Sarah Kostiha Smith
Sarah Kostiha Smith, Director of Career Services and Internships
Sarah Kostiha Smith comes to us from Chardon, Ohio, a town known for its delicious maple syrup and its location in the heart of the Snow Belt. A two-time graduate of Ohio University (OU) in Athens, Ohio, Sarah now serves as the Director of Career Services and Internships at Lake Erie College.
Sarah holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Scripps School of Communication as well as a Master of Education degree in college student personnel. This past May, she also graduated from LEC with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.
Prior to joining the Storm, Sarah worked at OU in the Campus Involvement Center and in Health Promotions as the Sexual Assault, Tobacco and Other Drug Prevention Coordinator. Then, in the summer between the first and second years of her M.Ed. program, Sarah worked as an intern in the Student Life Office at Lake Erie College assisting with New Student Orientation. "I fell in love with the beautiful campus, the sense of community and the personal attention each student received, she said. "I then knew that I wanted to work for and support the mission and values of Lake Erie College.
After graduating from OU, Sarah used her previous experience in Student Life, knowledge of the campus and educational background to secure a job in the LEC Office of Admissions. Three years later, she seized an opportunity to move to the LEC Office of Career Services and Internships.
In her current position, Sarah strives to ensure an undergraduate experience in which students gain both academic and career-oriented education across all four years. She does this by offering opportunities for students to "learn about themselves and their options in the world of work in a comprehensive way.
"I bring experience in student recruitment and admissions, student life and student health education to my work for Lake Erie College, said Sarah. Though she has worked for large institutions like OU, Sarah appreciates the emphasis on personal experience that can be found at LEC. Sarahs goal is that "Career Services inspire, challenge and prepare all students to find careers that reflect their own values and lead to lives of meaning and connection.
In addition to working with students, Sarah and the rest of the Career Services team also develop relationships with employers and provide support for their recruiting needs. "I work one-on-one in advising students, as well as presenting and facilitating workshops and classroom presentations, she said.
A recent example of Career Services in action was the "Meet the Accountant Night. A collaboration of Becker Professional Education and the School of Business, the event gave accounting students the chance to network with accountants from top firms in the area while sharpening their interview and resume skills.
Working at LEC, Sarah has access to many opportunities that might not be available to her at other institutions. "I love that I have the ability to collaborate with different campus offices and organizations here, she said. One example of this collaborative environment involved a partnership with Leadership Lake County to develop the Lake County Collegiate Leadership Program. This two-semester program serves to introduce students to local business and career opportunities while developing their communication and strategic thinking skills. Further, it lets students explore Lake Countys economic base while bringing together faculty, students and businesses.
Apart from the collaborative atmosphere, Sarahs favorite thing about LEC is the sense of tradition. Her favorite tradition is Field Day, held on the day before fall semester begins each year. "This event not only kicks off the new academic year, but also serves as an opportunity for new students to meet their fellow classmates! she said.
With her extensive knowledge and experience, Sarah is an ideal person to offer prospective students advice about LEC. "Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge surrounding you, she said. "Our comprehensive, hands-on process begins at orientation and continues beyond the launch of your post-degree career. Once you identify your career focus, Career Services will work with you to support your market readiness.
As for potential employees of the College, Sarah also has some wise advice. "LEC is a wonderful place to work and grow, she said. "It is a true privilege to work here. We have a very close-knit community and there is always someone willing to help you. Apart from the College itself, Sarah also speaks highly of the surrounding area attractions, such as the beaches, parks and restaurants, as well as the proximity to downtown Cleveland.On campus, Sarahs favorite place is College Hall, the original and oldest building at LEC. "College Hall has so much character and serves as a reminder of how deeply education is rooted in this community, she said. As a dedicated member of the Storm, Sarah is working to continue LECs tradition of education and excellence for years to come.