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Students pose with a Pistol Pete sign at an Eastin Center event at the Spears School of Business.

A decade of impact: Celebrating 10 years of student success at the Eastin Center

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Media Contact: Stephen Howard | Manager of Communications | 405-744-4363 |

A decade ago, an audacious vision took root inside the Spears School of Business.

A new center came online with a goal of not only preparing students for job interviews, but also equipping them with the tools and mindset for lifelong success in the ever-evolving realm of the professional world.

The Eastin Center for Career Readiness has spent the last 10 years mentoring thousands of students in one-on-one coaching appointments, resume reviews, career fairs and other career-focused events. The Eastin Center also stands as a testament to the philanthropic spirit and the belief in shaping the future of students, fostering growth, continuous learning and professional evolution.

“The Eastin Center for Career Readiness is a haven where aspirations are nurtured into achievements, where dreams take tangible form and where uncertainty gives way to resolute confidence,” Eastin Center Director Robin Darmon said. “This ambitious experiment has blossomed into a revered institution within Spears Business and across the Oklahoma State University campus.” 

From 2020-23 alone, the Eastin Center’s impact on Spears students has been felt far and wide:

  • Reviewing the résumés of 5,265 students.
  • Hosting more than 3,647 one-on-one coaching appointments.
  • Conducting 2,040 mock interviews with students.
  • Watching as 4,934 business students attended an OSU career fair.
  • Nearly 1,800 students completed one-on-one appointments in fall 2022 and spring 2023. Over 91% reported feeling more confident in their career path following the session.

“The Eastin Center has impacted my career trajectory in almost every aspect,” said Maxwell Rauner, a senior majoring in management information systems. “The career coaches supplied me with all the tools I needed to get my foot in the door and secure that first interview as well as the confidence and insight needed to interview well and land the second interview.

"Overall, once I let myself take full advantage of the tools the Eastin Center offers, I was able to get an amazing internship which led me to accept a phenomenal full-time job when I graduate this May. If you truly put yourself out there and take advantage of the Eastin Center’s amazing coaches and programs, you will instantly be worth more to employers.”

The original idea for the center came from Spears Business alumnus Joe Eastin, the founder of web-based contractor and management system supplier ISN, and was known as the Eastin Center for Talent Development. Eastin knew that OSU students were every bit as smart as their peers at other schools, but he wanted to find a way to help the university’s alumni stand out in terms of their professional demeanor and preparedness. His initial gift got the ball rolling for the center, and his leadership as the chair of its advisory board has helped the center evolve into its current form. That evolutionary process is one of the key features of the center, which heavily involves its alumni board and businesses across the region to guide its approach.

“We want to do something slightly different here at the Spears School of Business,” Eastin said at the Eastin Center Kickoff event. “In no way is the Eastin Center trying to replace the core technical skills that are required in business today; it is to be in conjunction with what you’ve learned at Oklahoma State. Without having both — the technical skills and the soft skills — you’re truly limiting your ability to expand your career potential.”

Dr. Abbey Davis became the director of the Eastin Center in 2018, and under her leadership, many of the core services provided by the center became part of the curriculum for Spears Business and a graduation requirement for all business students. The program combined career-readiness courses (BADM 2111 and BADM 3111) with one-on-one coaching from Eastin Center professionals to help each student network with employers, refine their communication skills and create career goals that align with their major, interests and strengths.

Since the fall of 2018, a total of 20,159 Spears Business students have taken BADM 2111 (Career Planning for Business Success) and/or BADM 3111 (Professional Development for Business Success) to assist in their career preparation skills.

“We know that to develop new skills and to develop confidence, you have to do the thing,” Davis said. “I can't tell you how to be good in an interview. I can't tell you how to write a good resume, we have to do it together. And so that's what we do, and we do it in a way that forces students to really develop that muscle. And what I love is at the end of every semester, I'll have a student come up to me and say, ‘Abbey, I got an internship because you made me apply for one.’ I love hearing that.”

Over the coming months, the Spears School of Business will be celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Eastin Center with a series of video interviews with students who have had their trajectories changed by the center, as well as employers who now seek out Spears Business students because of the Eastin edge. People will hear directly from the experts about what makes the Eastin Center one of the premier preparedness programs in the country.

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