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Meg Underwood, Buck Jordan, and Tracey Hanton

Two PFW programs honored with Suitable Spirit Awards at national conference

Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Career Development Center and the Doermer School of Business received awards July 22 at the annual Suitable Pathways Conference in Philadelphia. Associate Director for Career Development Tracey Hanton, Director of Professional Development Meg Underwood, and Student Success Center Director Buck Jordan represented their respective areas in accepting the first-ever Suitable Spirit Awards, which recognize values such as teamwork, creativity, excellence, diversity, integrity, persistence, and grit.

“Whether it’s through their enthusiasm and dedication to student success, their creativity in delivering a program that every student can participate in, or the determination to do whatever it takes to break down silos and work across campus, these programs go the extra mile and, much like Gritty, have fun along the way,” the award’s description says. Gritty is the mascot of the conference’s hometown Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League.

The Suitable Spirit Award was one of 15 awards presented during the conference.

The business school was honored for its Passport to Success program, and the Career Development Center for its Endorsed program. Both are used to help PFW students prepare for professional futures and career readiness. The business school has been using the Passport program for 10 years, and each student with a business major is required to participate. The center has utilized the voluntary Endorsed program for almost two years to help 400 students.

The programs utilize the eight National Association of Colleges and Employers career readiness competencies: career and self-development, communication, critical thinking, equity and inclusion, leadership, professionalism, teamwork, and technology. Students participate in programs and activities on campus to earn points toward certificates.

“It’s validation for the work that has been put in for the Endorsed program, that it can be recognized by an outside entity in terms of what we’re doing in trying to make sure that students are career-ready,” Hanton said.

Hanton and former graduate interns TyShawna Herron and Stephanie Burton worked on Endorsed. Hanton has spoken about the program at four conferences this year.

Hanton, Underwood, and Jordan were among 19 featured speakers at the conference, which included representatives from more than 100 universities.