Portfolio Center hosts Creative Worker Series

By Contributing Writer

In an effort to help students get a head start in their career, the Portfolio Center, the college’s career center, has introduced a new series of events called the Creative Worker Series.

Christie Andersen Asif, career development specialist, led the first installment of the Creative Worker Series, a new combination of the Freelance Toolkit series and Career Wednesdays, at the Portfolio Center in the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave.

The first session of the series was called “Doing Your Research” and took place Feb. 12. The session highlighted details concerning the information students need to be successful in their chosen career paths.

“We define everyone at Columbia as creative workers and we really tried to hand-pick topics that are relevant to the students being successful workers,” Andersen Asif said.

The beginning of a semester often draws students toward taking the first steps of their own career development, including looking for jobs and internships, according to Andersen Asif.

“The push for the series directly correlates with the timing in the school year,” Andersen Asif said.

One of the goals of the Creative Worker Series Andersen Asif advocates is to keep Columbia students thinking about what is coming next and what they can do to get ahead in their career before graduation.

“It’s always a competitive time to be in the creative industry,” Andersen Asif said. “Now is really the prime time to get this information and use it in building a career post-graduation.”

Andersen Asif and other Portfolio Center employees fused the Freelance Toolkit series and Career Wednesdays workshops together after feedback from previous workshops showed that students would benefit from materials covered in both workshops.

Asif said the establishment of the Creative Worker Series was made because students could freelance in addition to working full-time.

Amanda Arnold, a sophomore fashion studies major, attended the first workshop and said she left the session feeling informed and eager to start searching for a job. She also said she was glad she found the Creative Worker Series event on the Portfolio Center’s online schedule.

“I found this session on their website and the resources on the site tell you what you should be getting involved in and what you should be doing,” Arnold said. “It’s a good sense of direction, that’s what I like most about it.”

Colin DeKuiper, creative industry liaison at the Portfolio Center, said he stands behind the concept of the new program and appreciates Columbia’s artistic student body.

“When I look at what other career centers do, I think the program we offer is more unique and specific to arts and media students,” DeKuiper said. “Our thought is to capture the nooks and crannies of career-related topics for all the students here.”

DeKuiper will be helping organize an upcoming Creative Worker Series session March 13 called “Anatomy of a Successful Kickstarter,” a workshop focused on Kickstarter and how to use it. The session will be held in the Ferguson Theatre, 600 S. Michigan Ave., and will feature a talk with Victoria Rogers, an outreach coordinator from the Kickstarter company along with representatives from various successful Columbia-related Kickstarter projects.