What is the CDC?

June 24, 2013
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Steve Koppi, executive director of the CDC
Steve Koppi, executive director of the CDC

WPI’s Career Development Center (CDC) is at your service. Whether a current student at WPI or an alumnus from years past, the CDC is fully prepared to assist students as they embark on their career journeys.

Steve Koppi, executive director of the CDC, has spent nearly two decades in the business of career building. His experience transcends across all types of institutions, from top liberal arts colleges like Middlebury and Mount Holyoke to larger institutions like Johns Hopkins, Brown, and the University of Maryland to one-of-a-kind schools like Gallaudet, the nation’s first institution of higher learning for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. With a robust history in career development, Koppi easily recognizes what makes WPI unique in career development aspects. “WPI’s longtime emphasis on theory and practice captures the essence of our work and differentiates WPI from others,” he says. “I like to say that WPI has been 50 years ahead of its time for the past 100 years.”

Today, Koppi leads the CDC in connecting with employer partners and increasing the competitive advantage of WPI students in the marketplace. “The CDC’s mission is to work with students, alumni, and employers, establishing partnerships and increasing opportunities for success, both on the part of the job seeker and the employer,” he says. The Center offers a diverse menu of opportunities for any career appetite and provides coaching services like individual advising, job search strategy development, feedback on resumes and cover letters, interview preparation, and more.

Beyond assisting WPI students and graduates, employers have much to gain in working with the CDC. The Center offers opportunities for branding and creating awareness of their companies throughout the campus. Three on-campus career fairs are held each year (fall and spring, and a separate one for bioengineering and life sciences), in addition to on-campus interviews.

With Koppi in the CDC office are two major teams: Employer Relations, led by David Ortendahl, and Student Development, led by Maggie Becker. There’s also a customer service group and a staff member devoted entirely to working with alumni.

The prime goal of the CDC is to serve all degree-seeking WPI students and those who have already graduated in their quest to find a career. “We meet students where they are in terms of their own career process and tailor our offerings or approach to enhance their preparation for the job market, whether for internships, co-ops, or full-time professional positions,” he says.

Last year, approximately 80 percent of enrolled degree-seeking students at WPI used CDC’s services, a percentage far above the national average. Because of the high traffic in the CDC, the office staff sometimes struggles to meet the demand but they apply their creativity and innovation for planning and delivery. Though a challenge, it’s one Koppi describes as exciting. The CDC also faces the interesting task of teaching students that their major does not necessarily equal their career. “Any given major can lead to a variety of options. To see those options and adapt to new opportunities over time is essential,” he says.

The CDC is open year-round, not just during the academic year. The office recently added summer walk-in hours, Monday–Thursday, 1–4 pm. It’s now in the midst of planning for next year and will be launching employer outreach for the next recruiting cycle. Message to students: Don’t miss your chance to discover the career awaiting you.

For more information on the CDC, visit wpi.edu/Admin/CDC.

Taylor Nunez