Campus helps students dress for careers

Hannah Prakasam
Hannah Prakasam at the Husky Clothing Pop-up. Marc Studer photo

Euclid Taufik has a suit back at home. But the accounting major, who is working to graduate in the fall of 2020, hasn’t had to wear one at the University of Washington Bothell — until now. He needed something appropriate to wear to the Spring Job & Internship Fair.

Taufik found what he needed — a dark suit — at a free clothing pop-up organized by a student club and university advisers. “It was super convenient,” said Taufik.

How we dress can affect how we are perceived by others, said Kim Wilson, director of UW Bothell Career Services, which offers guidelines on its website on what to wear to a career fair, interview or first day on the job.

Euclid Taufik
Euclid Taufik picked up a suit. Marc Studer photo

An eye for success

When more than 50 employers filled the Activities & Recreation Center on Wednesday, April 24, hundreds of students were ready to meet recruiters. Some of them had stopped off Monday or Tuesday at the Husky Clothing Pop-up in UW1-103, the conference room off the lobby of Founders Hall.

The pop-up was coordinated by Tau Sigma, the national honor society for transfer students led by Hannah Prakasam. Clothing was collected by academic advisers Kathy Mitchell and Jessica Trenkamp along with career specialist Jill Rand.

They printed flyers and spread the word on campus. Faculty, staff and students responded with donations that filled Mitchell’s and Trenkamp’s offices. Some of the clothing had been donated at the Student Diversity Center. Even more donations came in during the pop-up.

Volunteers sorted the cleaned and pressed garments into sizes and had a wide selection hanging on walls and laying on tables when the doors opened. Students had a few questions, including asking advice on what to wear. “To the best of my abilities, I helped them out,” Prakasam said.

Prakasam said she sees a growing awareness about professional attire among students by the time they become juniors and seniors and start internships or present capstone projects. But students living on their own for the first time may not be prepared to look their best.

“We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to just come in and see if there’s

anything they like, that’s also nice, that they could wear to an interview.”

Support for clubs

Kathy Mitchell, left, and Jessica Trenkamp. UW Bothell

“We are so excited because of the great participation in wanting to help students put a professional foot forward,” Mitchell said. “We found unity and support with each other.”

Mitchell, a premajor academic adviser, and Trenkamp, an adviser for the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, are co-chairs of the Community of Professional Advisers (CPA). It includes more than 50 advisers on campus. This school year, the CPA is committed to supporting clubs and causes that students care about, Mitchell said.

The CPA supported the Threads and Treads clothing drive conducted over the winter holiday by the Achieving Community Transformation (ACT) student organization and has donated to the Husky Pantry student food bank. Advisers also donated self-care and art supplies to a women of color healing circle, which is forming a club.

“At UW Bothell,” Trenkamp said, “we strive to provide opportunities for students to learn both inside and outside of the classroom and prepare them for life after school.”

Prakasam, for one, headed to the fair hoping to learn about hospital jobs. After graduating, she plans to work for a year before applying to medical school.

In service of students

Laura Mansfield
Laura Mansfield, staff, donates blazer. UW Bothell

A Health Studies major graduating in winter 2020, Prakasam has been president of Tau Sigma the past year. Transfer students who have a 3.5 GPA or who are among the top 20 percent of transfers are invited to join the club. Past club events have focused on study groups and resume building.

The new clothing drive is the biggest event the club has had this year.

“I wanted to make Tau Sigma more than an academic honors society and more of a service to students,” said Prakasam, who hopes the Husky Clothing Pop-up becomes an annual event before the job fair.

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