Four IST students serving as peer career assistants at Penn State

University-wide program pairs students with trained career assistants to help navigate job, internship searches

College of Information Sciences and Technology students Kevin Afoakwah (senior, information sciences and technology), Emily Deivert (junior, security and risk analysis) and Amir Thorpe (senior, security and risk analysis), left to right, are among eight University students working in the Peer Career Assistant Program, through the Penn State Student Affairs Career Services office, this semester. Chen Tang (information sciences and technology), not pictured, also is participating in the program. Credit: Hayley Wildeson / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — This fall, four students from the College of Information Sciences and Technology will help fellow Penn State students navigate the job-seeking process. They are among eight University students who work in the Peer Career Assistant Program, through the Penn State Student Affairs Career Services office. 

According to Rita Griffith, assistant director of professional development in the College of IST, the college is participating in the University-wide pilot program. Previously, peer career assistants were located solely in the Bank of America Career Services Center at University Park, and this is the first year that the assistants will be placed in a different location on campus. 

In their roles, Kevin Afoakwah (senior, information sciences and technology), Emily Deivert (junior, security and risk analysis), Chen Tang (information sciences and technology) and Amir Thorpe (senior, security and risk analysis) will assist students across Penn State with career-preparation tasks such as resume development, job and internship searching, and interview preparation. 

“I applied to this position to get a better idea of how resources at Penn State can be utilized and to be a better advocate for them to my fellow peers,” said Afoakwah. “I find that some people have difficulty with trying to obtain certain opportunities that Penn State abundantly provides, so I wanted to become an idol for people who need that assistance.” 

The fact that four of the eight Penn State students serving as peer career assistants are from the College of IST is a testament to the college’s focus on a well-rounded education that does more than shape students’ technical knowledge.   

“We advertised the opportunity for our students to apply to become peer career assistants to hopefully ensure that one or two would be able to ‘talk the IST talk’ and be placed in our building,” said Griffith. “I was personally thrilled that so many of our students were selected.” 

Deivert added, “The College of IST has a lot of hard-working students. But considering we make up half of the Penn State’s new peer career assistants, it shows that we have the ambition, the drive to learn, and compassion to help others as well.” 

Much of the College of IST’s emphasis on soft skills, like communication, teamwork and problem-solving, have led the students to seek peer career assistant positions. 

“The majority of classes in the College of IST teach you how to efficiently work with new people and being able to communicate your ideas to them effectively,” said Afoakwah. “Through my leadership abilities on certain assignments and tasks I have undertaken, I thoroughly feel that I was prepared for this role.” 

“Hard skills are easy to learn,” Tang added. “Anyone can take a class and learn the knowledge. However, soft skills are not as easy. They take time and experience to practice.” 

To learn more about the Penn State Peer Career Assistant Program, visit


Last Updated January 22, 2020