Q&A: Valerie Fetzer

How is work in Career Services at UW Bothell?

Valerie Fetzer, career coach, answers a few questions from Maria Lamarca Anderson, director of communications.

Valerie Fetzer
Valerie Fetzer

Q: How do you try to innovate?

A: I find that staying informed on current climates is the best place to start to innovate. Being curious about the environment around me, making sure I am welcoming diverse opinions and staying aware of the people who take up these spaces allows me to see how navigable a space may or may not be.

Q: What is the core of your work?

A: I’d say the core of our work at Career Services is to empower students along their journey for career mobility. By that, I mean career preparation, economic mobility and career satisfaction. Historically, there are a multitude of socioeconomic and cultural barriers that have obscured professional development for different student populations.

At Career Services, we help students explore their options and resources, build their confidence, and connect them with employment opportunities. We know students are here to earn a degree, however a degree isn’t the only thing that can get them a job. We help students articulate their transferrable skills by unpacking their previous experiences in classrooms and other jobs and by helping them own what their “why” is.

To us, career work is equity work, and I believe that is something that we are all passionate about. It guides us in how we seek to make impact.

Q: How do any or all of UW Bothell’s three strategic priorities fit into your work?

A: We are constantly seeking to strengthen and expand how we talk about diversity and equity in regards to career empowerment. As I noted already, a lot of that is constantly learning and paying attention to what is going on around us. But it’s also crucial to us that we offer programming that not only acknowledges how diversity, equity and inclusion issues have affected career mobility but that shows how to persist past such barriers and authentically “be you” in professional spaces.

We can’t do this work alone, therefore we reach out to campus partners. Not only can we learn from them, but we can also share resources so that we are enhancing community and campus engagement.

Additionally, we have been talking a lot about how we can embed more high-impact-practices into the UW Bothell experience. A lot of these high-impact practices revolve around gaining job and internship experience, as well as experiential learning opportunities (such as research, community involvement, etc.). We advocate for creating more career-connected learning within the classroom and staying informed with industries around us.

Q: What are you working on today?

A: I am currently in the process of hiring new student employees — assistant career advisers — and creating a training plan for them so that in autumn quarter we can serve more students as they enter a prime time for job and internship searching.

It is a great time to look for on-campus employment! Many departments are looking for student employees right now, so there’s ample opportunity for a wide set of interests.

Working on campus is such a meaningful experience because we prepare you to eventually leave our offices — which sounds funny, right? These are opportunities that are meant to both hone skills and build new ones, all while tailoring it to the academic experience. We want to provide a supportive environment where we help guide students while also building up their transferrable skills. In other words, we want to help students use each experience to move on to the next.

Students can learn more about open positions through the online HuskyHIres database.

Q: How does who you are show up in your work?

A: I believe you can’t detach who you are as a person from who you come in as at work. I always just try to show up authentically.

We’re all people with various experiences and identities. I try to give myself grace for being a human and hope that people feel as though I approach them with that same grace and curiosity as well.

I have had a particularly winding career path considering I am early in my career, which affects how I show up to work. I seek to help students understand that there is not one single or best “path” to choose. I definitely needed someone to help me navigate through that mentality better — and I hope I can be there in that capacity for others.

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus, and why?

A: I am quite new to UW Bothell so I am still discovering lots of new spots. I find myself constantly looking forward to walking toward the boardwalk in the wetlands on my lunch break. I’d love to get some recommendations of other places to go.

Q: What is your favorite thing about working at UW Bothell?

A: I have loved, and have been so refreshed to say the least, to see how understanding and curious people are at UW Bothell. We are all committed and so passionate about student success, and it feels really good to be in an environment where we are all working toward the same goal albeit in different capacities. I think it’s great for collaboration and ultimately the student experience.

Much of what I said about how I hope I show up to work is the energy I feel from others at UW Bothell. It makes me feel really lucky to work here.

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