UNCW Staff Members Amplify Support for Military Spouses

Monday, March 27, 2017

Though they work in separate areas at UNCW, staff members Siobhan Norris and Rebecca Christiansen have a great deal in common.

Norris, a military student support specialist, and Christiansen, associate director for employer development, met last summer at a campus reception. Both being new UNCW hires and military spouses, they formed a “natural partnership.”

In March, they represented UNCW at AMPLIFY, a military spouse career intensive conference held at the Starbucks Headquarters in Seattle, WA. While there, they networked with representatives from Fortune 500 powerhouses like Amazon, Microsoft, USAA and Capital One. Christiansen presented on current resume writing practices for military spouses.

“With having to move a lot and other challenges faced by military spouses trying to maintain a career, it’s important they have an updated and polished resume,” she said.

Norris knows of those career challenges herself, having moved 12 times in 14 years. “In addition to resume gaps, it’s hard to maintain a professional network when one is moving constantly,” she said.

That’s why the two are spearheading an effort to launch an In Gear Career chapter at UNCW, a program of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 

Hiring Our Heroes is a national initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment. In Gear Career was founded by three military spouses to provide resources and support for navigating the career landscape. In addition, it serves to advocate the voice of the professionally driven military spouse. 

The UNCW chapter is slated to launch in August and will be the first university chapter in the nation.

“We'd like to thank our leadership at various levels for supporting us at AMPLIFY and giving us the opportunity to embark on this journey,” said both Norris and Christiansen.

The manner in which Norris and Christiansen are organizing for success to support students’ post-graduation career placement upholds a key initiative outlined in UNCW’s Strategic Plan.

-- Caroline Cropp