Preparation for internships, jobs is the focus for new course UNIV 301


Daija Hammonds

The new Braven UNIV 301 course will be offered for the spring semester and will be online from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. (Daija Hammonds | Northern Star)

By Caleb Johnson, Lifestyle Writer

This past Fall, a new course, UNIV 301, Braven Leadership and Career Accelerator, began. This course helps students prepare for jobs and internships after they graduate. 

“I would say that it is a great way to build tools that you are going to need after graduation, regardless of your field of study,” said Cathy Doederlein, director of employee experience.

Doederlein went on to elaborate how important these tools are and how in the course there will be a variety of coaches and mentors to teach students how to use these tools. 

“It is not just a resume and cover letter, you know the basic tools, but also the tools of building your network and problem solving in a group of your peers, you also get that exposure to leadership, coaches and mentors in your field that a typical class may not always be able to offer,” said Doederlein. 

Doederlein also said that students’ response has been good and that they have had 200 people enroll this semester alone. Students have said that they appreciate the experience and they really enjoyed the set-up of the course. 

The course is done as a collaboration between NIU and the organization Braven.  

“(Braven) is a nonprofit based out of Chicago that seeks to reduce equity gaps that exist for students of color. They also work with first-generation college students with greater financial aid, as this relates to getting a strong first job after they graduate and have a competitive salary,” said Doederlein. 

Doederlein went on to explain that each class starts with one large group and then gets broken down into smaller groups of five to eight people. Each group gets taught by a mentor in their fields of study, business and professional coaches.

Braven helps to facilitate these individuals and handles the application process. They also work with Doederlein and Melanie Griegoliet, the career services program coordinator, to help facilitate background operations, Doederlein said. 

Doederlein went on to say that she and Griegoliet were also in charge of implementing the curriculum to NIU standards. 

Students taking this course will earn three hours of university credit, counting towards graduation. According to Lauren Grimmlane, a program advisor for academic advising, this course counts towards the number of credits needed to graduate from NIU but doesn’t count towards general education requirements. 

According to the university, this course is part of a five-year partnership between NIU and Braven. Students can expect long-lasting results and the opportunity to connect with a wide variety of industry leaders. 

The class is online and synchronous. Spring classes will take place on Tuesday and Wednesdays from 5:30 p.m to 7:30 p.m starting Jan. 16.