Darlene Garcia, career counselor at the Career Center, was awarded the National Career Development Association’s Outstanding Career Practitioner Award for 2010 at a conference July 1 in San Francisco.
The award recognizes practicing career counselors, consultants, or teachers for outstanding performance in day-to-date service for people and takes into consideration:
- Years of service in direct work with people in regard to career development in education, business and industry, and/or private practice;
- Quality of service as indicated by innovative programs, recognition by local organizations, publications, etc;
- Service to the profession as indicated by participation and leadership in professional associations at the local, state, and/or national levels.
Garcia has been a career counselor at CC since August 2001. She developed a method for combining in-depth assessments (MBTI Step II and Strong College and Career) to help students learn more about who they are, including their strengths, interests, and values. As an MBTI Master Practitioner, Garcia helps students identify their personal themes, so that they may explore and consider opportunities that fit them, simplifying the career exploration, preparation, and job search process. Over the years, these assessment appointments have become very popular among students, especially sophomores and seniors, she says. Beyond her own work with students, Garcia has brought Myers-Brigg theory to staff to help them understand themselves and CC students. She has also used the MBTI to help students understand their own and others’ preferred learning styles.
In addition to her work with MBTI and Strong, Garcia was involved in the development and leadership of the First Generation Group on campus, which provides support and education by staff and faculty to students who are one of the first generation to attend a four-year college. Outside of CC, she regularly presents on career issues and provides career counseling to the Colorado Springs community.
Sue Aiken, CC ’62, is a career counselor who encountered Garcia a few years ago at a career conference in Sacramento, Calif. After the initial conversation at the conference, Aiken called Garcia to ask her if there are any special projects she would like funded. Garcia told her she would like to combine the assessments and Aiken agreed to help fund the pilot. As a past recipient of the NCDA Outstanding Career Practitioner award herself, Aiken was present at the awards luncheon at the San Francisco conference.