Experiential Learning Coord. Cultivates Career and Learning Opportunities for Students

Oct. 28, 2019
Marisa Butler ’20
Sarah Kupec

Experiential learning opportunities provide students with skill-building experiences where they can apply what they have learned in the classroom in a professional setting and prepare them for rewarding careers. Worcester, New England’s second-largest city, provides a  number of such opportunities for Assumption students. 

Sarah Kupec ’15 was recently named experiential learning coordinator for the Grenon School of Business. As the coordinator, Kupec provides career and learning opportunities for students that build upon Assumption’s relationships with organizations throughout the greater Worcester community. The position was first created by the business studies department and moved to the Career Development and Internship Center (CDIC) when this summer the College established the Division for Student Success, a new office that unites the various offices and services that work with students to ensure their success. 

Kupec describes her role as “cultivating and managing long term relationships with new and existing companies for student projects, internships, full-time employment opportunities and classroom speakers.” Kupec added that these organizations include financial services, health sciences, government, nonprofits, media, medical, public relations, and more. “These opportunities will give Assumption students the chance to gain real-world industry experience to complement their liberal arts education,” she said. 

Through these experiential learning opportunities, students network, learn from, and work with local companies to explore internship and career opportunities. According to Kupec, students will be able to think strategically, deploy solutions to problems and have a meaningful impact on the community,  while applying the business concepts, theories, practices, and skills learned in the classroom. 

“Practical experience is one of the key factors in landing a great job after graduation or in differentiating an application for graduate school,” said Kupec. In recent years, Assumption students have helped organizations create marketing plans, design social media initiatives, analyze operations to identify potential cost reductions or improve efficiency, help with financial statements, and prepare tax returns. 

Liz Paquette ’20 has taken advantage of two experiential learning opportunities during her time at Assumption. She worked with Clarke Living, a high-end appliance showroom, to develop a marketing plan that was used to execute an event on campus; and created an advertising strategy for Coffee Cabin, a local food truck that serves fresh locally roasted coffee. When Coffee Cabin had decided to create a permanent location inside of WooBerry, a local ice cream shop popular among Assumption students, Paquette and her group developed an advertising plan that included a current situational analysis, a media plan, and sample advertisements. 

“Experiential learning has helped me solidify what I’ve learned, so that the information stays with me and I’m able to continue applying it in real life,” said Paquette. In her advertising class, she learned about different emotional appeals, how to conduct consumer research, and techniques to discover different needs that different products satisfy. Paquette stated, “I also personally believe that the best way to learn something is by doing it. We also get guidance and help from our professors throughout the process so we can correct mistakes as we make them.” 

According to Assumption’s Career Development & Internship Center (CDIC), each year, hundreds of students enrich their studies by gaining on-the-job experience. This includes 83 percent of graduates from the class of 2019 who completed at least one experiential learning opportunity during their time at the College. 

Organizations look to Assumption students because of their rich liberal arts foundation and business studies coursework that enables them to create particular strategies and solutions to help businesses grow and succeed. It is because of this liberal arts experience and unique Assumption education that breeds knowledge, confidence, and professionalism that organizations look to employ Assumption students.

“Assumption students know who they are, what makes them happy, and how to use their talents to lead a life they can be proud of,” said Kupec.

Kupec hopes that through this position, she will be able to provide new learning opportunities for Assumption students and intellectual resources for the Worcester community.