Fall 2017 Member Spotlight Nolan E. Yaws-Gonzalez

Why have you chosen to join and stay involved in OCDA?  

When I first started at WSU Vancouver, I received a letter with tips and recommendations for how to be successful in the role from Christine Lundeen, who had previously held the Career Counselor role I was hired to fill. In her message, Christine mentioned her involvement with OCDA and how much she valued the organization. This prompted me to look into OCDA and join. I’ve stayed involved because of the connections I’ve made and the development I’ve received through the annual Professional Development Institutes. I greatly value what the organization has to offer and the things I have learned through PDIs.  

What do you most enjoy about career development work? 

When I started at WSU Vancouver, almost three years ago, I made the leap from working in housing and residence life on college campuses to career services. I find the work we do within career development to be so positive, meaningful and energizing. One of my favorite parts of getting to play a role in the journeys of WSU Vancouver students is hearing about how they’ve learned and grown and seeing them succeed. Sure, there are challenging conversations, but they often lead to meaningful discoveries and some of the best end results.  

Tell us about your organization and the work you do.

I currently work on the Vancouver campus of Washington State University. WSU Vancouver is a land-grant, research one university with over 3540 students. As a campus, one of our biggest goals is to increase access to affordable higher education within Southwest Washington. As Assistant Manager for the Student Resource Center, I have the pleasure of overseeing both Career Services and New Student Programs. I get to work with students from the time they kick off their VanCoug journeys at new student orientation through graduation, and beyond when they visit Career Services as recent alumni. On the Career Services side of things, I have the opportunity to lead workshops, teach a career development course, meet one-on-one with students and alumni, and plan campus-wide career events. I truly enjoy working on a smaller campus that is constantly changing; I value a great deal having the opportunity to wear many hats within my day-to-day work.  

If you had to pick one favorite tool or resource you use regularly in your work with participants, what would it be and why?

I worry that my answer might be too simple, but, honestly, one of my favorite resources to help students get connected with is O*Net OnLine. Students often get really excited when they realize there is a tool that can help them learn more about a wide range of occupations and I feel like it compliments “What can I do with a major in…” websites and assessments like the MBTI and Strong really well! I also find it to be a great tool to help students narrow down what they want to dig into further, leading to more meaningful informational interviews.  

What's one interesting thing most people don't know about you?

As an undergraduate student, I never utilized Career Services. I honestly knew I should go visit the Career Resource Center (CRC), but I never made it in the door. I am not sure what held me back, but I don’t ever recall having the staff from the CRC visit my classes or any of the clubs I participated in. I think a great deal of why I love having the opportunity to attend club meetings, visit classes, and lead workshops now stems from the fact that I know that personal connections and meeting students in the spaces in which they are most comfortable, helps get them in the door! 

Oregon Career Development Association

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