We asked new director of career services and co-director of the center for experiential learning and career success Katie Ramirez a few questions to get to know her better.
by Kale Ridge
My path into career services began by happenstance. I started working in the career services office at my alma mater—they were the first office that called me back to interview when I was applying for work-study positions as a sophomore. By then, I'd already had experience working at a veterinary clinic, a grocery store, and a party supply store (I started working at 16), so I had a pretty strong foundation in customer service and basic office operations - perfect for a work-study job. At the time, the career services office was small, so I got the chance to engage in some peer advising, help the staff coordinate events/career fairs, and really get a sense for how things operate in a way students don't often get to. I was also a Senior RA on campus and found I really enjoyed working with students in general. I was an art major/business minor but knew that, for me, art wouldn't become my career—I just really enjoyed studying it.
After graduation, I wanted to continue to help people and have an impact, so I worked in the non-profit field for a few years at both grant-making and grant-seeking organizations. These experiences were critical to developing the external interfacing and creative problem-solving skills I use today. In that environment, you're challenged to do more with less while ensuring the quality of service. This was such an exciting way for me to pull from so many different talent themes, values, and experiences, so I went on to pursue a Masters in Nonprofit Management—a business degree, but one that focuses on non-financial returns.
I returned to higher education and career services after realizing how much I missed working with students and how useful my knowledge and background could be. I went on to study career development theory and application, became certified in psychological assessments, and grew into the profession. Since then, I've held a number of different roles within career services and had the opportunity to do a number of really exciting things, like represent Trinity by presenting at conferences, leading our regional association, and doing what I can to help advance the mission of the University and profession.
Inspiring. Elite. Family. The future.
One of my top “StrengthsQuest” strengths themes is relator, so I really enjoy forging meaningful relationships with students, working with them throughout their four years and beyond. There's nothing like connecting with an alum I first met at an admissions event before their first year, worked with during their undergrad years, and watched go on to do their own thing after graduation. It's gratifying to see students go on to forge their own paths, navigate adulthood, and sometimes even circle back to recruit or connect their organizations to us.
We have incredible employer partners, who are eager to work with Trinity students and graduates. My favorite part about working with them is their excitement about Trinity as an institution. We get to hear employers brag about the wonderful ways Trinity students and graduates have impacted their organizations.
While volunteer experience and community engagement are not a formal part of my role (they sit with the office of experiential learning), I can't underscore the importance of those activities for students. With my background in nonprofits, I have a heart for serving the community and supporting others in doing so. Related to career development, volunteerism and community engagement helps students to develop their skill sets, explore career paths they may not realize existed, as well as expanding their networks without really having to think too much about it. From a recruiter's perspective, any experience that helps a student develop a relevant skill is important - regardless of whether it was paid, unpaid, or if it had a fancy title (or not). Volunteerism and engagement are great ways to develop leadership skills that will serve you no matter where you choose to go or what you choose to do.
Your career is, well, careers! What career other than yours would you like to attempt?
This is a tough one. I really enjoy the work that I do and the variety of skills and experiences I get to employ on a regular basis. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a natural event planner, so if I had to pick one, I'd own my own business as a party planner. Helping bring to life a vision for an event or special occasion would be rewarding, fun, and definitely something I'd excel at (it's all about the little details). It's is really not so different from some of what I do now, though!
My most unusual talent? I'm a little rusty, but I used to be able to inflate, tie, and prepare arrangements of one dozen balloons in under 3 minutes (after many, many shifts working a balloon counter that's exactly what it sounds like). I was also the Maryland state champion in llama showmanship many, many years ago.
Kale Ridge is the writing intern for the Office of Strategic Communications, and one day, he wants to be a video producer. Reach him at kridge [at] trinity.edu.