Plan II alumni share career experiences with current students

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Plan II Career Week kicked off Monday with a panel of alumni who shared their success stories with current students to help them pinpoint their postgraduate professions.

“We have been doing this event for 10 years,” said Melissa Ossia, Plan II academic advising coordinator. “The alumni panel is special, because we always get a very diverse and unconventional set of career experiences. We have professionals from medical and legal fields, nongovernmental organizations, writers, researches, etc.”

Unlike traditional majors, Plan II is an interdisciplinary curriculum that encompasses diverse fields of arts and science. 

Plan II alumna Kristen Hogan, education coordinator at the UT Gender and Sexuality Center, reflected at the panel on what the program taught her.

“I appreciate the critical thinking and the analytical skills that Plan II gave me,” Hogan said. “We live in interdisciplinary ways, and that’s what Plan II is all about.”

Hogan also specified how Plan II courses shaped her personal and professional views.

“I learned how to see the world from a social justice framework,” Hogan said. “It helped me reflect on my own privileges and exposed me to marginalized gender identities.” 

Ossian said networking with alumni can have tremendous benefits for current Plan II students.

“These alumni understand that Plan II students are problem solvers,” Ossian said. “They know from personal experience that we teach a particular set of skills that appeal to employers.”

Ossian said the Plan II office keeps track of all of their alumni with the intention to ask them to come back and speak to students.

“We select alumni based on age,” Ossian said. “We want a diverse range of how long it has been since they graduated from the program.”

Cecilia Handy, Plan II and psychology sophomore, said she appreciated Plan II more hearing from the panel of alumni.

“I don’t have a career in mind yet,” Handy said. “But listening to the people who shared my experience is comforting, hopefully I’ll discover a career path like them after I graduate.”

Handy was especially inspired by Hogan’s academic experience in a Plan II course.

“Hogan took Professor Carol MacKay’s class on women’s autobiographical writing when she was at UT,” Handy said. “I also want to take that course, so maybe our careers will share some similarities.”