College of LAS « Illinois

Life + Career Design Lab

LAS Life and Career Design Lab Logo

In LAS, academic growth is only part of our students' journey to success.

We see their success as the result of rich experiences in the academic, personal, and professional domains and are committed to supporting student development in all three areas.

The Life + Career Design Lab's mission is to provide a framework for life-long learning in career development shaped by experiences inside and outside the classroom. The lab guides students as they explore and design their careers. The lab also supports and prepares faculty and advisers for the critical work they do guiding students.

The Life + Career Design Lab is not a career center. Rather, it complements traditional career center services offered on campus. The Life + Career Design Lab is home to a comprehensive set of services designed specifically for LAS undergraduates and integrated into the academic program starting during each student's first semester on campus.

The College of LAS is committed to fully developing and preparing students and continues to invest resources in this area. With your support, we will expand programming offered through the lab and increase our ability to help students in their career preparation.

A strong core

students sharing career resources.

The Life + Career Design Lab combines classes, project work, workshops, advising, and field opportunities to deliver on its mission.

The Professional Development Program

This program provides students a dedicated set of activities geared toward preparing them for post-graduation success. Students are welcome to participate in any and all portions of the program.

The program includes:

  • A multi-course sequence
  • Classroom time focused on reflection, goal setting, and professional development
  • Out-of-classroom experiences that may include internships, service learning, study abroad, research, or part-time work
  • A capstone project (under development)
  • Guidance for documenting personal and professional accomplishments in a professional e-portfolio

On-campus workshops

The lab also offers students a robust schedule of career-oriented workshops covering topics to compliment their academic growth.

Workshop topics include:

  • Articulating Your Humanities and Social Science Skills to Future Employers
  • Developing Technology Competencies
  • How to Sell Your LAS Degree at the Business Career Fair
  • Internships Abroad
  • Networking with Illinois Alumni
  • Post-Graduation Service Opportunities—Giving Back While Gaining Skills
  • Resumes for Scientists: How to Best Highlight Your Center and Research Skills
  • Tech Savvy Skills Every LAS Student Should Know
  • The Power of Presentations—Enhancing Your (Employable!) Communication Skills

Workshops in the field

Students have the opportunity to travel to places like Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, Cape Town, and Shanghai to understand the diverse cultures and opportunities in the world within specific fields and to engage alumni in professional settings.

Resource room and integrative advising

An important element of the lab is providing a welcoming physical space where staff and trained student leaders provide students in-person support. Lab staff have expertise in high-impact learning experiences like study abroad, undergraduate research, and internships, and can help students connect these experiences to their major.

Expansion plans

student presenting to alumni

With support from private donors and industry partners, LAS will expand the lab through program enhancements and financial assistance for students.

Future plans include:

  • Expanding the Professional Development Program to include a capstone project and a certificate option
  • Building an internship fair that would help LAS students find internships
  • Providing leadership training for students through campus-based and other partnerships
  • Using state-of-the-art technology to connect students and alumni
  • Funding special programs and travel to support alumni-student interaction and other professional development experiences in the field
  • Granting stipend or scholarship support for students' field experiences, such as internships, service work, and study abroad
  • Creating the LAS Innovation Award to highlight outstanding student work affecting an organization or industry
  • Establishing an award recognizing outstanding alumni support of lab initiatives and an award honoring faculty/staff for outstanding contributions to students' career development

Empower LAS students

University of Illinois student

You can help ensure the growth and success of the Life + Career Design Lab and countless LAS students.

Here's how:

  • Volunteer. You can participate in one of the lab's many workshops, or be a guest speaker in a class. You have valuable experience that students can benefit from.
  • Be a conduit to your company or organization. Host an off-campus opportunity for students, encourage recruitment of LAS students, or facilitate a corporate donation. Visit our corporate engagement page to learn more.
  • Give. Donations of any size to the Life + Career Design Lab are needed to fuel our efforts for years to come. Gifts of $2,500 will provide one student scholarship to support a summer or semester professional experience. Endowment opportunities also exist and start at $25,000. Visit our giving page to get started.

Contact us

To get involved, email us.