Career Traipse

March 25, 2020

In February and March, the Vantage Point, Mary Baldwin University’s (MBU) Office of Personal and Professional Development, partnered with a walking tour and puzzle app to provide a 2020 career connection journey for MBU students.

The Traipse App leads users on a themed tour of Staunton’s historic downtown business district, stopping along the way to learn facts and complete riddles, brain-teasers, and other puzzles based on the surroundings. In partnering with Traipse, the Vantage Point created a “tour” of 34 Staunton locations, all within a mile of campus. These are places where MBU students can intern or work part-time while a student, where there are full-time positions available for graduates, and where they can meet key players in the Staunton professionals’ network.

Students are led to the different spots around town and have to solve a clue to receive information about the employment opportunities at that specific location. The app is free to use and students can complete the tour as their schedules allow.

“The goal is to help MBU students feel more connected to the ecosystem of employability which exists in our local community,” says Lindsey Walsh, assistant director and coordinator of internships and employer relations at the Vantage Point.

The app partnership is an alternative to the traditional career fair model, which may create too many boundaries for students, the staff at the Vantage Point felt. In setting out to create a more student-centered platform, they used the National Association of Colleges and Employers list of key competencies to guide their planning. They believed the app was a great way to help students with two of these competencies: career management and digital technology.

“We wanted to encourage students to take the lead in their career planning, building agency for their future plans,” Walsh says. “Since the tour includes 34 stops, students can select the locations and stops that align with their personal values and life-after-MBU goals.”

Since the university suspended in-seat classes and encouraged students to head home in mid-March due to COVID-19 concerns, some students may have missed out on using the app. But the Vantage Point is tentatively planning to put it to use again next year, hoping the app will offer an alternative to the traditional career fair model and serve as the introduction to meaningful work for MBU students.