The Center for Career Planning and Applied Learning is the office on campus that connects all of the off-campus and experiential learning opportunities aimed at enhancing students’ academic and personal development, and bridging their transition from college to graduate study or employment. The Center for Career Planning and Applied Learning provides experiential education opportunities aimed at enhancing a student’s academic, personal and professional development.
By coordinating student life with academic affairs, the Center acts as a bridge between the learning that takes place in and outside the classroom
- Through Service-Learning, the Center acts as a bridge connecting Eckerd students and faculty as academic achievers to direct service aimed at helping students critically reflect on what service means to them and their community, grow in self-awareness and discover where their deepest passions meet the world’s greatest needs.
- Through Career Services, the Center connects students to employers, alumni, and graduate schools so that they can apply the skills they’ve learned to internships, jobs and further education.
- Through Community Initiatives, the Center generates and leverages strategic partnerships with key community organizations to create experiential education opportunities aimed at promoting civic education, engagement, empowerment and equity.
In Their Own Words
“As a Lead Intern for the Midtown Project, I expanded my leadership skills into the business management world by shepherding relations with Eckerd students and small business owners in St. Petersburg-an experience I will be able bring into any professional situation. As an Environmental Studies major, I have had little classroom training about business management, however this opportunity gave me so much insight into efficiency, organization, administration, and general people skills.”
— Haley Burger ’16
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Gainesville, FL
Through Community Initiatives, the Center for Career Planning and Applied Learning generates and leverages strategic partnerships with community organizations creating experiential education and internship opportunities aimed at promoting civic education, engagement, empowerment and equity. Through these partnerships, Eckerd students not only provide valuable skills and services to Tampa Bay, but are also challenged to reflect on the broader social, political, ecological, spiritual, and human contexts of problems facing individuals, communities and our environment.
Our Community Initiatives include partnerships with:
Journeys in Journalism
In partnership with the Poynter Institute, Eckerd College students work with Melrose elementary, John Hopkins middle-school and Lakewood High school to support their teachers and administrators as they prepare the students to be engaged citizens through instruction in all aspects of journalism in a positive, confidence-building environment.
Eckerd College Educational Alliance
Through this college supported student club, students passionate about promoting education and seeking careers in education work as mentors, tutors and role models to K-12 students throughout south St. Petersburg. Students spend time in the classroom helping teachers and working directly with the students to gain the education skills they need to be successful inside and outside the classroom.
Science Center at Career Source Pinellas
Through the science center, Eckerd College students work to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and workforce development initiatives in Tampa Bay. For over 50 years, the Science Center has offered quality educational programming to students in grades K-12 and most recently added job training programs in Cyber Security and Advanced Manufacturing. The Science Center provides youth with STEM career exploration and educational opportunities aligned with developing a stronger workforce for the region. The science center also offers summer camps focused on robotics, forensics, rocketry, manufacturing and game design.
Baypoint Middle School
Through the Annenberg Challenge, Eckerd College has partnered with Baypoint Middle School and the Pinellas County Schools to promote comprehensive education reform. While at Baypoint, Eckerd College students work with middle-school students to promote bio-science laboratory initiatives, including hands-on shark dissections.
Meet the Staff
A native of Washington D.C., Ronald serves as the Director of Service-Learning. Ronald earned his BA in Political Science from Eckerd College and his Master’s in Education and PhD from the Social and Cultural Studies in Education program at the University of California at Berkley. Ronald’s dissertation traced the intellectual history of African-American educational thought, looking specifically at the works of W.E.B DuBois, Alain Locke, and James Baldwin. Ronald has served as a visiting lecturer at San Francisco State University and a graduate student instructor at UC Berkeley. Ronald’s commitment to service-learning has been shown through his work with Amnesty International, The Studio @620, the Stop AIDS project in San Francisco as well as his environmental research for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Ronald has spearheaded an ongoing collaborative effort with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman joining Eckerd students with local high school students in joint service-learning projects. Through Ronald’s leadership, the Office of Service-Learning secured an environmental grant to fund “Plastics and Microplastics in Tampa Bay: Education and Action.”
A native of St. Petersburg, Grant serves as the Director of Career Services. Grant earned his BA in Environmental Studies from Florida Gulf Coast University and his Master’s degree in College Student Development from Appalachian State University. With a proven commitment to higher education and a passion for working with students, Grant has served Eckerd College in a number of functional areas of student affairs including residence life, housing, service learning, and conduct. In 2014, Grant was appointed the Eckerd College Director of Career Services.
A native of Colorado, Melena serves as the Director of Internships and Employer Relations. Melena earned her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education from the University of Colorado. She served as Chair of the Educational Initiatives Sub-Committee for the SoACE Diversity and Inclusion Team and the Chair of the Professional Development Committee for the Colleges of Central Florida Career Consortium. Melena has held multiple faculty positions teaching strategic career management, job search strategies and self-discovery courses. She has acted as a guest speaker on numerous occasions, including being interviewed by an Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist on “Colorado State of Mind” regarding the employment outlook for new graduates. Melena has also provided presentations to FloridaACE, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, ACPA, the Hillsborough Association for Volunteer Administrators and the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce.
A Chicago native, Mary serves as a career specialist in career services where she coaches students and alumni offering customized career planning on how to identify career options, write resumes and personal statements, professionally network and search for internships, jobs and grad school programs. Prior to her work at Eckerd, Mary was the Marketing Manager at the Home Shopping Network, where she managed strategic partnerships focused on revenue generation and corporate social responsibility. With broad experience in the private sector, Mary has worked in the areas of information technology and management at United Airlines, Sara Lee, CNA, GATX, and Tech Data. Mary holds a BA from Eckerd College.
Krystle is our Career Services Coordinator with over 6 years of experience in event planning, content management systems, and community outreach. Tasked with generating various career programs aimed at preparing students for employment post-graduation; programming includes workshops, large-scale employment and recruitment fairs, as well as information sessions for locally-based companies and organizations. Whether her campus outreach is analog or digital, she seeks to inject each project with empathy and helpful advice.