12:30 PM

Career Center Director Helps Put Students on Path to Success

By Eric Breier

Yasmine Farley was a doctoral student at Old Dominion University when she attended a career fair and met the director of a career center at another regional institution.

The woman encouraged Farley to branch out and expand her horizons in higher education.

“She coaxed me into trying career services – and I absolutely loved it,” said Farley, who earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Old Dominion University. “From there, I made sure that all of my experiences would be catered toward going into a career in career services.

“So I did a second internship at Old Dominion teaching a major and career exploration class on campus. I taught an academic recovery class. I was trying to just gain as much experience as possible with career services to make me a good job candidate once I finished up my degree.”

Farley has devoted her career to helping other students find their career path and prepare them for the job market. It’s what she has been doing since August for students at Cal State San Marcos as the director of the university’s Career Center.

Among the goals of CSUSM’s strategic plan is ensuring that every student has the opportunity to participate in hands-on, engaged learning and high-impact, career-activating practices, something Farley has taken to heart in her first year at the university.

A point of emphasis during Farley’s hiring was the need to prioritize academic internships, and the Career Center is in the process of hiring for two positions that will help. The interview process is underway to hire an associate director of internships and partnerships, a role that will focus on reshaping CSUSM’s internship program and aiding the campus employment process. Farley also will be hiring a career and internship support specialist to provide additional student support, advisement and guidance related to academic internships and career pathway planning.

“We want to make sure that we have those good partnerships across campus and really get some more external partnerships going to bring more internship opportunities to our students, and specifically paid opportunities that will tie into the social mobility aspect of our strategic planning and the institution in general,” Farley said.

Paid internships are important to Farley. As a first-generation college student herself, Farley knows the importance of showing low-income and underrepresented students how internships can boost their future success. It’s part of why she and her team have been working hard to get in front of students, whether at cultural centers, classrooms, campus housing or workshops.

“We want to help them understand how important it can be to get an internship and how much it can help them in their future career,” she said. “Because it's all well and good for you to have a job to meet the needs of today, but you're also in college to think about your future and being able to advance yourself and your family. And internships can help in that, which is also why we want to have that emphasis on paid internships because we understand that students may have financial needs and may not have the luxury of taking an unpaid opportunity just to gain experience.”

As Farley has been meeting with campus constituents, she has focused on three goals: strengthening relationships with collaborators, both internal and external; enhancing services; and elevating the identity of the Career Center.

“There were just some things that I was seeing pretty immediately when I got here that were simple changes to help people know more about what the Career Center is doing,” she said. “And I feel like that has been very helpful with increasing career counselor appointments and attendance at some of our workshops.”

That included record-breaking attendance at CSUSM’s fall job and internship fair last October, which drew more than 500 students to the USU Ballroom. Farley is hoping for a similar turnout at the upcoming spring job and internship fair, which is April 9 in the USU Ballroom.

“One of the things that I have charged my team with and that I really want to see us grow in with the Career Center is our partnerships across campus,” Farley said. “We are partnering with a lot of our identity centers, we have been going into the residence halls, partnering with RAs and really getting out of the office. We don’t always want to make students come to us, we really want to be able to meet students where they are so that they can get this information in a variety of ways and from myriad places.”

Media Contact

Eric Breier, Interim Assistant Director of Editorial and External Affairs

ebreier@csusm.edu | Office: 760-750-7314