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Courtesy of Rosanne Wickman
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Outback in the Office

‘Take a Roo to Workday’ provides opportunity and job shadowing for students over Spring Break
Manuel Rivera
Student walking in front of Linda Hall Library.

  While some students spent their spring break soaking up the sun, others job shadowed with employers on and off campus in a new program called “Take a Roo to Work.” 

  Created by the Assistant Director of Career Preparation, Megan Raney, UMKC students experienced the day in the life of working for Kansas City employers like Ability KC, Hallmark and Burns & McDonnell.

  Raney heard of the idea at a conference and replicated the concept from another university.

  “Since we have a strong employer network, I knew we could do a UMKC version over spring break,” Raney said. 

  UMKC’s approach allowed students to register through Roo Groups, prompting them to a form where they enter their catalog year, major, industry interests and availability. Raney said Career Preparation did their best to match students’ preferences, or found something very similar, based on their responses.

  Once students were matched, they were prepped and prepared for what their shadowing day would look like. Raney held a ‘How to Job Shadow’ workshop, where topics like the importance of punctuality, curiosity and keeping an open mind were stressed to students.

  However, each organization has their own unique job shadowing experience. 

  Linda Hall Library was one of the many organizations that hosted Roos for this event. A UMKC computer science major and design student were taken under the wing by the library’s IT and Exhibition department. 

  “Our IT Roo spent time with our System Administrator learning about his role and some of his recent projects,” said Jennie Nguyen, director of marketing and communications at Linda Hall Library. “And our design Roo met and observed working professionals from different collaborating departments, such as marketing and digitization.”

  Students are more than just a fly on the wall while shadowing, they get to review current projects, offer insight, present some of their own work and receive feedback from working professionals. 

  “It’s quite helpful to learn from the students about the subjects they are learning in their programs,” said Nguyen. “These students bring fresh perspectives that may help us improve whatever it is we are working on.” 

  Despite this being the program’s first year, it proved to be popular amongst students by filling up quickly. Moving forward, Raney hopes to open registration earlier, allowing for more students to participate in this event.

  “Our hope for next time is that we’ll start collecting student responses earlier, so that we can start making matches ahead of time,” said Raney. “We’ll be able to use past hosts to keep growing – allowing us to take on more students.” 

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