On April 4, the Trent Oshawa Psychology Association (TOPA) hand-delivered the networking opportunity of an academic lifetime to Psychology and Sociology students at the Oshawa campus. At the inaugural event, attendees came out to mine the expertise of faculty, alumni and other inspiring professionals in related fields. With hands-on learning experiences like the Career Gala, it is not surprising that 88% of Trent graduates are employed within six months of graduation.
Raheleh Saryazdi is the president of the Trent Oshawa Psychology Association and a third-year Psychology student. She was encouraged by the overwhelming support of the Trent community and the success of the debut Career Gala, which sold out immediately. Nearly all industry professionals approached about the event were eager to attend.
Ms. Saryazdi stressed the importance of events like these for students nearing graduation. “TOPA thought this would be a great opportunity to speak first-hand to individuals in the field about life after graduation,” said Ms. Saryazdi. “It also provides the opportunity to explore different career paths that are applicable to their degree. To host an event at a campus and have such a turnout in attendance makes us very proud of the Trent Oshawa community. We as a team are proud of our accomplishment.”
A neuroscientist from Sick Kids Hospital, an addiction counsellor, psychotherapist, teacher candidates, and a lawyer were just some of the professionals who proved that many doors can be opened with a degree in Psychology or Sociology. Students were advised on everything from the process of filling out graduate school applications to the importance of networking. Equally significant, was advice to find something you love to do. Students were also assured that they too will find their way.
Lawyer and Trent alumnus, Oliver Cooper, graduated from Trent Oshawa in 2005 with a B.A. Hons in Sociology and minor in Psychology. He valued the opportunity to share knowledge with current students. “Events like this are great. They let students know that in this day and age, networking is extremely important,” he said. “You may not know which direction you’re going to go but are able to talk to some people who are out there working in different areas.”
Third-year Psychology student Courtney Komatsu enjoyed exploring her career options. “I came to talk about where I can take my degree and how far I can go with it,” said Ms. Komatsu. “Events like this are important because you get to meet different professionals, and see how they got to where they are and what steps they took.”
Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant is chair of Psychology and a Trent alumna. As a professor she feels supporting this type of event is absolutely critical. “One of the most important perspectives as a professor is our commitment to support our students to become the future,” she said.