William & Mary Wins Gold 2024 Circle of Excellence Award for Externship Program

CASE Circle of Excellence Gold AwardThe award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education celebrates outstanding achievements in educational advancement

William & Mary’s Office of Career Development and Professional Engagement (OCDPE) won a Gold 2024 Circle of Excellence Award for their externship program, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) announced on June 26.

OCDPE partners with alumni across the country to provide externship experiences for students. Externships are typically one- or two-day shadowing experiences of working professionals, allowing students an opportunity to attend meetings with senior leaders within the organization, participate in staff meetings, observe client interactions, discuss trends in the industry and more. Externships can be invaluable opportunities for students to network and gain exposure to a variety of career pathways.

The career team leveraged partnerships with W&M’s Parent & Family Council and the newly launched One Network platform to recruit alumni and friends to serve as externship hosts.

Due to these collaborations, the externship program for 2023-24 showed significant growth. For example, 498 total externship applications were submitted by students, a 39% increase from the 2022-23 academic year. In addition, 97 students participated in 122 experiences, which was the highest participation in the last five years. This year’s program also saw record participation by employer sites, with 37 host sites providing 42 externship experience options, a 31% increase in the number of experiences compared to the last academic year.

“At William & Mary, we don’t just educate students; we empower them to thrive professionally and tackle the challenges of an ever-evolving world,” said W&M Chief Career Officer Kathleen Powell. “Externships are a key part of our Vision 2026 commitment to provide funding for unpaid and underfunded internships and applied learning experiences for every undergraduate. Through the support of our alumni partners, we are preparing our students for not only their first jobs but their career journeys.”

According to a 2022 survey of four-year college students by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), hands-on experiences such as internships and applied learning opportunities contribute to successful career outcomes and achievements post-graduation.

Approximately 61% of W&M’s Class of 2022 participated in experiential learning opportunities — such as applied research, internships, externships, field experience and study abroad — across their four years at the university.

CASE’s Circle of Excellence Awards are the premier recognition program for educational advancement. These peer-selected and adjudicated awards celebrate colleges, universities, and schools worldwide whose talented staff have advanced their institutions with resourcefulness and ingenuity. 

This year volunteer judges from CASE’s membership selected 486 exemplary entries from more than 4,200 submissions for bronze, silver, gold, and Grand Gold recognition. Winners are chosen for overall quality, innovation, use of resources, and the impact on the institution or its communities, such as alumni, parents, students, faculty and staff.   

This award comes on the heels of national praise for W&M’s career preparation programs. Earlier this spring, the university received Congressional funding to expand its internship program and W&M President Katherine Rowe was honored by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) with their 2024 Career Services Champion Award. Read more from W&M News.


President Katherine A. Rowe and Chief Career Officer Kathleen Powell (center) with the Office of Career Development and Professional Engagement services team.

President Katherine A. Rowe and Chief Career Officer Kathleen Powell (center) with the Office of Career Development and Professional Engagement services team. Photo by Stephen Salpukas.