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Released Februrary 6, 2004

COLLEGE OF HEALTH'S STUDENT RESOURCE CENTER
HELPS DIRECT STUDENTS IN RIGHT CAREER DIRECTION
By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG - Chrissy Martin and Jason Brown might not have a great deal of room to move around inside their small office in Fritzsche-Gibbs Hall, but the service they provide can change the future - and that doesn't need a lot of space.

"We answer e-mails, put together packets and offer advice to students about options in the College of Health, but we are available to students from other colleges, also," said Martin, 24, who works in the college's Student Resource Center in the Pearl Campbell Seminar Room, Room 101. "We have fliers, brochures and all kinds of information available to give to the student who needs help finding the right career direction."

The Student Resource Center opened Oct. 1, 2003, for the purpose of helping students with questions about the College of Health, careers inside the college, and the different paths available to complete their education.

The college's interim dean, Dr. Joan Exline, said the original idea for the center came about when the College of Health first came into existence last year.

"We felt there was a need for students to get a little more direction with regard to health-related professions," she said. "And (Martin and Brown) are doing a great job. We set up evaluations we will review at the end of the semester to see how it is going, but so far, we can see they are providing a much-needed service."

Jim Aviles, manager of technology and career counselor in Career Services, works with Martin and Brown at the center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. "The center is a good place to start for any students needing more information about their career field or career paths," he said. "We have information on careers, starting salaries and any other kind of information they might need. Also, if they are having difficulties with their major, we can help them figure out another major more suitable for them."

Brown, 24, who is working on his master's in public health, said that the Student Resource Center would have been a great asset to when he was an undergraduate. "A lot of time you need some guidance and we are here for the students," he said. "As an undergraduate, I didn't really have an idea about how the professional staff was concerned with the students. Now I know they will do anything in their power to help. We let the students know that."

He added that the center helps guide students on all the programs offered, and, for current students who might want to switch majors, the center can find what best suits the interests and desires for a certain career path. He and Martin run "What Ifs," a program that shows a student what changing a major will involve as far as classes and extra time needed to complete the requirements. "We don't have access to transcripts, but we can help the student see what it will take to change majors successfully," Martin added.

"Chrissy and Jason are very energetic and enthusiastic in helping students (find) the right direction," Aviles said.

The two are thorough, also. "We met with every academic unit within the College of Health to get input on what information and materials they would want processed to the students," said Martin, a CoH Human Performance doctoral graduate student. "We wanted to be able to help guide the students so that when they went to the professors, we would have helped narrow down the information and the professors could help them with the next steps to follow."

Martin and Brown also hand-picked the student ambassadors who attend recruiting events to help give students student-on-student perspectives. "They can answer any questions students need, and can direct them for more information here at the center, where we invite undeclared or interested undergraduates and graduate students to drop by and pick up catalogs, Class Schedule Guides, or one of the bulletins," Martin said.

"It's a one-stop shop for career guidance," Brown added.

The center is staffed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, the center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. Thursday the hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

For more information about the center, call Martin and Brown at (601) 266-5875 or visit www.usm.edu/colleges/coh/studentresources/.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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