Amanda Bates is the new director of career services and professional development, which assists students with career planning and developing positive relationships with prospective employers. This NC State grad brings a global perspective to her role, having lived in such diverse locales as Cameroon, Qatar and Richmond, Va., before joining the CVM in August.
What made you want to go into this field?
I have an MBA and a master’s in education counseling, so I’m entrepreneurial, but I also enjoy connecting with people. In a previous job I have worked with first-generation low-income students on college access. I’m attracted to working with students because you get to see the results as they work out solutions to the issues they’re dealing with, whether it’s something urgent or more long term.
What will you be doing?
I have both an internal and an external role. Internally, I help students prepare for their job search and much more. I help them learn how to network and develop contact with potential employers. Sometimes I help them decide how to prepare for a particular field. Externally, I help recruiters know how to market themselves to students. And I help each of them be aware of the culture with which they are trying to communicate — the student culture and the employer culture.
I’m like a culture translator who helps them meet somewhere in the middle. I also try to engage our alumni as mentors to current students. Another area is communication between generations, because there are differences there, too. Again, I try to help bridge that gap of understanding.
What are you most excited about in your role?
Working with students to equip them to guide their own careers and to become engaged with the community. There are more specialties than ever, and the market is always shifting so there are always new challenges to deal with.
What is your background?
I was born in Washington, D.C., and we lived for a while in Durham, but we also lived in the English-speaking sector of Cameroon near the U.S. embassy for several years while I was growing up. I went to school there from the sixth grade through high school.
I began my career in Doha, Qatar, and I wanted to focus on the helping professions. I worked at a private non-profit in Richmond called the College Place where I was the college access director. Before coming to NC State I was working with students on professional development and job placement at Virginia Commonwealth University.
What’s something someone would be surprised to learn about you?
Just how much I love to travel. I’ve lived in the U.S., Cameroon and Qatar, but I’ve actually been to every continent except Australia and Antarctica. It’s my total thing.
My favorite places are Singapore and the Seychelles. You can really get away from everything there. It’s beautiful, the beaches are wonderful and you can relax long enough to really disconnect. I didn’t miss anything while I was there.
When you’re not on campus, where could we find you?
I go back to Virginia a lot. I have family there. I went to Richmond when we had the hurricane here and I was there for Thanksgiving, too.
Do you have any pets?
A potential fish. Nothing currently, but I would enjoy something pretty and vibrant that would be happy in a tank. We had dogs while I was growing up, but I wouldn’t be able to care for one now.