At a liberal arts college it may be a challenge for students to decide what path they will pursue after graduation. Janine Oliver’s job is to guide younger students in the direction that’s right for them.
Janine’s own career path began with her education at Princeton University, where she started out in engineering and changed her mind after two weeks of classes. She ultimately decided to major in English with a focus on education so she could teach after graduating from college. Janine got her master’s from the University of New Hampshire in mental health and school counseling. She has worked in a lot of settings with children with high potential, but low performance (often with diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome, OCD, ADD or autism). Throughout college and graduate school, Janine facilitated team-building programs on ropes courses and continues to do so whenever she has the opportunity.
Janine moved to Central New York when her husband began his job at Colgate Outdoor Education. Janine also got a job at Colgate, but after working there for a year, she decided that her job was not the best fit. She started working here at Hamilton’s Career Center in July of 2012 and has found what she calls “the perfect job.” Janine likes working with younger students just entering the challenges of career exploration and helping them discover how their skills and interests fit with potential careers.
Among her responsibilities are coordinating Triple Jump, a program where she and her colleagues run a three-part series of events that focus on the skills and knowledge sophomores need to get started on their career path. Janine meets with students for a 75-minute session and helps them explore careers, begin the process of networking and learn strategies that will help them procure their first career-related experience (or internship).
A special part of Janine’s job is working closely with different groups of students. She supervises five-six peer-presenters, helping them develop good presentation skills for future Career Center programs.
Janine also enjoys coordinating First Year Forward. This is a group of about 30 students who commit to a year-long career development program. If they complete the academic year requirements and secure 150 hours of career-related experience during the summer, they receive a stipend of $2,000. She loves to see the students progress, gaining the skills, knowledge and experience they’ll need to get ready for their sophomore year where they will really “dig in deep” to gain career-related experience. This group is chosen by the Office of Admission and Financial Aid on the basis of financial need and potential to take advantage of this opportunity.
Janine lives with her husband, Ben Oliver (a Hamilton 2002 graduate), and their dog, Ollie Oliver. The couple recently bought a home in Clinton. Janine enjoys walking and cross-country skiing in the Glen and using the climbing wall on campus. She also loves to cook and enjoys improvising in the kitchen.
If Janine weren’t at Hamilton, she would be happy in any setting that allows her to work with people, especially in an alternative school setting.
You may know of the popular “Elf on a Shelf,” who “watches” children during the pre-Christmas season and “reports” back to Santa. You may not know that Janine is a personal elf pen-pal, named Tinsel, to a 6-year-old girl in San Francisco. The little girl is the daughter of Janine’s sister’s friend in California. Janine skyped with her on Christmas and periodically sends a selection of photos, including some from a photo shoot done of Tinsel in the snow at Hamilton College.
When you get a chance, stop in and say hello to Janine!