Kamryn Schnieder ~ Copy Editor
On Monday, Nov. 9, the University of Lynchburg began the four-day National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Conference. The conference features a series of lectures by faculty and staff of the University of Lynchburg, focusing on communication and networking in the technological era.
Kalila Murray, a senior nursing major, is the current president of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), which was partially in charge of organizing the NACE Conference. She explained that she “[has] been the liaison between our advisors Jonathan Fries, BJ Keefer, and Dean Aaron Smith and the presenters who will be presenting on the different topics.” Murray also bore the responsibility of “send[ing] out the different emails to the students who showed interest in the conference and also the campus as a whole.”
Murray shared that, “The NACE Conference provides its members with high-quality resources and research, networking and professional development opportunities. This association has identified 8 soft skills that all college graduates, no matter what major/field, need in order to be successful in the workforce. These soft skills include teamwork and collaboration, leadership and critical thinking. The main goal of this conference is to provide students with these soft skills that can be used within any career field but also help with their development in and outside the workforce.”
Professor Jer Bryant, Director of Wilmer Writing Center, Assistant Professor of English, and Interfaith Chaplain, presented on Monday, Nov. 9th. Bryant’s presentation was titled “Professionalism in Written Communication.”
He explained that, for him, “This conference … is an opportunity for students to learn how to become strong communicators. Superb communication skills, especially in the area of writing and speaking, are paramount in today’s workforce.” His presentation in particular “discusses how to effectively communicate through written documents.”
He said, “I talk about audience, purpose, and the importance of creating reader-centered texts that are professional in nature.” Though he has already presented, Bryant expressed he was “very excited to see it unfold,” and said, “This is a wonderful opportunity for students, and I am pleased to have a small part in the event.”
Murray stated that “[t]he presenters were picked by BJ Keefer and Dean Smith. The presenters were considered on the expertise they have within these different soft skills and their active engagement within the campus community. BJ and Dean Smith were able to agree on most of them pretty quickly, and we were hoping that they would be willing to share their knowledge with students in this conference format.”
Though most of the conference has already passed, Murray encourages people “who didn’t attend the conference this year to make an initiative to attend the one next year. I believe the NACE Conference is something that you can gain a lot of information that not only can you use now within your college career but once you graduate college and begin working within your desired career field. The information presented within the conference from the amazing guest speaker[s] can become very impactful in your day to day life.” The full schedule of this year’s conference was sent out via e-mail from the Hornet Info address.
In regards to COVID, Murray clarified that “[the NSLS] would have loved to host this event in person but due to COVID guidelines, us having two presenters within the same day and the student population we just did not think it would have been safe enough to have everyone gathered together. The NACE Conference was originally set to happen the week of November 2nd but due to the Presidential election happening within that same week we decided to push the event back to the week of November 9th. With pushing the event back so close to a week before finals are set to start was a major risk due to the amount of stress students are currently feeling right now.”
Murray reiterated, “I had a really amazing time helping put on this conference. I would like to thank all the guest speakers/presenters for agreeing to participate in this conference; it would not have happened without [them]. I would also like to thank BJ Keefer, Jonathan Fries, and Dean Smith for all their work with this conference but also getting me involved with it.”