Emory Report

 October 20, 1997

 Volume 50, No. 9

Alumni take students to work
for on-the-job experience

It was a busy day in the Grady Hospital emergency department. Among the many patients were a couple of people with multiple gunshot wounds, a homeless man with postoperative complications and a recently arrested woman who said she was having a miscarriage but wasn't even pregnant.

And one lucky Emory junior got to see it all. "It was great," said Delvecchio Finley, a chemistry major on a pre-med track. Although some of Grady's regular volunteers had to leave the room when serious cases arose, "I got to stay-I guess because I was with the big man," he said, referring to his host, Grady's chief emergency room physician.

Finley was one of 60 students who took part in last spring's "Take a Student to Work Program"-an annual event organized by the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA) to give undergraduates an up-close-and-personal look at potential career choices. Bafana Moyo, assistant director of the Association of Emory Alumni, is CEBA's staff liaison and helps coordinate the program.

"Take a Student to Work," which will be held in the fall from now on, matches African-American undergraduates from Emory and Oxford with black alumni and other Atlanta-area professionals working in career fields that interest the students.

"The whole purpose is to actually go to work with people for a day and see some of their typical duties and responsibilities," said Tiffany Dover '90C, who chairs CEBA's student relations committee. Since the program is open to all undergraduates, students can attend each year to get different experiences or to be exposed to different career options in a single field.

"It's totally up to that host what the student does," Dover said. For instance, some attorneys might take their students to court, while others might go to a law library. Dover tells sponsors only that "I want them to see you in action."

The program was moved to the fall to allow the hosts an entire academic year to work with their students, establish a relationship and even give advice on finding jobs or applying to graduate school, she said.

Starting this year, participating students must attend a preliminary information session dressed in business attire and submit a resume. "We're going to forward that resume to their sponsors, who can feel free to give comments," Dover explained.

Since about half the participating students are pre-med, CEBA has to recruit physicians other than alumni to serve as hosts. No potential sponsor has refused, Dover said, and every student who asked to meet a sponsor has been able to participate.

For some students, this mentoring program allows them to sample different professions, and for others it confirms they're on the right career path. Finley, who works in a clerical position at a local hospital's emergency room, knew the excitement of emergency medicine appealed to him. But spending a day at Grady-the hospital where he was born-"really helped me to know this is exactly what I want to do, and this is where I want to be," he said.

The program is valuable because "it's one thing to read things in books and to be in college-it's very different to actually go into an office or courtroom or classroom," Dover said.

And the program gives the members of CEBA, which is made up of alumni from each of Emory's schools, "a way of contributing back to Emory," she added. "Sometimes you can give more than just a check," said Dover, paraphrasing another alumnus.

-Linda Klein

Return to October 20, 1997 Contents Page