It’s one thing to pick a career. It’s another to find your calling.
In coordination with the current Common Read selection, “Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work” by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay, the University of New Orleans will host two events Sept. 18 and 19 that are designed to help challenge students to consider how they can leverage their personal interests into satisfying careers that align with their personal missions.
On Sept. 18 at 5 p.m., Ryan Penneau, a motivational speaker and founder of Take Back College and the Penneau Training Group, will deliver a 90-minute program designed to help students define purpose and passion as it relates to them. Through a highly interactive process, Penneau will help guide students as they explore the layers of their own interests and consider how they might be able to being building a life around them. The event takes place at the University Center in the Sen. Ted Hickey Ballroom. Dinner will follow.
A graduate of University of Wisconsin Green Bay, Penneau holds a master’s degree in experiential education from Minnesota State University. He is formerly director of the LifeSkills, the leadership training organization founded by Dave Anderson of Famous Dave’s BBQ.
On Sept. 19 at 12:30 p.m. in the Innsbruck Suite located on the second floor of the University Center, UNO students are invited to hear from successful UNO alumni as they share reflections and advice from their own experiences during and following college.
Candace Stanton, student success counselor and the coordinator of University Success 1001, said she hopes the sessions help students gain a better sense of who they are and what they are passionate about.
“I hear a lot of students say that they are doing something because that’s what a parent did or a sibling,” Stanton said, “but they rarely say that they are doing something because it’s what they feel strongly about. I hope Ryan and the panel participants are able to inspire our students to think more intrinsically about their passions and callings.”
Also called UNIV1001, University Success 1001 is a course is designed to help new students transition to university life.
Featured panelists are as follows:
Christina Murphy (B.S., Computer Science, ’15), senior technical product manager for GE Digital
Jessica Herring (B.A, Business, ’14), area people director for Waffle House
Bivian “Sonny” Lee III (B.A., Business, ’06), founder and president of Son of a Saint and committee member for UNO Alumni Next Generation
Ashley Walker Ferguson (B.S., Biology, ’10), biologist at Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and founder of Dose of the Coast
Adam Ferguson (B.S., Biology, ’10), physician assistant at Our Lady of the Lake ICU
Glenn Scorsone (B.S. Civil Engineering, ’80) retired senior design engineer for Entergy Louisiana and president of the UNO International Alumni Association.
As the 2017-18 Common Read selection, “Callings” is required reading in all first-year writing classes, where students have been asked to write their first narrative essays on the topic, “What is my passion?” It is also a source of discussion in University 1001 courses, which are required for incoming students. The book presents 53 interviews with people who share their personal stories of how they discovered work that reflects their passion. Those interviewed include a street corner astronomer, a public defender, a drawbridge tender, a salmon slicer, an OBGYN and a neurosurgeon.
Mike Hoffshire, assistant director for First Year Experience, said he’s excited to help reinforce the themes of “Callings” by allowing students to hear from alumni who know first-hand what it means to translate one’s college experience into life success.