CHICKS Conference to give students professional advice, tricks of the trade

With graduation around the corner for seniors, many have set their sights on beginning their post-college careers. A new USC event, known as the CHICKS Conference, seeks to give students the perfect way to hatch into the professional world by prepping them with invaluable knowledge for the future.

Started by Tatiana Chin, Liana Miller and Venisha Pendergrass, as they approached their last semester of college, the CHICKS Conference hopes to counteract the thought “I wish I knew that years ago.” 

"The most important thing that people should know about CHICKS is that it was designed by students, for students, to fill the gap between what you learn in college and what you learn in the real world," Miller, a fourth-year public relations student, wrote in an email. "There are so many 'tricks of the trade' that are not directly taught in school but are vital to launching a career." 

Saturday, April 25 will host the one-day conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., where students will gather inside the Darla Moore School of Business to enrich their understanding of the professional world through a series of breakout sessions and networking. CHICKS2015 will be the first of the conferences held at the university.

"The biggest takeaway is that being a female young professional is extremely accessible; you just need the right toolbox," Miller wrote. "We want attendees to walk away with an action plan and feel empowered to build their own success, no matter where they’ve come from."

The session topics offered for the conference include resume and LinkedIn workshops, how to build your personal brand, securing internship opportunities, turning passions into real projects and Greek Life for your career.

A number of prominent speakers will also be in attendance, including Cayce Mayor Elise Partin, Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine, founder of Crowing Lupus Jade Nealious, USC Residence Life Coordinator Megan Denny, former USC student body president Lindsay Richardson, executive chair for Relay for Life Abby Davis, IT-oLogy Promote IT Director Jamesetta James and style blogger Raven Ellis of

The sessions will give students a chance to learn about the topics and teach them how to implement this advice into their every day lives.

"Our speakers are a mix of professionals and students," Miller wrote. "We want students to be encouraged by their peers and see that being successful is accessible and realistic."

Although the conference is more directed toward women, CHICKS is willing to accept students of all genders, majors, ages and schools to join in their symposiums. It is also open to people from surrounding communities. According to Miller, of the 250 available spots, 105 have already been filled. 

Through the tools of professional development and empowerment that students will learn at the conference, CHICKS hopes to give students the opportunity to learn unique and tactical strategies to help them transition from classroom to workplace. And according to Miller, next year, CHICKS will become a USC organization.

"We want game-changing career advice to be accessible to all students, not just those who are hyper-ambitious go-getters," Miller wrote.

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