- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director
The idea began during the summer, when professors heard employers asking to speak with talented students about internship and job opportunities.
Between Sarah Kercsmar, PhD, program director and director of undergraduate studies in Clinical Leadership and Management, and her partners at the Stuckert Career Center (namely Rachel Brand and Beth Hanneman) they came up with the perfect plan.
Or, in this case, a more professional version of it. In this version, there is no romance — but there are relationships. So Kercsmar sent the word out on social media, and on the last Thursday afternoon in January, more than 20 students gathered to speak to nine local healthcare employers in a round-robin style fashion where each got about five minutes with one another before moving to the next.
Welcome to the 1st CLM Speed Dating/Summer Internship Fair. It’s kind of like speed dating — and by all accounts, it worked pretty well.
“The hope is for students to make meaningful connections,” Kercsmar said. “And that can lead to internships and careers. Here in CLM we’re about building networks, and if you can practice your interviewing skills in this environment — especially during COVID — that can be really beneficial. And for employers, this is a chance to meet some of our really awesome students and get to know our program better. Then hopefully they’ll be eager to do it again.”
Afterward, those groups and students who made a connection were encouraged to meet up again for a “second” interview.
“It went really well. Dr. K and everyone did such a great job putting this event together, giving us the opportunity to speak to all of these employers from several different healthcare fields,” said Katrina Norris, a junior CLM major. “It opened my eyes to some pretty incredible options this summer.”
“The event was a great opportunity for myself and my fellow CLM students to network and find internships for the summer,” said Madison Middendorf, a junior in CLM who is on the pre-PA track. “I love that CLM gives students the ability to be successful after college and make connections with employers all over the state of Kentucky.”
The prospective employers felt the same way.
“I thought the event was exactly what the students needed to begin a very important process,” said Jill R. Hunter, director of Government Payer Policy and Project Collaborations at University of Kentucky HealthCare’s EVPHA Payer Administration. “During the event, I was thinking back to my undergrad days, moving from Senior Year into Grad School with one plan — become a TA and start classes. While I attended an amazing university, at no point did someone take the time to offer an event to provide me and my fellow classmates an opportunity to ‘dress for success’ and interact with business professionals in the field I planned to enter someday — not to mention the chance to be selected to work with one or more of the individuals for the summer.”
"I was truly impressed with the caliber of the CLM students at the Career Fair," said Mark Slone, a CHS alum and President of Alliant Purchasing. "The students were well prepared, articulate and energetic. It made me proud to be an alumnus of the program and we at Alliant Purchasing look forward to working with some of these future leaders."
Hunter went on to say that Dr. Kercsmar is one of a kind — “an amazing educator (who) truly has the students’ best interests at heart.”
Baptist Health System KY/IN
Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities & Kentucky Center for Assisted Living
Poole & Thomas Pediatrics
University of Kentucky HealthCare (multiple groups)
Kingsbrook Lifecare Center