Lisa Gooden-Hunley is passionate about doing things she loves and pursuing excellence in everything she does. As a senior coordinator with the campus Career Center for the past five years, she particularly is devoted to helping Mississippi State students transition to the professional world.
The mother of a young son, she is balancing family and career responsibilities while garnering accolades for achievements as a graduate student in English at the university.
As part of their many duties, Gooden-Hunley and other Career Center staff members provide coaching on everything from resume writing to dressing for success to interviewing skills. In addition to striving to accommodate the varying needs of enrolled students, she and her colleagues also offer career-related services to university alumni.
Gooden-Hunley specializes in helping majors in the colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences who are enrolled in cooperative education and internship programs. Because many go on to permanent jobs with their co-op and intern employers after graduation, Gooden-Hunley said she has the pleasure of personally witnessing the launch of these students on paths toward successful careers.
"My job is to encourage students to discover their talents and to connect them with opportunities to explore those talents at the university and beyond," she said.
"Our directors are all extremely knowledgeable and have been very supportive," she said, adding that the entire staff works to "tailor services to meet individual needs."
Their combined efforts have been so successful that next month the Ohio-based National Cooperative Education and Internship Association is honoring the MSU center with a Best Practice Award in recognition of outstanding service to clients.
As she helps MSU students pursue their passions, Gooden-Hunley pursues one of her own in the English master's degree program.
"Through the M.A. in English, I have grown as a critical thinker," she said. "I'm a better researcher, writer, listener and teacher."
A validation of her personal achievements comes this summer when she travels to Germany to present a portion of her master's thesis at the international conference of the African Literature Association. The event takes place at the University of Bayreuth in northern Bavaria.
Gooden-Hunley said she is prepared for the European experience, having been well-coached and challenged by her MSU professors.
"I have no doubt that the talents I'm cultivating now will be useful in my services to students for many years to come," she said.