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Hounds Reviewing Hounds

Hounds who hire on the job weigh in on the new way our students are marketing themselves to employers: ePortfolios 

No matter what your professional field, we have all felt the pressure in the days leading up to a job interview — especially when it comes to updating our respective forms of a portfolio. We fill them with our resumes, our accolades and the best examples of our work. But the newest group of graduating Hounds will enter the workforce with a different kind of show-and-tell product: the ePortfolio. Like the name suggests, students are now creating electronic spaces that house all the pertinent information an employer could want or need in one personalized digital space.

Katie P. Desiderio, assistant professor of management, is one of several faculty members leading the ePortfolio charge at Moravian College. She started tasking students with creating their own ePortfolios in her Organizational Behavior Leadership class three years ago and has already seen a difference in their futures. “My students come back from their interviews and tell me they blew their potential bosses away,” Desiderio says during an ePortfolio workshop put on by FYS, CAT and the College’s Mellon Foundation grant. “They tell me it helped differentiate them from other candidates, and one of my students is now demonstrating the art of ePortfolios to her colleagues at her job.”

This year’s crop of Desiderio’s students recently got an extra endorsement for their ePortfolios — in April, students presented their ePortfolios to distinguished alumni and local professionals in a series of four ePortfolio Professional Panels. Students networked with their panel members during lunch before presenting their portfolios to the panel and their classmates.

The panelists responded with constructive criticism and a lot of praise—they called the entire experience inspiring. “You need to be able to present yourself well. The moment you come into a room and sit down, you are being judged,” says Karen Yeakel ’82, vice president of investor relations for CrossAmerica Partners LP. “I think it is important for us to let these students know what someone at a professional level sees—what works, and what bothers us.”

These panels also serve as another way for alumni to connect to the College. “The students are always warm and welcoming,” says Laura Haffner ’86, Area President and Senior Vice President of the Lehigh Valley division of Wells Fargo. This was her second year evaluating ePortfolios. “I realize it’s because of the outstanding educational experience I enjoyed at Moravian that I have had opportunities for success in my career and I am very appreciative. I am always interested in finding ways to help other Moravian students in the same way I have been helped and guided as a student.”

In Desiderio’s class, students design their own ePortfolio websites to include whatever sections they want — from relevant course work and papers to video and multimedia elements and a personal note about their journey, Desiderio is committed to letting her students communicate their unique message. “This is an opportunity for reflection,” says Desiderio. “There is a real interdisciplinary connection here, they can see how their major is embedded in the liberal arts and in the greater journey.”