USF Career Center Fosters Student Success

What enticed 140 University of South Florida students to roll out of bed early enough to catch a bus leaving for Orlando at 5:30 in the morning? It wasn’t a trip to an amusement park or sporting event. It was the opportunity to be one of the first student groups ever to attend Lotusphere 2011, the annual premier conference for developers, administrators, IT and business professionals from all over the world, coming together to share their latest innovations and software solutions.


Lillyannette Moller, employer development specialist for the USF Career Center, served as the Lotusphere campus liaison and took the lead in promoting and organizing the student attendees.


"Thanks to the generous financial support of GROUP Business Software (GBS) and IBM, our students had the rare opportunity to participate in the first day of the conference," said Moller.


Students attended technical and business sessions, experienced hands-on use of the latest software, networked with developers and engineers, and met with IBM executives from R&D, Marketing, Business Development and Engineering. They listened to industry experts talk about how social software is rapidly becoming a vital business tool, enabling organizations to transform virtually every aspect of their business operations and were introduced to the latest in web development, social media applications, cloud computing, collaboration solutions and instant messaging.


Three USF students took away more than just a memorable experience from the conference. Marcus McGee, David Hablewitz and Jeremy Fisher also left with an IPad for passing the test of wits in the XPages Adventure programming application contest.


"We were excited to have so many USF students attend GBS's College Day at Lotusphere 2011," says Michael Baum, USF graduate and Director of Corporate Communications for Group Business Software. "However, we're even more excited about the opportunity to build a productive partnership with USF that goes beyond the conference. We are discussing future academic initiatives, entrepreneurial contests and cooperative education programs to help students get real business experience in social media and Lotus technologies."


The GBS College Day at Lotusphere 2011 was so successful that conference organizers have already decided it will part of next year's conference and the Career Center has already agreed to serve as the campus contact for College Day 2012.


"We'll also be working with GBS, along with our academic colleagues, to develop a productive partnership with the university and our students," said Drema Howard, director of the USF Career Center.


The USF Career Center's collaboration with GBS is one just one more  example of how the center is involved in initiatives that enhance and increase student’s career success and future employment opportunities.


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