Career Services Center Annual Report 2020-21

Note from the Director

Effie Eisses

Effie Eisses
Director, Career Services Center

It’s amazing to think that we have now had the experience of working for a whole academic year + some in a remote fashion.  I am, once again, in awe of our team and the resilience and flexibility that they have shown and continue to show during these ‘need to adapt immediately’ type of times.   I am also proud to say that not only did we continue to offer all of our services to our students and alumni during the 2020-2021 academic year, but we actually served more than we typically did during our non-Covid years (see data throughout this report).  During a time when a lot of our peers were seeing exponential decreases in student engagement, we saw more.  I attribute this not only to our great team but also to our outreach efforts to recent graduates, our new Canvas site for seniors, our new workshop offerings, and outreach to faculty and staff.  In addition to outreach to faculty and staff, we also offered a workshop series specifically to our colleagues so that they can better understand our office and our services and refer students our way.   We focused on upgrading technology and services which led us to a newly adopted recruitment management platform, called Handshake, the new Canvas site, and online workshops and webinars offered through multiple online mediums.  

On the employer relations side, we have been very pleased with the large amount of employer connections that are available to us now through Handshake, including the ability to partner with other institutions to pool our resources to offer a robust list of employer engagement activities – like our Virtual Career Trek series.  We have also updated our Employer Partnership program.  You will find that our new Employer Partnership Program has increased benefits available to employers.  I am also very grateful to our Tribal Liaison and the Lummi Nation leaders, who provided us with native names for the new levels of our program (see additional info below).

Our team continues to keep the need of educating ourselves and to be thoughtful in our actions with respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a priority.  Our goals for this year, in addition to focusing on how we can be more inclusive and accessible to underrepresented groups, will include diving deep into the platforms that we have adopted to ensure maximum usage of all available features by all users – platforms like Handshake, GoinGlobal, and Optimal Resume.  In the spirit of continued innovation and the desire to reach all our students earlier in their career at WWU, we will also be introducing a new Canvas site that is specifically geared for our first year and transfer students.

We continue to, and always will be, eager to help our stakeholders to meet their goals.  We look forward to assisting students and alumni with career exploration, internship/job searching, and their post – graduation pathways. Employers, we are very excited to help you recruit our world-class students and alumni. As always, to our esteemed faculty and colleagues, we look forward to working closely with you to advance our students’ development at Western and beyond. 


The Career Services Center empowers our community to explore, to connect, and to create their future.


A world where everyone is empowered to achieve their career goals and live their best life.

Services and Resources

The Career Services Center serves students and alumni, helping connect academic interests and strengths with careers. Students can make an appointment to discuss career exploration and assessments, developing job or internship search strategies, preparing application materials or practicing interviewing skills.

Career Services Center Resources


Handshake, our new recruitment management platform, was launched in spring quarter of 2021—replacing Viking CareerLink. Students and alumni can search for job and internship opportunities, upload their resumes, communicate with employers and peers. Employers can share opportunities and communicate with qualified students and alumni directly through the platform, as well as host virtual events to engage with Western talent. Handshake is also our virtual career fair platform; helping connect students and alumni with employers without interruption during the pandemic.

Optimal Resume

This tool helps students build and edit resumes and portfolios with templates that are specific to their major.

Career Assessments

The CSC offers multiple career assessments to help students identify strengths and interests. Students meet with a career counselor to interpret results and use them to develop career goals.

Mock Interviews

Mock interviews (including optional video recording) are provided to allow students to practice interview skills, obtain practical feedback and gain confidence. Rooms are also available for students who may be invited for phone or video interviews.

Appointments by Reason


General Job Search Strategies: 55%

PreHealth Advising: 16%

Career Change/Career Exploration: 7%

Practice Interviews: 6%

Choosing a Major: 4%

Graduate School: 4%

Internships: 4%

Assessments: 1%

Other: 2%


Counseling appointments provided over 2019/20 and 2020/21
  2019-20 2020-21 % Change
Unique students served 969 1,352 40% Increase
Unique alumni served 242 204 16% Decrease
Counseling appointments 1,597 2,379 49% Increase
Hours of counseling 1,187 1,813 53% Increase

Students by Class Year

  • 53% Senior
  • 15% Junior
  • 13% Alumni
  • 8% Sophomore
  • 4% Post Bac
  • 3% First-year
  • 3% Other
  • 1% Graduate

Students share their Career Services Center experience...

I had a great experience with the Career Services Center, I got the internship I applied for, and I made another appointment after my first to practice in interview. Overall, very happy with my experience!

Prompt responses and VERY helpful!

It was quick, easy, and to the point. I also emailed with them a lot and they were really quick to respond back, which was helpful.

[The Career Counselor] has repeatedly been extremely helpful with everything that I've needed. She's helped with resumes, cover letters, internships, and interviews. I don't know what I would've done without her.

Employer Relations & Hiring

Employer Relations works with organizations from small, local non-profits to the large, international employers to connect them with Western students and graduates.

The Career Services Center hosts events each quarter to help students connect with employers and organizations to build their network, learn about careers, and find internships and jobs. This year all events were held virtually. The Career Services Center hosted three large fairs for all industries and majors and a variety of tailored, specialty fairs, including graduate and professional fairs for students interested in furthering their education through graduate studies.

276 organizations participated in fairs (all virtual)
900 students, alumni, and community members attended fairs (all virtual)
3,031 New employer accounts approved
Handshake logo

Jobs and internships are submitted by organizations using our free recruiting platform, Handshake, and vetted individually to ensure they meet our recruiting guidelines and are a good fit for Western students.

866 internships posted in 2019-20

2,211 internships posted in 2020-21


More than 2.5 times as many!

1,414 jobs posted in 2019-20

10,036 jobs posted in 2020-21


More than 7 times as many!

Students Share the Best Part of Their Virtual Career Fair Experience...

The virtual aspect. When I went to career fairs in the past that were in person it could be overwhelming at times seeing so many people and booths. Being able to make one on one meetings were great and I felt like I connected more with the people/companies.

Group sessions. They were really informative and useful.

We could construct our own schedules! I had class in the middle of the fair but because I was able to make my own schedule, I didn't feel like I missed out on talking to the people to attended.

I was able to have timed, short meetings with many employers. This allowed me to meet with the ones I was interested in.

Anna Tognazzini with straight, chin length brown hair wearing a bright blue blazer over a lacey white shirt

Graduate & Pre-Healthcare Advising

Anna Tognazzini
Assistant Director, Health Profession and Graduate School Advising

Our Pre-Healthcare and Graduate School Advisors help students understand how to become competitive applicants in their chosen field.  Our team works with students from any major pursuing medical and dental school, as well as law school and other post-baccalaureate educational opportunities. Whether students are preparing for a career in an academic environment or for a field that requires a specific professional degree, our office provides individual academic advising, info sessions, mock interviews, and support all the way through preparing for the final application process.  


100% success rate for Pharmacy School applicants 
75% success rate for Dental School applicants
70% success rate for Veterinary School Applicants
45% success rate for Physician Assistant Program applicants (compared to the national average of 30%)
42% success rate for Medical School applicants (compared to the national average of 38%)
484 appointments
327 unique students served
72 students served at drop-in advising

Campus Presentations and Workshops

The Career Services Center provides tailored workshops and presentations to classes, student clubs, departments, and off-campus sites to help students expand their knowledge of career development and increase their career readiness. Because the Career Services Center was operating remotely the entire year, video technology was used to engage virtually with students, alumni, and other stakeholders.



62 Presentations and workshops for classes and clubs


739 students served


The Career Services Center produces an annual Graduate Outcomes Report to understand what students are doing after completing their degree program at Western. This year’s report includes graduates from the 2019-2020 academic year and their employment status six months after graduation.

Bachelor's Degree Graduates

  • 74% Employed
  • 8% Further Education
  • 18% Other/Seeking

Master's Degree Graduates

  • 84% Employed
  • 4% Further Education
  • 12% Other/Seeking

67% of graduates were employed in Washington State

Graduates with internship experience had a 4% higher employment rate and 30% higher salaries

Top 5 Employers



Northwest Pathology

Fred Meyer

Highline Public Schools

Top 5 Graduate Schools

Western Washington University

Western Governors University

University of Washington

Whatcom Community College

University of Oregon

Top 5 Industries

Retail Trade

Health Care and Social Assistance

Educational Services

Accommodation and Food Services

Professional Scientific and Technical Services

Who We Are

Career Services Center staff on zoom holding handwritten "thank you" signs

Career Services Center Staff

Effie Eisses, Director
Jenny Spurgin, Assistant Director, Employer Relations & Outreach
Anna Tognazzini, Assistant Director, Health Professions and Graduate School Advising
Mindy Pelton, Assistant Director, MBA Career Services
Sandy Brown, Career Counselor
Julina Pyanoe, Career Counselor
Page Roth, Career Counselor
Diane Flores, Office Coordinator
Britta Eschete, Office Assistant, Recruitment Services

For more information about the Career Services Center, visit the CSC website

Peer Advisors

The Career Services Center employs a team of students trained as Peer Advisors. Peer Advisors greet and assist visitors as well as provide one-on-one appointments to review resumes and cover letters and conduct mock interviews with students. Peer advisors have also organized outreach opportunities for the office and given presentations to clubs and classes about services the Career Services Center offers.

Peer Advisors on Zoom holding handwritten "Thank You" signs

Thank you to our employer partners this year

Enterprise Holdings logo, simple text with a vertical yellow and black line

Silver Partner

BECU Logo, white letters on a red rectangle with the lower right corner rounded

Bronze Partner

IDEX logo

Recruiting Partner

A sincere thank you to our staff for leading the CSC effort to produce this report.  To University Communications and WebTech, in particular Chris Baker and Stephanie Paulantis, for developing this website. And to Kelley Walker for his dedication and ability to collect, understand and translate data.