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New class aims to prepare students for life after graduation

TAMPA, Fla. – Assistant Professor Jason Zalinger knew that he wanted to mentor his students so they could prepare for life after graduation. So, he spent the summer brainstorming ways to improve the confidence and direction of University of South Florida communication majors so that they feel confident moving forward into the next chapter of their lives.

The result was Career Development for Life (COM 4958), which aims to help students figure out what they are passionate about and then “begin to take steps toward engaging that passion, toward finding the career--not a job--the career that is in harmony with your personality and energy,” Zalinger said.

In order to help his students discover their own path, Zalinger scheduled 12 guest speakers from a variety of professions so that his students can hear their stories and ask any questions about life and career that they may have been afraid to ask. Some of these speakers include: Nathan G. Freier, Ph.D. (Program Manager for Office Labs at Microsoft), Ben Milsom (Chief Ticketing Officer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Lynn Wittenburg (Senior Vice President of Marketing for the Tampa Bay Lightning) and Jordan Raynor (Co-founder and Partnerships Director of Citizenvestor, a Tampa-based startup company).

Zalinger also has arranged for Target to conduct mock interviews with some of his students. This will be an outstanding opportunity to build confidence and receive critical feedback on how to improve upon the art of interviewing.

The curriculum includes building and critiquing a résumé and cover letter, having a meeting with Zalinger to discuss current plans, four informational interviews and a final presentation discussing what they learned from these interviews. This class is meant to help students network with self-assurance, prepare to enter the “real world” and help them build and manage their careers--not jobs--with poise, power and positivity.

Zalinger believes that this course is something students have been longing for, and it is finally at their fingertips. In a hyper-competitive market, students need to radiate professionalism and confidence, and this class is designed to help them do just that.

To learn more about this course contact Zalinger at

Arts and Sciences Communication Student Success   
Author: Kelsey Howard