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Toppel Career Center’s Garcia, Haimes Honored by NACE

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    By Barbara Gutierrez
    UM News

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 12, 2016) – Two members of the Toppel Career Center have been honored with national awards from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the leading association for career services at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

    Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director of Toppel, was honored with the Mentor of the Year Award, while Samantha Haimes, associate director for career readiness, has won NACE’s Rising Star Award.

    The annual awards recognize outstanding work at the national level. The Mentor of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has selflessly demonstrated leadership and the ability to serve as a quality mentor to one or more individuals. Garcia, who has worked at UM since 2001, has mentored several young professionals through the NACE mentoring program for the past three years.

    One of those he mentored was Jeffrey L. Alston, assistant director of Employer Relations and Internships at The College of Brockport- SUNY. Alston nominated Garcia for the award and in his nominating letter said, “The growth I have experienced through this relationship has been exponential.” He also noted that Garcia offered tips and advice that helped him improve in his job, including how to facilitate group discussions and presentations.

    “My mentor has exceeded the title of mentor and has become my Career Services Big Brother,” said Alston.

    “Of all the awards that I could ever win, this one means the world to me because it recognizes the deep relationships I have made through the NACE Mentorship Program,” said Garcia, who holds a Master of Science from Florida State University. “I have learned from my mentees, just as they have learned from me, and that’s what makes this program such a rewarding experience. I was truly surprised and touched by the honor.”

    Haimes, who has a Master of Science in Education from UM, has been working at Toppel since 2012. Her award recognizes her strong leadership potential and contributions to the career services profession and the NACE organization. It comes with a $1,500 prize from Spelman Johnson, a premier executive search firm committed to serving higher education.

    “This award means so much to me,” said Haimes. “It is such an honor and at the same time a welcomed responsibility to rise to the occasion and continue to contribute to the field of career services, to students, and to my colleagues alike. I feel very proud, humbled, and motivated.”

    The Toppel Career Center’s mission is to help students and alumni develop career-related skills by providing high quality resources, services, programming, and events that will prepare them for a lifetime of career success.

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