Carson Center for Student Success Endowed Excellence Fund:
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
The Carson Center for Student Success continues to evolve. With the onboarding of Director Suzi Billington, eight new staff have been hired over the last year to improve existing programs and implement new ones. Now more than ever, the center is fully staffed and uniquely able to provide business majors with tailored services including career advising, networking and professional development opportunities, quality academic advising and tutoring, international and leadership experiences, and scholarship assistance to help students succeed in the classroom and in their professional lives.
But many of the opportunities that benefit students would not be possible without the Carson Center for Student Success Endowed Excellence Fund, which supports the center’s ongoing operations.
Established in 2014, the fund ensures students have the support to set career goals, gain industry-relevant experiences through internships, learn effective networking skills, and confidently and professionally present themselves in job interviews and professional settings.
“The Carson Center for Student Success Endowed Excellence Fund is vital to the programs we are able to offer students to equip them for future careers. As the director for the center, one of my goals is to keep building on the existing strengths with an added focus on career and professional development,” says Billington.
Some of the best examples of how donated funds to the center help provide students with career preparation are seen in the personal testimonies of the Carson Center ambassadors. Piloted in 2015, the five-member group is carefully chosen to showcase Carson College programs to campus recruiters, guests, and visitors, as well as prospective students and their parents.
Ambassadors develop public speaking skills, confidence, and professionalism as they help promote Carson College initiatives and attend external events, among other duties. Their testimonies are a reflection of the impact of the Carson Center for Student Success Endowed Fund.
Hometown: Mauritius, Madagascar
Class year: Senior
Major: Finance and International Business
As an ambassador, I am able to showcase and promote events and professional development to students who are not aware of the resources and opportunities available in the Carson Center. The best thing about being an ambassador is that we have the advantage of front line networking opportunities with companies that are showcased during the Career Expo Night. As ambassadors, our duty is to welcome them to the Carson College and establish one-on-one conversations. The center prepares students to enter the workforce successfully. The center also helps students prep for mock interviews and possible questions they might expect at job interviews. Personally, the center has helped me redefine my résumé and also help build my LinkedIn profile. Helping the college make the community aware and engaged with the Carson brand is something I value and why I applied to be an ambassador.
Hometown: Camano Island, Washington
Class year: Senior
I was motivated to become an ambassador because I wanted to communicate all that the Carson College of Business has to offer to prospective students in terms of scholarships, tutoring, advising, and an excellent education. As an ambassador, I have staffed information tables and given tours to prospective Cougs and their parents. I even had the opportunity to make a video explaining to students what is happening around campus. The biggest thing I can thank the Carson Center for is sending me to China to study abroad. Of all the activities I have participated in, the most meaningful to me was attending the Study Abroad Fair and meeting students who had been through the process. From this experience, I learned more about the program and made my decision with no hesitation. Without the center’s financial help, I wouldn’t have been able to go and learn all the wonderful things I did. The Carson Center also sponsored me to participate in several networking events, including Career Networking Night and the Power Breakfast in Seattle, where I met Brad Jackson, Slalom’s chief executive officer. The best thing about the Carson Center is the people who make it. The students and faculty are amazing, and it is a community within WSU that is supportive and one I can rely on.
Hometown: Wenatchee, Washington
Class year: Senior
Major: Hospitality Business Management
My excitement to grow professionally motivated me to apply to become a Carson Center ambassador. I have always been so afraid of public speaking and getting out of my comfort zone. Knowing I would be graduating soon and that I would need experience to stand out to companies, I wanted to become an ambassador to develop myself as a professional. As a transfer student, it was tough for me to know what requirements I needed to meet in order to graduate on time. The center’s advisors helped me plan out each semester. As a hospitality major, I needed 1,000 hours of work experience, and I came here with zero. By working in the center during school and summers, I will complete the required hours and get my diploma at the same time as finishing classes. Additionally, I studied abroad the first semester of my senior year. The faculty-led program in Switzerland was well laid out and informational. The program provided me a cultural experience that I wouldn’t have been able to get in Washington and didn’t set me back in school!
Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Class year: Senior
Major: Marketing and International Business
While I was researching different institutions, I found out the Carson College of Business’ International Business Program was ranked 15th in the nation. That, along with the campus’s strong school spirit and the beauty of the Palouse definitely contributed to my decision to come to WSU to receive a true American college experience. I consider myself very lucky to have been recommended to be an ambassador. It was an honor and has been a great learning experience. The most meaningful activity for me as an ambassador was helping at the Golden Grad Reunion, where I had the opportunity to meet and greet alumni who graduated back in 1956 and learn about what WSU was like back in then! The best thing about being an ambassador is working with my fellow ambassadors; every one of them has had a positive impact on my life. I can always find a friend to study with or talk to in the center—it has so many resources. For example, while working at the Career Networking Night, I managed to practice my networking skills and learn about job opportunities. Additionally, I had a hard time adjusting to LinkedIn and knowing how to use the website. Through a LinkedIn workshop held by the center, I was able to see what I was doing right and wrong. My experiences in the center have not only added value to my college career, but have prepared me for leadership positions in my future career.
Hometown: Bainbridge Island, Washington
Class year: Senior
I had a challenging freshman year—I switched my major twice and really struggled to find my place academically. I was attracted to the ambassador program for three reasons: to become more involved in my major and in the Carson College, to have opportunities to help students avoid the hardships I faced, and to share my passion for Washington State University. Since joining the program, I have had countless networking opportunities, from hosting Career Networking Night to meeting and getting to know our dean, Chip Hunter. In the Carson Center, we have focused heavily on student outreach this semester, informing them of the countless resources they may not be aware of. Seeing prospective students get excited about becoming a Coug because of something you did or said is the best thing about being an ambassador. I have had several interviews as a result of our networking night, and I attribute a lot of that to the Carson Center and the networking opportunities they sponsor. I love the feeling you get from the Carson Center staff. From supervisors to fellow student staff, everyone wants you to succeed in what you are doing, and we share opportunities and experiences with each other.
Invest today in the Carson Center for Student Success Endowed Excellence Fund to support students throughout their academic careers, help them gain experiences that align with their professional goals, and become contributing and innovative leaders in the business world.