Caolo to lead college’s Career Development and Leadership Center

Dr. Jessica Caolo has been hired as an assistant director in East Carolina University Career Services and will oversee operations of the Career Development and Leadership Center in the College of Engineering and Technology.

In her new role, Dr. Jessica Caolo is helping prepare for the upcoming Spring Engineering and Technology Fair on Feb. 17 at the Greenville Convention Center. (ECU photo)

Caolo comes to ECU from Arizona State University, where she managed a peer career coach program that consisted of a team of engineering students.

She said the move to ECU is a step up in her career while allowing her the chance to continue to work with STEM students.

“It’s working with engineers and technology students, and I love that population,” she said.

The move also puts her closer to her family in Florida in a state with which she is familiar.

“I have good friends in North Carolina. I’ve lived in this state before and I really liked it,” Caolo said. “When this position came open, I looked at it from all angles and here I am. I like it here in Greenville.”

Caolo has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a Master’s in Education in counseling with a specialization in career counseling from Florida State. Her doctorate in counselor education and supervision with a research emphasis in career development comes from Virginia Tech.

Caolo said she discovered her passion for career counseling as an undergrad student at Florida State.

“I was an academic advisor’s assistant in the School of Psychology. I fell in love with higher education at that point,” she said. “It was the university setting that I really liked, and I grew to love working with college students.

“I like to develop and mentor students for their careers. They’re coming in here to get a job or an internship or maybe apply to graduate school. It’s very rewarding.”

Her roughly 18-year career in career services includes various university positions. She received a National Society of Leadership and Success award for developing student leaders in 2015.

Caolo said she wants to put an emphasis on leadership in her new role at ECU.

“This is not just a career development center. It’s called the Career Development and Leadership Center,” she said. “We want to provide students leadership opportunities. We really want to put more of an emphasis on leadership.”

She also wants to enhance the college’s Mentor Collective Program by using student assistants in the center.

“These assistants, who are engineering or technology students, would act as ambassadors for career development,” Caolo said. “I envision a mentorship program. They’re promoting career services, they’re doing the career coaching and they’re doing presentations.

“That’s a big part of the mentorship piece that students like. They’re learning from other students and enhancing their skills based on that mentoring piece. There’s more motivation to enhance their skills and learn if they’ve got that mentorship. Plus, they’re really developing themselves as leaders.”

Caolo’s hiring comes as final preparations begin for the Spring Engineering and Technology Fair scheduled for 8:30-11:30 a.m. Feb. 17 at the Greenville Convention Center. More than 100 employers are expected at the fair to recruit students for internships, co-ops or full-time positions.

“My advice is to prepare,” she said. “Practice your elevator pitch. Dress for success by wearing professional business dress. It tends to be a little more formal. Prepare your networking skills. Prepare for an interview and do research on the companies before you get there. That will get the interest of the employer.”

She said the fair is not just for students who are graduating in May. She encourages all students in the college to attend.

“First-year students are absolutely welcome to attend to learn about the world of work. That’s really what it is, what employers expect from them,” Caolo said. “Any kind of preparation they do even well before they graduate can really help set them apart because they are starting the process early. Networking with employers for first-year and second-year students is going to be really helpful because they are starting to build those relationships that will help them get jobs and internships later on.”

The Career Development and Leadership Center is located in room 239 of the Science and Technology Building. The center’s website provides information that includes resume samples, a career resources guide and links to job listing sites. Students can schedule an appointment with a career counselor through Handshake.