BOBCATshadow program connects TXST students with employers

Student Experience

Paul Stinson | August 25, 2023

three people in white lab coats in discussion
Industrial engineering student Jimena Gonzales, at center, participates in BOBCATshadow at Continental USA with development specialist Michaela Kaster, at left, and production value stream manager Umang Jha, at right.

Texas State University’s Career Services office is piloting a revamped job-shadowing program to offer students behind-the-scenes insights into a variety of careers.

Eighteen employers across the Austin-San Antonio area — including Fortune 500 companies and alumni business leaders — hosted 38 students for one-day visits on Aug. 16-17 for the rollout of BOBCATshadow

Students had the chance to interview professionals about their fields and shadow professionals to learn about their work. The host companies included finance, engineering, construction, social work, and business firms.

With the job-shadowing experience earning positive reviews from students and employers alike, Bobcats caught a real-world glimpse of workplace settings including MD Anderson Cancer Center and Fortune 500 companies Sherwin-Williams and Continental USA.

“This program is about giving students an opportunity to see if their selected major aligns with the career they have in mind and to be able to test-drive that career for a day,” said Yakima Anderson, Career Experiences coordinator for Career Services. 

woman in white lab coat holding up txst hand signs
Jimena Gonzalez said the one-day BOBCATshadow experience shed new light on the role of an engineer in a professional setting.

Jimena Gonzalez, an industrial engineering sophomore, spent a day at the labs of automotive supplier Continental USA. She said the experience gave her a better sense of the variety of jobs available to engineers. 

“Through the BOBCATshadow experience I was able to learn more about what an engineer can do once they reach the workforce,” she said. “I could tell the staff at Continental really have a passion for their work, and it really inspired me to pursue mine as I finish school."

Anderson said the program gives students an opportunity to expand their networks, along with securing internships and jobs. 

“Expanding their network to be able to have a base of professionals they can call upon to guide them over the course of their academic year and beyond is very valuable,” she said.

More shadow opportunities will be organized this year, likely during seasonal breaks rather than when school is in session. 

Anderson said the initial response from students nearly doubled her expectations. She said she hopes to expand BOBCATshadow to serve more students and add more industries and vocational fields. 

“We are open to every industry that represents any TXST degree program,” she said. “We are very excited to pilot this new initiative and think it is something our students will benefit from. Having the opportunity to see a job behind the scenes can truly impact a student’s career journey and planning to be successful as they prepare for graduation.” 

Erica Lane, a talent acquisition specialist for Sherwin-Williams, said her company’s participation has already been productive. 

“One student was so impacted by the experience that she is ready to apply to work for us and has already connected with us to network with some of the student organizations she is a part of,” she said. “This experience will have long-lasting effects on our company and is something we will 100% do again in the future.” 

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922