Karla Rockhold has taught world history, middle school math and English as a Second Language. She’s owned her own tutoring business, and been an academic advisor at OSU.
No matter the position, she was driven by her students’ success beyond the classroom.
“My job was to teach my students about the wide array of options they had, and how their classwork related to their lives after school.”
Now she’s dedicated to that effort full time. Rockhold joined the College of Liberal Arts in January as its assistant director of career development. The goal: helping students realize their dreams in life.
“I remove barriers for students,” she says. “I tell them how to jump over them, go around them, knock them down. I teach them the that the only thing keeping them from pursuing their passions is their own drive to get there.”
Since January, Rockhold has provided career counseling for more than 200 CLA students. She’s spoken to nearly every CLA faculty member (more than 800) about the resources available for students. She’s arranged for students to visit a U.S. Ambassador, and bussed CLA students up and down the Valley to meet with potential employers.
To say Rockhold has hit the ground running is an understatement. These are just a few of the ways she’s is building a career counseling presence for CLA.
To contact Karla call: 541-737-3733 or email: email@example.com
Empowering Oregon Students
Keeping electricity running for nearly a million people is a high-pressure job, especially in an increasingly connected world.
Sarah Dammen (’01, ’03) plays a crucial role in making sure the lights stay on and our smartphones charge. She’s the manager of financial forecasting and economic analysis at Portland General Electric, which serves 875,000 customers in the Portland and Salem areas.
The work she and her team do helps PGE answer the myriad questions that a affect energy delivery and pricing, like “Can we predict how much energy our customers will use,” and “What kinds of economic trends will a affect usage?”
It’s a STEM job with a direct effect on Oregon’s population, and Dammen credits the undergraduate and graduate economics programs at OSU with providing her a practical education that allowed her to easily transition into her career.
It motivated her to help others, too.
“I’m passionate about workforce development in STEM fields, and employers are looking for the types of skills economics majors have. The more we can show students career paths, the better.”
At Rockhold's request this spring, Dammen organized a 6-person panel of economists at PGE to talk to economics majors about their varied roles at Oregon’s largest utility company, and the breadth of career options available to them.
“We got great questions from the students, and they were excited about the variety of careers that exist for them,” Dammen says. “I wanted students to see themselves in the panel, and understand the continued demand for graduates like them.”
Paying It Forward
It was a tête-à-tête conversation with an immigration attorney that got Alan Duran (’14) thinking about law school. “I was asking her questions, and going back and forth on a legal policy. She told me I could be an attorney. It had never crossed my mind.”
Duran was undocumented. He had come to the U.S. at age 5 from Hidalgo, Mexico, and thought that only a few doors were open to him. Being a lawyer was not one of them.
That was 8 years ago. Duran is now a U.S. citizen, a CLA alumnus, a law school graduate and an immigration attorney in Medford, Oregon. And giving back is a big deal for him.
“After I became a resident all of the doors that were closed came open. I was given this opportunity, and I wanted to use my skills to help others.”
To Duran that means advocating for families navigating the shifting immigration system in the U.S. And it means using those skills at his alma mater, too.
This spring, Duran participated in “5 Under 5,” an event Rockhold organized for undergraduates in the School of Writing, Literature and Film. He and 4 recent SWLF alumni talked to students about their careers and finding their way after college.
“College and law school are hard, and networking, encouragement and mentorship got me through both,” Duran says. “It’s important to me to come back and say that to people in my shoes.
If you are a CLA alum who wants career advice and resources:
Or contact Yuliya Dennis: firstname.lastname@example.org