Darria Oden a Business Management major with a minor in International Relations and Global Studies, is graduating from Stony Brook University in 2023, with a Career Ready Certificate on her resume. The Career Ready Certificate Program was created for undergraduates who are looking to improve their communication skills, connect with Fortune 500 company reps, and start their job or internship search with a network of amazing women leaders. As she nears commencement, Darria shares her experience with the Career Ready Certificate and how it impacted her career before even graduating. How did you hear about Forté? I discovered Forté Foundation by virtue of my undergraduate institution, Stony Brook University, recently becoming a partner university with Forté. Throughout the academic year, I have attended many webinars alongside the Women of Color Leadership Symposium and the Forte Undergraduate Leadership Summit. How did you hear about Forté’s Career Ready Certificate program? My experience at the Women of Color Leadership Symposium left me with a desire to become more involved with Forté Foundation. Consequently, I became a Forte Undergraduate Ambassador for Stony Brook University in December of 2022, and through this partnership, I was introduced to the many opportunities that are available to undergraduate students. Upon doing my research on what Forte Foundation has to offer emerging young female professionals, the Career Ready Certificate Program sparked my interest as it was the perfect credential for me to acquire as I enter the next stage of my professional development upon graduating with my bachelor’s degree. What motivated you to complete the Career Ready Certificate? When I first looked at the content of the certificate I initially felt overwhelmed. I worried that it would be inconceivable to possibly complete the certificate on top of all the other responsibilities that I have. Once I understood that the Career Ready Certificate is self-paced , it relaxed a lot of my worries. Furthermore, once I started completing each module I truly felt like the content of each module was relevant and involved issues that I currently face and will potentially face this in my emerging professional career. What was your experience like with the certificate program? My experience with the certificate program went exceptionally well. I appreciate the fact the certificate program included information pertaining to women in all stages of their career. I enjoyed hearing the voices of women who were in positions of power that I strive every day to be in. These voices gave me an in-depth and personal glimpse into the life of the modern-day “superwoman”. What are your plans for after college and how did the certificate program influence them? Upon graduating with my bachelor's degree I was granted the amazing opportunity of living overseas through a post-graduate fellowship at the American College of Thessaloniki located in Greece. I also plan on attaining my Master of Business Administration in the next 5 years. The certificate program definitely had a great influence on my career network as it improved my professional vocabulary and helped me to materialize the disparities that I observe in the workplace. What advice do you have for other undergrads who might be interested in joining the certificate program? The first piece of advice that I have for other undergrads who might be interested in joining the certificate program is to DO IT! Unlike traditional education, the Career Ready Certificate is self-paced so you can take all the time that you possibly need. Sometimes I read an article 2 or 3 times just to fully grasp the content of what was being said. My second piece of advice is to take what you learn and apply it to your real life. Do not let all the time that you spent getting the certificate go to waste! Use what you read and become a well-informed woman in this ever-changing economy. Want to earn a career ready certificate? Check out our certificate page for more information to see if you qualify.