UCSB Career Services hosted a career panel for humanities and liberal arts majors at 3 p.m. in Career Services 1109 on Thursday.
The panel addressed questions posed by students in fields outside of the hard sciences, with the discussion largely touching on the lack of clearly defined career paths that these students have, compared to students in technical majors. Panel members included UCSB alum Cathleen Dunne, who is recruiting manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Joe Lewis, implementation team manager at AppFolio; as well as Oregon State fine arts major Lindsay Black.
Career Counselor Molly Steen organized the discussion to address the purported lack of employability for individuals who study the humanities or liberal arts.
“I keep hearing from students that they’re hearing from the media that they can’t get jobs unless they’re engineering majors,” Steen said. “And I can keep talking until I’m blue in the face. It’s just not true.”
According to Dunne, who was a communication major at UCSB, she does not take an applicant’s field of study into account, when recruiting new employees.
“I recruit every major possible,” Dunne said. “I hire everyone, from someone that is biology to landscape architecture to communications.”
Despite the practices of corporate hiring professionals like Dunne, who do not necessarily focus on an applicant’s major, Steen said she keeps hearing students complain that “they do not have any employable skills.”
“Most non-technical people recognize that they would not enjoy, and perhaps they would not succeed, in a very technical field,” Steen said. “So then they think, ‘Well, I guess I’m just going to have to work at Taco Bell,’ or something like that.”
Nonetheless, Steen said, many students’ passions for the humanities outweigh their concerns over salary or employability. Third-year film and media studies major Emma Manley, for example, said she enjoyed the sciences in high school, but felt that her calling would lie ultimately elsewhere.
“All my life, I knew I wanted to have a creative career path,” Manley said. “I would not ever want to be an engineer. Even if that’s what makes the most money, it’s not what is right for me and I know that.”
A version of this article appeared on page 3 of October 28, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.