Forum

Under Construction an invaluable opportunity

On Saturday Feb. 22, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted its second annual networking event Under Construction: Building Your Future. Under Construction is a conference intended to give humanities students the opportunity to interact with successful Carnegie Mellon alumni who have degrees in subjects like ethics, history, and public policy (EHPP) or creative writing, rather than engineering or computer science.

The conference was not an internship fair, but many alumni provided helpful suggestions about job hunting and explained their personal journeys to the professions they currently have. The second Under Construction was a vast improvement upon the first.

Last year, the conference was hosted off campus, which made it more difficult to get to and, therefore, discouraged student involvement. This year, the conference took place on the second floor of the University Center, which was much more accessible for students. Under Construction was also much better advertised this year than last, which meant that more students had the opportunity to participate.

The conference did not merely recycle alumni from last year’s event; this year’s crop of speakers was a wide-ranging and diverse group, with many unique experiences to share with students. There was a panel on editing and publishing, another on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), as well as one on government and politics, among many others. Under Construction was an admirable effort on the part of Dietrich College to help students plan for their future careers.

When a student studies something like computer science or engineering, a career path can be relatively easy to find — though work intensive to follow — because those skills are currently in high demand.

Career paths for humanities majors, meanwhile, can be harder to envision and plan out, and so interaction with successful alumni is an invaluable experience for humanities students. The keynote speaker, Terry Babcock-Lumish, advised students to keep an open mind and accept whatever opportunities come their way. Under Construction was an indispensable opportunity from which all Dietrich students could benefit.