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Feb. 28, 2011
By Nichole Beckman,media relations assistant
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest students gained networking opportunities and an inside look at potential careers during the WIM Family and Consumer Sciences Career Conference in Chicago.
Northwest family and consumer science instructors Sarah Creason and Charlotte Stiens accompanied 11 students from the University's family and consumer sciences department to attend the conference Feb. 10-12.
"Students gain so much from attending the WIM conference," Stiens said. "For some, this is their first experience in a large city with public transportation, but it's a great way for all students to meet and network with students and instructors from other midwest universities."
WIM is a regional student-led career development conference for undergraduates with majors related to family and consumer sciences. Each year, the Chicago conference offers professional development, career preparation and focused study tours in the students' discipline areas.
WIM offers a variety of opportunities, including chances to interact with professionals in workplace environments. Attendees divide into tour groups related to their major and tour various businesses and agencies throughout Chicago. This year's tours visited the Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, Blue Plate Catering, Northwestern Hospital, Kravet, The Oprah Store, Coach, Akira and the Merchandise Mart.
"The advice students will get from professionals at tour sites, and the personal contacts they make can eventually lead to internships, entrance into graduate programs and, for some, even full-time employment after graduation," Stiens said.
During this year's conference, two Northwest students were elected officers of WIM for 2011-2012. President-elect Jackie Pottier, a senior from Gower, Mo., and Vice President-elect Sharday Swartz, a junior from Corning, Iowa, will help plan and implement next year's conference. Pottier served as treasurer on the board of directors last year and said she is excited about her new position.
"Serving as an officer last year really opened my eyes as to what it takes to facilitate a conference," Pottier said. "I took mental notes all year as to what ideas worked and what didn't. I'm hoping this year we can efficiently utilize the ideas that were successful."
The board of directors consists of seven students from different universities, who are active in student organizations on their campuses. Becoming an active member is one reason Swartz ran for vice president.
"I wanted to take the opportunity to network and build up my team working skills, while learning more about my field," Swartz said.
Creason, who participated in the conference as a Northwest student, knows the benefits of attending WIM and is confident in the students' abilities to make next year's conference a success.
"I know first-hand that the conference can be a life-changing experience," Creason said. "It's amazing to see what we learn in the classroom in action and gain practical knowledge in the field."
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468