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New director helps studentsʼ careers

October 28, 2011

Career Services has appointed Melissa Wilson as the new director of Career Services. The announcement was made official in September. Wilson is a graduate of UW-River Falls, and was previously a career counselor and interim Alumni Relations coordinator on campus. She previously worked at UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville in the Administration Offices.

Her new position comes after the death of the former director of Career Services, Bridget Kenadjian. Kenadjian had received the position in Sept. 2010. She was informed that she had cancer, a return from years previous, in December of last year. She died March 20, 2011.

“It was very difficult for everybody here [at Career Services], first of all to have somebody that you were just starting to know and really like, and then have [Bridget] die,” said Alice Reilly-Myklebust, the director of Student Health and Counseling Services. “But then to keep Career Services moving forward, and being able to serve students that we need to…that was hard on everybody.”

Reilly-Myklebust said that she was pleased of the professionalism that Career Services had in that time of mourning. “We all pulled together and did what we needed to do, and it worked out.”

McKenna Pfeiffer, a career counselor on campus, shared a larger workload with Wilson while Career Services was in its search to find their next director. Pfeiffer said that both Wilson and herself prefer to look towards potential goals and tasks. “For the future, we are focusing on having fun, and putting out a professional and strong product for our constituents,” said Pfeiffer. “We want to make sure that everything we do is intentional and current for the students.”

With the position now filled, Pfeiffer said she knows that Wilson will lead Career Services past its goals and will achieve above and beyond. “Melissa has a strong vision for where she wants to take the office,” said Pfeiffer. “We are in a healthy, positive place as a staff and everybody is willing to do their part in that ‘piece of the puzzle.’”

Pfeiffer said that she is thankful for having a hard-working and determined person like Wilson as the director. “To have somebody that is willing to take us to reach our potential and goals is awesome,” said Pfeiffer.

Even with the new position, Wilson said that she will still be able to work with UWRF students, helping them out with their career goals in whatever major they are in. “I enjoy working with students in all areas of where they are at as well as their educational journey. And this [job] is the perfect mix of all of that,” said Wilson.

Wilson said that she likes to offer advice to students who are about to start or who are planning on starting their new careers in the near future. “What is most important on when you are embarking on your career journey is to be open to new opportunities and to take advantage of a multitude of experiences, because you never know what you might fall in love with,” Wilson said.