By Katie Neitz

When it comes time to apply for your first job or graduate school, real-world career-related experience isn’t just a nice thing to have on a résumé. It’s considered essential.

The Office of Career Services recognizes that. It’s why each year, the team in Hogg Hall facilitates valuable shadowing externships for Lafayette students over winter break. These two- to five-day career-exploration opportunities give students across all majors exposure to a variety of industries, work environments, and graduate programs. This year, approximately 180 alumni, parents, and friends of the College rolled out the maroon welcome mat for 294 participants. Twenty students even doubled up and completed two externships.

“During these experiences, students are immersed in the host’s daily activities, which allows them to gain a better understanding of a field, ‘test drive’ the occupation, and evaluate whether or not this may be a potential career for them,” says Melissa Schultz, senior associate director of career services, who coordinates the externship program. “For our hosts, it can be a meaningful way to support a Lafayette student in a very personal way and leave a lasting imprint on their professional path.”(For more information about the College’s externship program, visit the Career Services website.)

From television studios to medical offices to courtrooms to sports arenas, Pards gained exposure to a variety of environments, as close as the Lehigh Valley and as far as Los Angeles and Canada. Here’s a peek at a few of their experiences.