Central College News

Central Announces New Director of Career Development and Civic Engagement

Featured: Central Announces New Director of Career Development and Civic Engagement

March 7, 2024

Central College named Jodie Smith as the director of career development and civic engagement. She joined Central’s career development office in October, serving as the associate director of career and professional development.

In her new role, Smith will oversee four key areas of a Central education: career development, civic engagement, pre-health advising and off-campus programs including international education. She will direct the professional development series on campus with résumé and cover letter writing and job search strategies through presentations in classes. She will organize the internship fair, education fair and career workshops. Smith will support her team’s efforts in helping students find internships, study abroad through international education, pursue health-related careers and complete service-learning opportunities with community partners.

Smith came to Central from Iowa Western Community College where she served as the TRIO Student Support Services program director, working with first-generation students and students with disabilities. She was introduced to higher education when she worked with the student development office at Central several years ago. She admits her career path had interesting curves and changes, which prepared her well for this new role.

“It’s been my passion and desire to help students succeed,” Smith says. “I remember how I felt getting ready to graduate and not sure what I wanted to do. I thought I needed to have it all together. I didn’t and I was terrified of the next step. I want to help students navigate the next steps in their careers.”

Working with Aaron R. Roerdink ’97, associate dean for learning enrichment and associate professor-in-residence of chemistry, Smith will lead a dynamic team with a portfolio of programs focused on students and their success. Those include:

  • Debbie Abel, administrative assistant for career development and civic engagement.
  • Cyndi Boertje, assistant director for off-campus academic experiences.
  • Jeremy Burke, pre-health advisor and Class of 2026 class dean.
  • Natalie Nunnikhoven assistant director of civic engagement.
  • Emma Ware, AmeriCorps Outreach and Volunteer Recruitment VISTA.

Smith is excited about the new curriculum core and civic engagement components of a Central education.

“Our team will assist faculty in carrying these initiatives out through creative ways that align with our changing workforce,” Smith says.

She graduated from the University of Iowa with a B.S. in psychology and from William Penn University with a B.A. in sociology and human services. Her M.A. in higher education administration was earned at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and she is currently completing an M.A. in sociology from Sam Houston State University. She lives in Oskaloosa with her husband, Al, five children and two dogs.