Wheaton magazine

Volume 20 // Issue 1
Wheaton magazine // Winter 2017

Relevant: Center for Vocation and Career


The Center for Vocation and Career equips students to use their liberal arts education to thrive in careers that reflect Kingdom values and lead to flourishing lives that help build the church and benefit society worldwide.

Before joining the Center for Vocation and Career (CVC), Dee Pierce M.A. ’17 worked in the Reagan White House, the Ohio House of Representatives, a professional services firm, and a local church. Now the CVC’s director, Dee says her wide-ranging experience comes in handy with students nervous about what comes after graduation. 

“The fact that I’ve had a winding career path helps me tell a story with integrity to students,” Dee says. “Your first job is not your last job. A lot of them feel panicked, and they don’t need to.” 

Dee says the goal of the CVC, which is being strength-ened by the capital campaign, is for students to become influencers in church and society. This happens when they understand who God has created them to be, first by looking inward at their strengths and interests, then by looking outward at the possible intersections where those gifts can be utilized. Along the way, students will be acquiring job-hunting and employment skills and learning to tell their stories. 

This approach, Dee says, “asks something of students. We’re getting away from simply telling them.” 

Two CVC activities have played critical roles in helping students help themselves. The first is “Canvas: Framing Your Vocation and Career,” offered to sophomores to help them explore career plans. Those who attend, Dee says, see positive results upon graduation. Last year, 148 students participated in the first event; this year, 224 did. 

The second, “Taco Tuesdays,” brings together alumni in selected career fields with interested students in a smaller, more informal setting. 

“It’s a great learning experience,” Dee says. “They’re networking and don’t even know it.” 

Dee says the high costs of college combined with an economy that forced recent grads to settle for underemployment or living in their parents’ basements have sparked lots of questions—and soul-searching. 

“The pressure on colleges today, and especially on liberal arts colleges, to show a return on investment has escalated,” she says. “We want to be strategic in helping students prepare for life after college in a positive and productive way.” 

Dee’s eclectic employment history has shown her “the unsavory side of human nature.” That’s why she’s so passionate about helping Christian young people find their vocations. 

“I’m driven to raise up strong, highly capable followers of Christ,” Dee says, “who will go out into the world and do the right thing, lead with integrity, develop products that work, and build organizations that grow the body of Christ. We can have a better world, and I believe that Wheaton students can make that happen. They’re incredible.”