What does etiquette have to do with leadership? A new one-day institute gives Jepson students preparing for summer internships an opportunity to find out.

“As you start your career, you want to present yourself as the kind of person who should be leading,” says professor Joanna Ciulla, who has written extensively on the topic of work. “Etiquette is about making people feel comfortable around you.”

The institute aims to give students a professional edge and help them succeed in life after college.

Workshops cover topics such as professional dress, how to develop an “elevator pitch,” business basics and personal finance. The day ends with a formal dinner where students can practice their pitches, network with alumni and put their etiquette skills to work. The workshops are taught by alumni, faculty and staff.

The program, named the Intern Institute, builds on workshops the School has offered in years past. The School is hoping to expand the program even more in the future.

“The hope is that students will develop competencies they will need for their internship,” says Kerstin Soderlund, associate dean for student and external affairs. “With a growing number of leadership studies majors, it is more efficient to present a one-day institute instead of workshops spread over several weeks.”

This year’s institute was held Feb. 24 in the University’s Jepson Alumni Center. Beth Chancy, assistant director of career services, explained dining etiquette during the formal dinner.

Ciulla took an academic approach to etiquette during her workshop on etiquette and ethics. “What [philosopher and diplomat] Castiglione realized is that if you want power, you need to know how to behave in a gracious way toward other people. Manners are part of how you get power and influence.”

The alumni who led workshops say they are glad to help the next generation of leaders.

“It’s a great opportunity for students,” says Reagan Morris, ’99, who works with Capital One. “It’s also great for us as alumni because we get to come back and interact with students and faculty and share what we have learned.”

A “Lessons Learned” panel featured seniors Joey Greener, Lindsay Hudson, Taylor Michals, Matt Powell, John Rivara and Scott Rockensies discussing their internship experiences.

“Hearing from seniors who have already completed their internship put my mind at ease,” says Shaye Ellis, ’14. “Overall, it was a good opportunity to talk with fellow Jepson students about their upcoming plans and hear valuable advice from alumni about how to prepare for the working world.”

Toward the end of the evening, Soderlund realized there was going to be an extra meal. She didn’t want it going to waste, so she put out a call to seniors.

Dani Camous, ’13, took her up on the offer. But there was just one problem. She was in sweats and didn’t have time to change.

“Perfect,” Soderlund told her with a smile. “Come just like you are and we can discuss what to do if someone shows up to a function underdressed.”




Thank you to alumni who led workshops:
Sam Kaufman, ’99
Aaron Lee, ’00
Raegan Morris, ’99
Kate Rezabek, ’02
Laura Yeatts Thomson, ’94