College's new career counselor tells ECU students to prepare for jobs now

Before students even started classes this fall, Lauren LaMantia talked to them about what happens after they graduate.

LaMantia is the assistant director and counselor at the Career Development and Leadership Center in the College of Engineering and Technology (CET). The center, in room 239 of the Science and Technology Building, is part of ECU Career Services and is dedicated to supporting CET students.

LaMantia’s goal is to ensure students are looking beyond graduation toward a career — from the moment they arrive on campus. That’s why she attended summer orientation sessions to get incoming freshmen familiar with the center and its services and greeted returning students on the first day of class with an information table in the scitech atrium. She also presented recently to the Women in Tech student organization as part of her effort to reach students in the college and press upon them the need to start preparing for a career now.

“Anything you’re looking at in technology or construction or computer science or engineering, there is high job growth,” LaMantia said. “We have an abundance of connections, and we are preparing our students so they can see the value and the resources that we have here in Career Services to turn them into competitive professionals.

The Science, Engineering and Technology Career Fair is 1-4 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Greenville Convention Center.

“That’s one thing I stress is being a competitive professional. They might graduate with an A or they might graduate with a C, but I want to help them be competitive professionals so they have multiple job offers when it comes to graduation. If they follow our plans for student success, they will be competitive at the end and they will have choices at the end.”

The center can help students explore careers and majors, develop resumes and cover letters, plan for career pathways, learn about internships and co-op opportunities, search for jobs and prepare for career fairs and job interviews.

LaMantia is pushing students now to get ready for the upcoming Science, Engineering and Technology Fair scheduled for 1-4 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Greenville Convention Center. The ECU Job and Internship Fair is also scheduled for Sept. 27 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the convention center.

Students can make appointments with the center through Handshake.

“The best way to be prepared is to see Career Services, especially if you have not attended a career fair before,” LaMantia said. “You don’t know what you don’t know, so we’re able to give students the tools and the strategies, and help prepare their resumes and prepare their power greetings so they can present themselves in the most professional manner.”

Lauren LaMantia speaks to students in the Women in Tech student organization. She talked to them about resumes and the services of the career counseling center.

LaMantia believes that professionalism — looking and talking the part — is crucial to landing a job.

“One of my goals is to really work with them on personal and professional development,” LaMantia said. “I want students to understand that they are on a professional appointment with me or with anyone in Career Services. If we are trying to shape them and trying to really follow the mission of the university, we want to create citizens who are very successful in their areas in a global community. Part of that is addressing those professional issues.”

She said students come to ECU with ideas and energy, which they need to use to work toward their goals.

“Take all that energy and not just talk about it but be about it,” she said. “Be what you want to be and who you want to be, and find those valuable people who are going to help you on that journey.”

Originally from New Jersey, LaMantia brings about 25 years of experience in education into her new role. She helped in her family’s restaurant during the COVID pandemic but decided she wanted to get back to her professional pursuits and obtained a part-time position in ECU Career Services before accepting the full-time role she has now as part of the college’s career counseling center.

She’s worked this summer to bring in a graduate assistant, create additional materials for students and add workstations and a large monitor for small workshops or teleconferencing in the center. LaMantia has also participated in events, networking with faculty and staff in the college to create relationships to enhance the center’s services and to spread the message of Career Services.

“The whole overwhelming theme is to make the office more interactive and more engaging, capturing the students’ attentions so they are getting what they need from the office, but also understanding that this is a center where they can be productive,” LaMantia said.

She said the key is to help students understand the importance of the center and allow them to take full advantage of its resources.

“I like that this is a dedicated center for CET,” she said. “This is really special for CET to have this, and it makes it convenient for students.”