UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences News

Posts Tagged ‘staff’

The Polished Professional

Mary Jo Borden

Mary Jo Borden

For the past 20 years, Mary Jo Borden has been guiding UT students toward their careers. First in Career Services on the Main Campus and now with the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences students in the professional division, Borden helps students to polish their professional skills.

Before B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) students can begin their required internships, they spend time with Borden, the BSPS internship coordinator, who prepares them for their entry to the research workplace. As part of the BSPS program’s Institute for Leadership in the Sciences, students are educated on many facets of professionalism and leadership, including the soft skills that make them stand out in research and workplace settings. Throughout the first professional year, students participate in seminars on relevant career topics.

“I love working with students, helping with resumes and CVs, assisting with interview preparation, and researching employment options,” Borden said.

The resume and business card session is first, and those documents are used right away at the Dean’s networking events with employers and alumni and at the annual career fair. Borden truly enjoyshelping students to construct the perfect resume or CV and application letter.

“My Career Services nickname was ‘The Resume Slasher’ because a student claimed I slashed his resume to bits, but he went home, considered my suggestions, reworked his resume, and then landed his dream job,” Borden said.

To prepare for internship interviews and selection, students record a practice interview using the InterviewStream program, and Borden provides feedback on their performance, including tips on how to minimize filler words such as “umm,” “like” and “you know”. Borden also discusses how to navigate phone and Skype interviews, and she gives the students opportunities to practice their skills in face-to-face mock interviews.

Social media is another important dimension of students’ training in the Institute for Leadership in the Sciences. Students learn about networking, personal branding, communications skills, and professional presentations.

Students use the LinkedIn professional networking site and create a profile to enhance their personal brand and reach out to appropriate organizations and employers. Mastering these skills early in their careers can help them to establish a sound professional reputation.

Because they have not only a strong base of knowledge in the sciences but also the skills to navigate the workplace, the students in our BSPS students have an advantage over many of their peers nationwide.

More from Mary Jo:

  • Upon completing my bachelor’s degree at UT, I started my career here by working at the American Language Institute (A.L.I.), an intensive English language-training program. I created a conversation partners program by pairing our international learners with native speakers of English and also planned special events and field trips for students. While working at A.L.I., I completed my master’s degree in counseling and then worked as a career counselor at Penn State for 7 years.
  • I returned to UT in 1994 as an assistant director in Career Services where I worked with students from all colleges, in all majors, and at every degree level for the next 16 years. I met individually with students and alumni and conducted weekly workshops on a wide array of career topics ranging from applying for Federal employment to exploring international careers to conducting an academic job search for Ph.D. candidates, in addition to regular resume, interviewing and job search sessions.
  • One of my favorite roles in Career Services was coordinating the Pharmacy Day career fair each year with a team of staff and student workers. I worked closely with the college’s faculty, staff, administrators and employers to prepare students for the event and to assist them in navigating the range of available employment and residency options. I also assisted BSPS students with resume and job search questions, beginning with the first graduating class in 1998-1999.
  • In 2010, I had an opportunity to create a Career and Life Planning component for adult and non-traditional learners in the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning.
  • Once I completed that challenge, I looked for a chance to work more closely with students and, two years ago, I was happy to find that match in the BSPS Internship Coordinator position. This was such an easy transition for me because of my previous experience with the college—it felt like coming home!
  • I have worked in the career services profession for 27 years, through recessions, difficult times and changing technologies and I’ve never lost my passion for this profession. I am always learning something new in my field, meeting a student who shares his scientific curiosity with me, or talking with an alum about revamping her career path.
  • Over the years, one thing hasn’t changed–the best day for me is hearing from a student: “I got the job!” or “I’ve been admitted!”


CPPS staff members featured in UT News

Charisse, Richie and Richard Montgomery

Charisse, Richie and Richard Montgomery

Pharmacy staff members Richard and Charisse Montgomery were recently featured in UT News. Richard is the assistant director of the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Charisse is the college’s communications director and scientific editor. Both Montgomerys graduated in spring 2014, Richard with a doctorate in educational leadership and Charisse with a master’s in educational psychology. Their approach to raising their son, Richie, who has significant medical needs, was the focus of the article. Read the article

Photo by Rick Guidotti/Positive Exposure: The Spirit of Difference