Santa Clara University

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Santa Clara University

SCU Stories
Krishnan photo

Elizabeth Krishnan '00

Associate Director, Career Center
At a glance:

Career counselor doubles as course instructor to guide students toward making vocational discoveries

As a counselor in the Career Center, Elizabeth Krishnan regularly helps students to discover meaningful job opportunities. Through her course, ELSJ 23: Careers for the Common Good, she extends her guidance to the classroom, providing undergraduates of all majors and backgrounds the opportunity to explore their interests and possible career options while learning about social realities and injustices.

Careers for the common good

Through her course, Krishnan brings together first-hand experience in weekly, community-based placements with critical reflection to allow students to develop an understanding of social realities as well as their own passions. Through these community-based learning (CBL) experiences, students work in areas such as education, homelessness, and adult disability to develop an awareness of community issues.

In addition, a site visit to Google and guest speakers engage students to think about issues such as health care, sustainability, and corporate social responsibility. While learning about social realities first-hand through CBL is important, Krishnan also tries to connect those issues to fields besides social service to reaffirm the idea that the common good can be integrated in many ways.

"It's really about educating students about social realities across the sectors: corporate, nonprofit, government, and in the world." Whatever career paths the students take, Krishnan's course builds awareness of social realities, starting with the local community around Santa Clara University.

The vocational discovery

As a Santa Clara graduate, Krishnan remembers how her involvement in CBL in her courses gave her an awareness of community issues and a realization of the "responsibility to address those needs in whatever we do." Now, in her work at SCU, she aims to give her students the same opportunities to make vocational discoveries.

"I constantly return to the framework of the class when I'm educating students about why in the first place we are having CBL in this class. There are three questions: What am I interested in? What am I good at? What does the world need? If you can intersect those three, then that's what we call vocation and meaningful work. And that's just where this class comes into play, exposing students to those needs and social realities."