School of Public Policy Holds New Virtual Development Series

Story posted December 11, 2020 in CommRadio, News by Shelby Lincoln

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For college students, preparing for future jobs and careers has greatly changed due to the pandemic. Penn State’s School of Public Policy has been helping students to navigate this new normal.

Since June, the school has been hosting a virtual professional development series called “Strategies for Career and Leadership Success.”

“It’s something that we started just to help our future graduates and any recent graduates entering the job market navigate difficult situations or prepare them for upcoming interviews,”
said Whitney Chirdon, the director of communications for the School of Public Policy and College of Liberal Arts.

“We’ve had several topics that we’ve addressed,” Chirdon added, “including maximizing your internship and building a career network, building a professional presence and online portfolio…”

The school has also had over 170 students register for the series’ episodes.

In the afternoon of Wednesday, Dec. 9, the school held a session about “Leading with a Focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.” It invited Penn State alumnus Kerry-Lane Prunella to speak to the over 30 people in attendance on Zoom.

Prunella is the chief human capital officer at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. She also has over 20 years of experience working in the public and private sectors of human resources.

During the event, she gave advice to attendees about leadership and how to cultivate an environment of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

“You’ll see a lot of times, people are so focused on the data, the data, the data,” Prunella said. “It’s even more important that qualitative, the story behind the numbers and the cultural aspects, is where its HR-helping business leaders understand.”

Prunella also took questions from attendees towards the end of the session. She encouraged them to always be their authentic selves and to fully appreciate ideas that people bring to the table in the workplace.

When researching companies, Prunella suggested for students to research their cultures and initiatives.

“Go on their website and look at the “About Us,” Prunella said. “Look at what they show as their vision, their mission, their values.”

The School of Public Policy will be continuing this series in the upcoming spring 2020 semester.

Shelby Lincoln is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. She can be reached at