Career Center celebrates faculty and staff who support student career development

Inaugural Career Champion Awards celebrate those who students say made a difference in their lives

It takes a campus to foster successful, confident, and career-ready Johns Hopkins students.

This past week, the Career Center celebrated the more than 130 faculty and staff nominated by current Homewood students for helping guide their career development. The faculty and staff—including librarians and coaches—who were nominated for the inaugural Career Champion Awards were delivered swag bags that included H-shaped cookies from local Stone Mill Bakery as a thank you for their dedicated guidance.

Donniell Fishkind, Laura Foster, and Leslie Kendrick

Image caption: From left: Donniell Fishkind, Laura Foster, and Leslie Kendrick

Three faculty and staff received more nominations than any other, and were awarded the 2018 Career Champion Award. They are:

Donniell Fishkind

Associate research professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics

Fishkind has taught at Johns Hopkins since 2000, and he says he emphasizes a holistic approach to mathematics. He takes joy in supporting his students, regardless of their final destination (including one 2009 grad who is working as a Triple-A baseball umpire).

"I am fortunate to work with outstanding students who have wonderful accomplishments and potential," Fishkind says. "It is gratifying when my students surpass me, and so many do."

Students who nominated Fishkind note that he's always available for student questions and shows genuine concern for their needs and welfare, sometimes answering emails for advice past midnight.

"Dr. Fishkind has been one of the most influential people in my life for the past four years," says Elle Kim, a senior majoring in applied math and statistics. Kim worked as a teaching assistant for Fishkind and has been his advisee since her first year. "I was torn between pursuing a medical career and continuing a career as a statistician, and I have since decided to apply for a master's program in computational biology. I can count on him to help me work through various options, giving me fresh perspectives. I simply cannot imagine Hopkins without him."

Laura Foster

Academic adviser, Undergraduate Program in Public Health Studies

Foster has been with the Public Health Studies program since 2016 and previously worked with the peer-led team learning program in the Office of Academic Advising.

"I really enjoy working with JHU students because they are so eager for opportunity," Foster says. "It is truly amazing to watch their confidence and self-awareness grow through the process."

As public health students might pursue jobs in industry or post-graduate studies, she encourages them to make strong connections with faculty and find opportunities unique to their passions. This might mean building a personal connection with faculty to generate better recommendation letters, or, for one student who spends his spare time on community and carpentry, suggesting he consider working in historic home restoration in Baltimore. Helping students to think outside the box gives them more opportunities.

"Although I thought I had everything figured out for myself, she often challenged me and offered a unique perspective on the decisions I had made for myself," says Kaetlyn Bernal, a senior public health studies major. "She was willing to move mountains for me when it came to my academic experience. Her investment in my college experience has helped transform me into the social justice activist I am today."

Leslie Kendrick

Senior lecturer, Center for Leadership Education

"Providing students with the experiences that help them discover their passion before they graduate is incredibly rewarding." Kendrick says. "Who wouldn't want to work with students who are bright, highly motivated and willing to learn?"

Since starting with the Center for Leadership Education in 2002, Kendrick has pushed her students to network with alums, attend employer coffee chats on campus, or take part in career development intersession courses/trips in January to learn more about potential fields from the source. Her students also get the chance to work with companies through her advertising class, or CLE groups like Hopkins Student Enterprises.

"Employers are drawn to these types of experiences when they see them listed on students' resumes," she says.

Carley Petrone, a senior studying global environmental change and sustainability, says Kendrick helped her find an internship her junior year, connecting her with employers and serving as a reference. She even made a personal call to the company on Petrone's behalf.

"Ever since I met her through the ad class, she has been so supportive and is always trying to find ways to help me," Petrone says. "I'm extremely grateful for everything she has done to help me throughout my time here!"

Find the full list of all nominated champions on the Career Center website.

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