Social Work Graduate Supporting Fellow Alumni as FSU Career Liaison

Photo of Alexis Fraites

As Assistant Director of Experiential Learning at the FSU Career Center, Alexis Fraites (MSW 2019) meets a variety of students and alumni at various stages in their career journeys. “I’m here to support every need along the spectrum,” she expressed. “From first-year students who are still figuring out their interests and goals, to seniors preparing for graduate school or job searches, and alumni further in their career who need support in their next steps.”

 Her day is often filled with various people with different majors and career goals as she serves as the liaison for both the College of Social Work and the College of Arts and Sciences, focusing on biology, neuroscience, and psychology.

Her services are as broad as the students and alumni she serves, from concrete services, including resume and cover letter reviews, to more abstract support, like helping someone figure out their career interests.

“I am a curious person by nature,” Fraites reflected. “I work with several majors, so it is incredibly interesting for me to learn about all the amazing things our students and alumni are doing.”

With curiosity and problem-solving, Fraites connects with students and alumni needing support via drop-in and scheduled appointments that can be in-person and virtual on the Zoom platform.

“Drop-in advising can be busy depending on the day, so we may only have 15 to 20 minutes to meet. During these sessions, I try to identify someone’s most pressing need and make sure they leave feeling more informed and empowered than when they arrived,” she explained. “My scheduled appointments run from 20 to 60 minutes, giving us more time to dive into more questions and explore needs more in-depth.”

Although her visitors’ needs can vary, Fraites notices some common themes with students and alumni seeking career support. Career change is usually a primary focus for alumni, either through a new profession or going back to school. Alumni also typically have a better sense of their needs and goals but feel uncertain about the next steps.

On the other hand, students need help navigating the application process for graduate school and exploring career options.

“The biggest challenge is working with someone when there are barriers affecting their career decision, which might be anything from anxiety, family pressures, trauma or layers of complexity,” Fraites elaborated.

This is where her social work training comes in handy. “I always aim to provide a safe space where people can work through barriers and feel comfortable expressing emotions and vulnerability.” She described. “Sometimes just giving someone permission to feel however they feel about their career choices is empowering – it is overwhelming, frustrating, and confusing.”

Taking a systems perspective gained from her social work training during her MSW Program at FSU helps her understand all the layers affecting the choices and goals of the people she serves. Fraites even noted that having a solid understanding of the NASW Code of Ethics enables her to serve her clients better.

But her appreciation of social work began at an early age, tagging along with her mother, a social worker mainly working with families and survivors of domestic violence. For Fraites, watching her mom in action “normalized for me the idea that there are many people out there who do not have their needs met, and you should do what you can to help where you can.”

“And there is so much flexibility in this profession,” she added. “That was appealing to me.”

But it took some time for Fraites to find her way to her career in social work. She earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising from Temple University, spent time mentoring and tutoring at a Philadelphia middle school, and then went into non-profit development and recruiting.

While recruiting with City Year, an education-focused AmeriCorps program, Fraites connected with students interested in the program, all through the FSU Career Center. “I had never considered higher education or career services,” she recalled.

Working closely with students, she enjoyed their conversations about career goals and realized how much she enjoyed working with a college-aged population.

Once she started her MSW program and maintained her strong relationships with FSU Career Center staff, Fraites knew that working in higher education was the right fit for her.

“One thing that I’ve always maintained in my career is that my work has been mission-driven. There’s always a clear ‘why’ for what I do and a tangible impact I make in my work,” Fraites emphasized, “Ultimately, the most enjoyable thing is getting to build relationships with the people I serve and to witness their success.”

Contact Alexis Fraites for career support at the FSU Career Center: | (850) 645-0440

Tuesday, April 9, 2024 - 09:08 AM
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