotify and new episodes are announced on the daily digest and the career center’s Instagram page, @smccareereducation. New episodes are to be released in the upcoming weeks, including an episode featuring Tess Elsinga of Collins Aerospace. If students would like, they can request a topic for the podcast. To request a topic, email Tim Birmingham  “The hope is that it’s going to help students get perspectives and some expertise from people in short segments, or just ‘here’s what I wish I knew when I was a student that I know now,” Birmingham said.