April 18, 2017
My first exposure to the APIKC was at the 2005 Region V & VI Conference as an undergraduate student. I’ve always considered the APIKC my “professional home” and it has provided support and mentorship throughout my career. Although I have been involved with the APIKC for over a decade, this was my first year at APPEX.
My motivation to participate this year was to have the opportunity to connect with API colleagues in a substantive way; having been absent from NASPA the past two years and in the midst of a tumultuous political and social climate, I missed the community aspect the APIKC provides. I came away rejuvenated with a sense of community from the APPEX facilitators and participants. However, the bigger impact for me was around career development.
Among the most impactful were the presentations. Vijay Pendakur discussed how he navigates institutional fit, getting to know institutions, and networking. It was inspiring to see another South Asian student affairs professional discussing his own identity development, career, and professional development strategies. Through a panel presentation with Raja Bhattar, Monica Nixon, Mike Segawa, and Julie Wong, themes of the importance of mentorship, the role of personal values in one’s career path, and navigating identity in the workplace were emphasized.
I found myself thinking of networking more intentionally after Vijay’s presentation where he talked about networking as “a tool to drive an outcome” and having several circles of networks for different purposes. I made meaningful connections with colleagues at APPEX that are doing similar work and can provide feedback, advice, and resources, as well as colleagues that can provide guidance for career advancement.
APPEX made me reflect on my career path, goals, and next steps. As a mid-level professional, it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day business of our work, maintaining our professional networks, and mentoring younger professionals and graduate students. APPEX prompted me to think about career development topics in new ways for myself and those I supervise, reflect on my own identity and professional experiences, and be more intentional in building a strong network and choosing opportunities I take advantage of within my institution.
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