Carolyn Ersland

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Carolyn Ersland Image

Director of Career Development

HOW DID YOU GET  HERE? As an undergraduate student, I was definitely “exploring or undecided” or perhaps “clueless” would have been the best descriptor at the time.  Certainly one of those students who needed to utilize the academic advisors and career center staff, but didn’t!  So do as I say, not as I did.  Having started my college career in music performance I switched to music therapy to pre-physical therapy to landing (finally) in psychology, I had no clear ideas about what careers interested me other than I had a desire to help people.  After completing my bachelor’s degree, my first job was working in a hotel as a guest relations specialist.  Next came an opportunity to work as a recreation therapy assistant (which was an AWESOME job – just the wrong setting for me) and then I accepted a position as a teacher’s aide supporting elementary school students with disabilities in the classroom.  Both were learning experiences, but just not the right “fit” yet.  All these experiences lead me to exploring graduate school options.  I began a master’s program in Counseling and learned from a classmate about a graduate assistantship in career services.  Who knew that you could work with college students and that was a career???  I met with one of the associate directors in the career center at my graduate institution to learn about career counseling and student affairs and I’ve never looked back.  She hooked me on the idea that I COULD work in a college setting with my counseling degree and help college students explore their interests, strengths, and abilities to connect them with resources and future careers.  All that to say, it’s ok to explore – in fact I encourage it!  You’ll learn something about yourself and you’ll meet some many fascinating people along the way.  It’s definitely worth the journey!


WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Working with students!  Being part of their journey…Listening to their stories, hearing about their dreams and goals, and figuring out where our resources and services can best support and challenge them as they make the transition from student to professional.


WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL JOB YOU EVER HAD? Where to start…Growing up on a farm in Iowa, I’ve had a number of jobs that others might find unusual (unless you’re a farm kid too) everything from scooping silage, rouging corn, walking beans, and bailing hay.  And yes, I do know how to drive a tractor! 



Food: Pizza (preferably Chicago-style, Giordano’s if we are getting specific)

Candy: Junior Mints or anything with dark chocolate

TV shows: Chopped, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, House Hunters, Love It or List It

Movies: Sound of Music, Pretty Woman, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Christmas Vacation (my family IS the Griswolds), The Internship, Miracle

Hobbies: Running after twins J

Sports teams: I’m an Iowa Hawkeye at heart, but as the wife of a college coach, we have become fans of many colleges and universities we would call part of our story.  From Hawkeyes to Chippewas to Huskies and Wildcats to Cyclones and Huskers and Tigers (oh my!) to now becoming part of the Boilermaker family, we are college athletics FANactics!  You’ll catch me screaming in the stands and cheering on our Boilermaker wrestlers, but I also LOVE women’s volleyball, football, basketball, softball, you name it!



"Be the change you want to see in the world." – Mahatma Gandhi

"For I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you hope and a future" – Jeremiah 29:11


ADVICE FOR STUDENTS: Every experience counts, so get involved, get a job, be a mentor, volunteer – Just do what you love!  And then figure out a way for someone to pay you to do it!