Campus News

Who is Shelby Pykare?

January 18, 2022

Yvonne Gay

A portrait of a young woman with curly long hair.
Shelby Pykare, associate director of Career Readiness and Inclusive Excellence.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones '97

The excitement a student has when they receive the internship or job they want is what Shelby Pykare enjoys most about her work in the Career Development Center. But why did she end up swimming in the ocean and ziplining in Panama? Find out in this installment of Who Am I?


Full Name: Shelby Pykare

Department and location on campus: Career Development Center located in Longman Commons in Stevenson Hall

Job title: Associate Director of Career Readiness and Inclusive Excellence

What does your job entail? I advise students and alumni as they figure out and pursue their career interests and goals. I also work on making the career advising process inclusive for all students. This year I’ve worked a lot on helping coordinate and run our major career education programs as well. 

How many years at Oberlin? One

What do you enjoy most about your work? That moment when a student lets me know they received the internship or job that they were hoping for. Seeing and hearing their excitement when they realize that all of their hard work networking, reviewing application materials, and practicing interviewing has paid off. 

Are there key elements of career preparation students should undertake before graduation? I think all students should meet with a career advisor each year they are in college because it’s very important to start career preparation sooner rather than later. I’d also strongly encourage students to have a solid master resume that includes all of the professional and extracurricular experiences and a few drafts of cover letters. These two pieces of application materials are very important to any job search while at the same time being tricky genres of writing.

When you interact with students, what do you find they are most concerned about and what is your advice for them? I think most students have this idea that they need to know what they want to do with the rest of their life by the time they graduate, which is simply not true! Most likely you’ll do a number of different jobs in different industries throughout your life and that is okay. I try to ask students to think about what they want to do next as opposed to what they want to do with the rest of their life. I find that to be a much more helpful way of thinking about your professional journey. 

Any programs or events coming up that you would like to tell us about? We’re really excited that our Junior Practicum program will be kicking off at the end of February, and we’ve got some great workshops lined up for seniors to complete our Senior Launch Series as well! 

Let’s talk about you. What’s your favorite childhood memory? Pretty much any time spent with my cousins. 

Best vacation ever? Usually whichever one I took last! For me that was a trip to Panama in January 2020. It was the last trip I was able to take before the pandemic. I went for a wedding that didn’t actually happen, which is a whole other story, but ended up having a great time exploring, listening to music, eating delicious honey, ziplining, and swimming in the ocean. It was certainly a trip to remember! 

Hobbies? During the pandemic my main hobbies have been reading, watching movies, throwing pottery, and taking care of my plants. 

Favorite food? Potatoes in all forms and elotes

Favorite quote or personal philosophy? “We sweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in our blood,” by Teresia Teaiwa.

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