Over winter break, 30 students participated in the Career Center’s Snapshot job shadowing program. By connecting with a Hamilton graduate or parent whose field fits their interests, students got a “snapshot” of a typical day in a particular industry or company. They also had the opportunity to ask questions, learn about the path they might take to get a job, and consider next steps.
“The program is something that we’re really proud of because it can be a pivotal time for students,” said Abby Taylor, director of employer engagement at the Career Center. “For some, it’s a chance to realize a job isn’t for them, and it’s a much smaller time investment than taking an internship or pursuing a job.”
Prior to the pandemic, Hamilton’s job shadowing program was in person. Although there were some in-person opportunities this year, the majority were virtual. While the virtual experience had its drawbacks, it also eased the burden for many students, Taylor said.
“We were really happy with the barriers being broken down when everything was virtual because it lets somebody connect with a person that they may not have ever connected with before,” Taylor said. “Even though the Career Center offers funding for travel, it might not be convenient or desired to plan a whole trip around it.”
Students signed up for the shadowing program through Handshake, Hamilton’s career development platform. After they completed a virtual orientation, they accessed the portal where they could look at the job shadowing opportunities and choose one on a first-come-first-served basis. From there, students worked with their shadow placement to find a time and format that worked for both participants.
Though the students signed up to shadow particular Hamilton alumni or parents, many had opportunities to speak with other individuals in the industry. Ashley Scheichet ’25, who shadowed a senior editor at Scholastic, also had the opportunity to speak to a member of the production team.
“I’d mentioned in our emails before shadowing that I was interested in book production, so she set up a meeting with one of her colleagues,” Scheichet said. “I could just pick her brain about how production differs from being an editor. I learned that the biggest difference is the work-life balance between those two roles, which you don’t really hear much about when you’re reading about different careers.”
In addition to speaking with their shadow placement and other individuals, many students attended meetings. Anika Tullos ’23 sat in on a soil testing meeting at the Maine Environmental Department, while Natalie Beebe ’24 observed discussions between residency students at the pathology residency program at Dartmouth.
“I would definitely recommend this to future students,” Beebe said. “It’s not something that you have to be worried about taking up a bunch of your time, but you do gain a lot from the small amount of time that you have to experience it.”