The benefits of the Gerri Ripp Center here and beyond


Photo courtesy of Tiffany Persaud

Jennifer Friary is here to help lead Gaels on their professional journey before and after graduation.  

Tiffany Persaud, Features & Lifestyle Editor

Jennifer Friary is known for her all pink, Elle Woods inspired wardrobe but not yet known for the life-changing services she can provide for students as the new director of the Gerri Ripp Center for Career Development.  

The Gerri Ripp Center, located on the second floor of Spellman Hall, provides professional guidance and resources for lifelong career development. Advisors like Friary help students research and obtain an internship or job in their desired field. They help with everything small, like perfecting your resume and mock interviews, or big like introducing potential employers, like they did at Tuesday’s career fair.  

The center helps undergraduate, graduate students and alumni two years after they have left Iona. Friary, an alumna of Iona College, can recall her difficulties being a first-generation student figuring out how to secure a job after graduation. So, she now uses her counseling and people skills to reimburse back into the community what she lacked as an undergrad.  

The center builds collaborative relationships within and outside of the Iona community. The primary goal of the Career Center is to coach, educate, and connect Iona College students and recent graduates. 

This is where Handshake comes of use. Once you sign on to your Iona account, this source connects you to relevant opportunities based on your profile, interests and search activity. Through this online platform, you can schedule appointments, explore companies, apply for positions, sign up for career fairs and events and access their online career library.  

They also help with building your LinkedIn profile, since it’s one of the most used professional social media networks. Friary believes that students are not using LinkedIn as proficiently as they could be. The center is a judgment-free zone, so anything students lack before visiting doesn’t matter, because the coaches are skilled enough to meet you wherever you’re at on your job search timeline.  

If you prefer a personal interaction to enhance your marketability, the Gerri Ripp Center’s office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 am to 4:40 pm. This is preferable since coaches help expand your network beyond the classes and clubs you’re involved in. Even with all the good the center provides, there’s still a great lack of student engagement, especially after COVID times.  

“It’s literally included in your tuition, so make the most of the services we provide while you can,” Friary said. 

Friary highly encourages the underclassmen to visit them to get a head start on their career. In her previous years of counseling, she often came across seniors who were in a rush and overwhelmed right before graduation. Although last-minute seniors are still welcomed with open arms, to increase the likelihood of landing your dream job, Friary suggests you begin early.