Gretchen Maldonado has been working in the CP&R office for over six years, and says that it's "the best job I've ever had. I never dreamed I could end up doing anything this wonderful." As with all of the staff, Maldonado prefaced this statement with a reluctance to sound "cheesy," but it's impossible to doubt the candor behind her conviction. Maldonado explained that she used to work in Human Resources Administration with the primary responsibility of hiring people, and she soon discovered that "I really wanted to give the people I was hiring some pointers." Maldonado now finds that her favorite part of career planning is creatively brainstorming with students. Her co-worker, Julie Elliot, added that Gretchen has always been especially good with the "what-should-I-do-with-my-life" students. As a mother of two girls, Maldonado has also certainly learned the value of time management. When asked about what she enjoyed about working with Scripps students, Maldonado explained that "it's nice to be able to tell my mother, who thinks young people these days are incredibly self-interested, that it's just not true."
After her third year as a career counselor, Valinda Lee realized that she'd be witnessing her first class of Scripps women graduate this May. "I'm very proud," Lee explained, "these past few years have been a pleasure." Lee, like her other CP&R co-workers, experienced a jarring change of direction in life, though hers happened earlier: " I changed my major three times as a college freshman," she recalled "I remember driving around stressing about what I was going to do with my life." Like all other members of the CP&R office, Lee found career counseling to be a flawless occupational fit. At Scripps, Lee has become much better acquainted with social justice and non-profit career paths, because so many women at Scripps express interest in these fields. She has been collaborating with the Idealist project (see idealist.org for more information), and has contributed to their books. "It's been incredibly eye-opening," Lee explained, "it constantly inspires me how much Scripps students want to make the world a better place." In light of how popular the pursuit of social justice is among Scripps woman, Lee added that "if you're going to be an advocate for others you first need to be an advocate for yourself. Jobs aren't actually disappearing in non-profit sectors, but job seekers, especially women, can't be afraid to sell our skills."
Julie Elliott, a veteran of career planning, has been working at CP&R for almost 10 years. Julie did her undergraduate studies at a big state school, and actually ended up going to law school for a whopping total of three weeks before she decided the experience was not for her. "I think it makes for a good story because I did everything to prepare for the law school experience," Elliott explained, "but it wasn't until I got there that I had this epiphany. I went back to my school's career center (I had never set foot there, mind you) and the assessments helped me a lot." While every member of the office is a generalized career counselor, Gretchen Maldonado referred to Elliott as the "resume goddess." After years of working as the Director of CP&R, Elliott recently decided to work part-time so she could spend more time with her husband and two daughters: "It's another thing career women might, if they choose to have a family, need to learn to manage," Elliott explained, "I've been very lucky in that respect, I've gotten the best of both worlds."