Jeff Sackaroff is excited to get to work. The NC State alumnus recently joined the Wilson College of Textiles as its new director of Student and Career Services, effective March 1, and he has already made plans to streamline the system and make more tools available to students.
“The college just recently switched to a system called ePACK…all of the employers, jobs, internships, interviews and scheduled information sessions will all live there,” he said. “It will be a one-stop place for students to begin participating in a lot of events, and that will be a culture change…I would like to look into a virtual interview tool so students can practice interviewing.” He will be creating a mix of in-person and virtual workshops on topics like resume writing and job searching to help students prepare for an evolving job market.
Sackaroff comes to the Wilson College of Textiles from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he worked in university career services for 11 years, first as the associate director of internal relations and then as the associate director of external relations. Before that, he served for four years as the director of undergraduate career services in the Poole College of Management at NC State. He earned his master’s of education in counselor education from NC State after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville — but he believes his career helping students achieve professional success contains an element of serendipity.
“It’s funny — I don’t think anyone goes into the field of career counseling intentionally,” he said. “I was a psych major, and I was interested initially in human resources and recruiting. I realized that I really enjoy spending time trying to help people better understand their career goals, so it was mostly accidental and naturally following those currents of interest.”
When Sackaroff came to interview at the Wilson College of Textiles, he spent a long afternoon meeting with stakeholders.
“What really stood out for me was being with the students during that session,” he said. “Their sense of investment in this college and the future of it was palpable…Their level of questions and inquiry really demonstrated to me that this is a special place, and seeing that level of engagement with students was telling. It really is a community…(and) it seems like everyone is invested in the well-being of these students.”
One of the more exciting parts of the job so far has been learning about what, exactly, textiles means today. He is signed up to take the week long boot camp Textile Fundamentals course through Zeis Textiles Extension and is touring labs and speaking with students, faculty, researchers and staff about the Wilson College of Textiles and its capabilities.
“They do amazing stuff here,” he said. “You wouldn’t think how much textiles touches so many walks of our lives and just how much technology is baked in. You think of clothing, but now you also think about fire retardant suits, invisible cloaks…and how textiles cross over into the medical world.”
His immediate goal is to make this year’s graduating students feel prepared to enter the professional world, but he is also focusing on engaging graduate students and helping all students learn to help themselves through the variety of resources available within career services.
“I want to teach them how to fish, essentially,” he said. “I don’t want to do too much hand holding. I want to do my job by helping students leave here feeling prepared and confident.”
Home State: New Jersey
Family Life: Two “awesome” boys, 12 and 9, and wife, an environmental engineer and NC State alumna
Hobbies: “Recovering” ultramarathon runner; adventurous, no-recipe cook; live music fan
Musical Taste: Eclectic, including Bruce Springsteen and Rage Against the Machine
Literary Genre: Historical nonfiction, including a recent Harry Truman biography
Favorite Television Shows: “Game of Thrones” and “The Man in the High Castle,” “Smithsonian Channel” for the kids
Childhood Dream: Rockstar