Student to Professional Conference helps students make ‘real world’ transition


By Jasmine French

Students came out to connect and acquire information on what to expect when transitioning from a student to a professional. The 5th annual Student to Professional Conference took place in the Oakland Center Nov. 15.

The conference covered twelve workshops divided into three sessions for students to choose from. Shelly Drouillard and Amy Tuckfield are committee co-chairs of Student to Professional. Drouillard obtained her masters in counseling from Oakland University and is an employer relations consultant with Career Services.

“Student to Professional is here for helping students make that transition because often times they’re not sure of ‘How do I go from student to professional?’ and ‘What sort of things I need to do?’” Drouillard said. “We really encourage students from freshman year to senior year to be working on developing themselves as a professional.”

Drouillard discussed what part of the challenge is for students.

“I think the fear factor is some people are afraid to talk about what they want and others just don’t know what they want,” Drouillard said.

The hospitality sponsor of this conference was the Oakland University Credit Union, with keynote sponsor Quicken Loans and presenting partner Chrysler.

“The way we connected with Chrysler is we knew they were an organization that wanted to expand their partnership,” said Wayne Thibodeau, director of Career Services. 

“As this brainstorming concept evolved, we said ‘What better partner to invite at the table than Chrysler?’ and five years later, here they are giving more than ever in terms of their time, commitment, their role modeling to our students in coaching and it’s been a wonderful relationship,” Thibodeau added.

Student Destiny Lopez is studying communication and attended the conference. 

“It’s just to prepare myself for when I graduate, what to expect and to make myself ready,” Lopez said. “I like focusing in on events for public relations and might even go into the marketing field.”

Tony Nuckolls, vice president of training and development at Quicken Loans, was the keynote speaker during the conference and discussed why it’s important for students to work hard and gain experience.    

“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want,” Nuckolls said. “When you think you’ve got it all figured out that’s when the learning begins.”

Nuckolls advised students on how important it is to get an internship.

“Paid or not, you can’t put a price on an experience you get when you intern somewhere,” Nuckolls said.

According to Nuckolls, face-to-face communication is still important. 

“In a world of technology, it’s still people that make the difference.”