Alumni, Career Center, Student Life

Buccaneer Bridge provides CSU students career mentorship opportunities

By Alexis Adamczyk | January 31, 2023

The Buccaneer Bridge is a mentorship program for Charleston Southern University students to receive college and career guidance from alumni. Students can connect with a mentor who had the same major or successfully pursued the student’s desired career path to receive genuine advice from those well-acquainted with the career field. 

Over 200 CSU alumni have volunteered to mentor current students, contributing to a valuable education-enhancing and career-building resource. Students may register online through CSU Firsthand to receive a mentor and schedule meetings for guidance on a multitude of topics. Mentors offer advice on how to succeed in college, begin a career, apply to graduate school, start a business, or secure opportunities. Students can view mentors’ profiles, which feature their educational background, current employer, city, and current industry. This allows students to connect with a mentor whose advice is tailored to their circumstances.

Associate Director of the Career Center Lauren Totuszynski discussed the advantages of student participation in the Buccaneer Bridge. “A wildlife biology student can connect with a mentor who graduated from Charleston Southern with the same major,” said Totuszynski. “Their mentor can tell them about why they chose their major, their career field, what they do every day at their job, and how they ended up in their current position. Students are able to get advice from someone who has been where they are now and can help them succeed in the future,” she said.

Abigail Sessoms, a sophomore communication studies major, said that having a career mentor brings her encouragement, allows her to meet others who work in the field of communication, provides a reliable source of advice, and assists her in decision-making. Her father studied English in college and works in the field of communication, so Sessoms considers him to be her career mentor.

“He inspired me to take more steps toward professional writing and media because of how I’ve seen him work in those areas and also because of his steadfast support and practical help in times of uncertainty,” Sessoms said. 

For those who do not already have a personal relationship with someone who completed a similar undergraduate education or work in their desired career field, the Buccaneer Bridge facilitates meaningful connections that will impact students’ educational and career choices for life.

Sophomore secondary English education major and Campus Ambassador Leandra Watts plans to teach high school following her undergraduate education. She then plans to attend graduate school and complete a master’s degree in library science. Her long-term career aspiration is to become a high school librarian. She explained how having a career mentor who works as a high school librarian allowed her to learn more about her desired occupation.

Watts said, She taught me that librarians do so much more than just check out books. They care for students, teachers, and staff and ensure that everyone has what they need. Her mentorship is something that I am so thankful for! I am so blessed to have her as someone I can rely on as I continue my career path. ”

CSU’s Buccaneer Bridge was established through Firsthand, a networking website designed to help students and professionals find a career through the sharing of firsthand experience. In addition to mentorship opportunities, students have access to job postings, useful articles, career-building guides, and community groups.Buccaneer Bridge is one of the most invaluable and underutilized resources on campus. Simply log in with LinkedIn to immediately create an updated profile and begin connecting with mentors, networking, communicating with peers, job searching, and career building!

Alexis Adamczyk was an intern in the Marketing and Communication office in fall 2022. She is a communication studies major.

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