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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

UD Faculty Prepare Students for Workforce

Experiential learning isn’t exclusive to internships and co-ops. UD faculty members like Kaitlyn DeGhetto provide immersive capstone projects mimicking challenges students may face in their jobs by bringing in organizations with real-world demands.

Three semesters ago, DeGhetto, associate professor of management and marketing, developed the management capstone class to provide a hands-on learning opportunity for students while engaging them with community needs. Students in their senior year apply the skills they’ve gained in one final, semester-long project for diverse clients like the Human Race Theatre Company, Fifth Street Brewpub, and DO STEM, Dayton’s STEM ecosystem that brings together individuals and organizations to address the region’s STEM education and workforce needs.

“It’s a great chance for them to face a real problem that doesn’t have an easy answer, and apply a lot of the different tools they’ve learned through the management and business curriculum that they’ll be expected to use when they start their careers,” DeGhetto said. “It’s also a good opportunity for them to try out consulting and see if it is something they would enjoy doing in the future.”

Madeline Haara ’23, who will be joining IT company, CDW, in July as an account representative, knew she wanted a career in management by the time she took DeGhetto’s class, but she didn’t know the impact the work and mentorship would have on her.

“I got a lot of confidence seeing the impact I could make as a college student,” Haara said. “Our group worked well together and supported each other, we were really efficient. The clients wanted to hear what we had to say and that helped us give recommendations that would last.”

Haara’s class worked on identifying best practices for DO STEM after their advisory council reached out to UD’s School of Business Administration to find students who could help take their work to the next level.

“From my perspective, the students did a fantastic job,” said Cassie Barlow, DO STEM’s advisory committee member. “The end result was a collection of really impressive best practices that will be very, very helpful to get DO STEM off on the right foot. They just hit the ball way out of the park. We could tell they really wanted us to be successful and it felt like they were a part of our team, too.”

Barlow suggested the committee contact UD for a potential capstone project, after successfully receiving help on three other projects from undergraduate and graduate students from the University.

“Many people, I would argue, underestimate the capabilities of students on every single project,” Barlow said. “As a workforce professional, I think it’s worth every second that you put into it.”

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