What is Career Development?

Career development is the process of constructing one’s vocational experiences (you may call these jobs, professions, careers, your trade, or your art) and professional identity. It is a complex and lifelong process of developing, exploring, and navigating one’s relationship with the world – think of this as your career ecosystem and you are a career ecologist!

Your experience at College of the Atlantic is the foundation for a life and career as a human ecologist. Being able to self-design your COA education gives you the opportunity to apply your learning through incredible interdisciplinary and experiential opportunities. Career development at COA begins with academic advising as you select courses and design your area of focus within human ecology. Faculty are well versed in their fields and offer professional connections around the world, in addition to helping you build incredible academic knowledge.

The career development team strives to provide students the space and resources to explore what it means to have a “career,” and integral to this is building a strong foundation for your professional identity. This development is supported by helping you find opportunities to construct your authentic professional identity, and building a strong foundation for your life-long career exploration. A COA education never truly ends. As students and soon-to-be-graduates, you will impact your communities, explore opportunities across the country and around the world, continue growing your career and professional identities, and you will quickly realize how invaluable your time on campus is for setting up an incredible foundation for the rest of your life.

Completing an Internship

Since the founding of College of the Atlantic, field experiences have been woven into the core of the curriculum. Every student who graduates from COA completes at least one internship and a form of community service. Experiences take place here in Bar Harbor and on MDI and all around the globe. There are not many places COA students have not gone on their internship adventures!

What is an internship? Internships are one of the best ways for you to explore your professional identity and build foundations for long-term career exploration and fulfillment. Internships are short work experiences where one is able to apply on-campus learning, gain a better understanding of individual needs in the world of work and professional experiences, and give insight into the steps one can take post-graduation. All COA students complete an internship as part of their degree requirements. What counts as an internship for the COA degree requirement is flexible—they often take the form of formal internship programs, self-designed experiences, apprenticeships, extended volunteer service, seasonal jobs, fellowships, research positions, and more.

See the Internship Requirements and Proposals link to the right to understand what counts as an internship and the process for getting your experience to count for your degree requirement.

Getting Started

Feeling overwhelmed? Unsure of where to start searching for an internship or job? Daunted by building a resume or cover letter? Check out the resource library below with material on the above questions as well as applying to graduate school, networking, interviewing, setting up a LinkedIn profile, fellowship information (including the Watson Fellowship), and more.

Career Development Resource Library

Book an appointment with Jeffry

RSVP for a Career Development Workshop

Additional Resources

In addition to career planning and internships, there are several other areas in which the career development team serves as the campus coordinator or can provide assistance. 

Community Service

COA students play an integral role in the local campus, Bar Harbor, Mount Desert Island, and Hamilton County communities, and many end up making this area their long-term home. All students are required to submit 40 hours of community service by the time they graduate, and though many students complete this requirement on campus through things like committee membership or in the local area, your involvement anywhere in the world can be used to complete your community service degree requirement. 

Fill out this form and return it to Jeffry once your community service is complete. 

Study Abroad

Study abroad or study away opportunities allow students to take classes outside of COA for up to 18 credits. Students take courses in language studies, international public health, culture and ethnic studies, and other academic fields at accredited institutions within the United States or elsewhere around the world. If you are studying abroad through a third-party provider, Jeffry will serve as your campus contact and fill out any 

Study abroad at COA can take many forms!

Alumnx Career Development

If you want to see proof of the impact of a COA education, look no further than our network of alumnx around the world. You can find them doing spectacular and world-changing work all around the globe. Just like our current students, our alumnx are not afraid to investigate and improve the relationships between human beings and their social and natural communities. This outcome, the mission of the college, drives how we see career development at and beyond the college. Once you are a student, you are always a member of this community, and can reach out to our career development team in Bar Harbor, and network of alumnx around the world.

Connect to Alumnx through LinkedIn or the Alumnx Network. Or, follow the links to the right to see COA degrees in action or Alumnx Profiles.