Career guidance is at the core of the center’s impact.
Every college campus has its hidden gems.
Something that students hear about and tend to think "I didn't know that was here."
As Taylor Townes nears the end of her educational journey at Texas Tech University, she intends to make sure one of those off-the-radar elements of her alma mater comes into the light a little more.
Townes will graduate this week with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, joining the next wave of Texas Tech graduates poised to make an impact on the world.
Along her path to graduation, the Spring native worked as a student ambassador for the University Career Center, and that was when she realized how valuable that office is -- and needs to be -- for students from all corners of campus.
"Basically they are there to do whatever the students need," Townes said. "It's so impressive how much they are willing to do to help students. They critique resumés, help you figure out what you want to do in life, walk you through practice interviews.
"The dedication they bring in every day for the jobs they do and how much they care for students is really amazing."
Indeed, the University Career Center offers an array of services to students. Besides the list Townes rattled off, there are a variety of career fairs, some for specific schools/majors and at least three each year for all majors.
Several career assessment services are provided to help students determine both a blueprint for what they need to do in college and what might fit them best after they graduate.
Another important service, Hire Red Raiders, is a service that connects students and potential employers.
In recent years, the University Career Center has partnered with Universum Global for a student survey on which employers graduating students most wanted to speak to. In 2017, Texas Tech students were recognized for providing the most responses to the survey.
Universum Global is an international industry leader in helping employers understand, attract and retain current and future ideal employees.
"I think it's great that Texas Tech wants to know who the students want to talk to and look at as employers," Townes said. "It also helps companies know what kind of students we have here."
The Universum connection is just part of the menu that makes the University Career Center a must for students, Townes said, and she got an up-close-and-personal look as a student ambassador.
She recalled the counselors offering to help students in any way needed, regardless of the request.
"Sometimes the way they help isn't related only to career searches or interviews," Townes said."Sometimes all a student has to do is say 'I need this favor,' and the staff is glad to help."
The impact the University Career Center can have is immeasurable, Townes said.
In her role, she often fielded phone calls or walk-in comments from students who just wanted to say thank you because they got a job offer or a job.
"They're doing really important stuff, and that makes a statement about Texas Tech in general – that they want to help students and use whatever resources they can to do that," Townes said. "People switch majors a lot, and just something small like giving students a chance to take a test to see what you might want to do with your life is so meaningful because it's so helpful to not go down the wrong path."
Which is why Townes wants to make sure her peers are aware about the University Career Center as early as possible in their college careers.
"It's really important to know it's there because it can have such a big impact on you," she said. "I knew it existed, but I really had no intention of using it until I started working there, and I'm very glad I did."
On a wider scale, Townes said the University Career Center is emblematic of what Texas Tech and West Texas offer students from all walks of life.
With a job lined up at Kimley-Horn, a consulting firm with a branch in Lubbock, Townes said she has no plans to leave her new adopted home.
Kimley-Horn is a strong partner with both Texas Tech and Universum and recruits heavily on campus. The company is a full-service consulting firm that provides a wide range of infrastructure and land development planning and engineering services to both public and private clients. The multi-disciplinary engineering consulting firm solves complex design and planning issues for private and public sector clients across the country. The company was ranked No. 10 on Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For" in 2018, its 11th year on the list. Also in the Fortune rankings, Kimley-Horn was ranked No. 2 on the "Best Workplaces in Texas", No. 5 as a "Best Workplaces for Millennials" and No. 33 among "Best Places for Women."
"The career center is like the rest of Texas Tech: There is a genuine culture of 'How can I help you and genuinely meaning it,'" Townes said. "When I needed tips on interviewing and what to do after the interview, the career center was there to help me."