Career Champion May Spotlight Blog: Natalia Smirnova

Name: Dr. Natalia V. Smirnova (she/her)
School/College: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 
Department: Department of Economics
Title: Assistant Professor in Residence 
How long you have been a career champion and involvements if any (Career Champion Advisory Board or Faculty Subcommittee): 2 years on the Committee, 1 year on Faculty Subcommittee

The Career Champion Spotlight for May 2022 is Dr. Natalia V. Smirnova. Dr. Smirnova is an assistant professor in residence at the Stamford campus of UConn. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from UConn in 2004 and now teaches in the field of Economics, including courses like Principles of Microeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, and Financial Economics. She also teaches upper-level field courses in Economics. Her teaching approach is to focus on how economics is relevant to everyday decisions and to engage students in real-world applications and data-driven explorations.

Dr. Smirnova has been involved with the Career Champion Program for two years and has served as a member of the Faculty Subcommittee at the Center for Career Development for the past year. Dr. Smirnova was thrilled to join Career Champions based on her true commitment to incorporating career into her classroom. Professor Smirnova embodies how incorporating career into the classroom addresses the equity gap for her first-generation UConn Stamford economics students. She has incorporated a full range of opportunities including guest speakers, weaving career competencies into her class assignments, including having a special assignment on how to use big data for career search. She also uses resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get data on many occupations in order to provide students with meaningful career advice. She mainly interacts with students and gives them career advice through class discussions and career assignments and also holds advising appointments with students. A piece of advice that Dr. Smirnova would give to any student on their career development journey is to use all of the resources available to them at the UConn Center for Career Development.

When asked if being a Career Champion has impacted her approach to giving students career advice, Dr. Smirnova said that it has because she learned about more resources that are available to students at UConn. She is committed to experiential learning in the classroom and has consistently reached out to the Career Center’s Corporate Partner Relations team to help her make connections to employers who make this possible. Colleagues of Dr. Smirnova, who have worked with her through the Career Everywhere program, have commented that “she is a model for us to follow on how to leverage Career Champion Resources.” Dr. Smirnova has also worked with the Center for Career Development to present an event called “Working with the Career Center to get Employers & Alumni into the Classroom.” More about this event and the information that Dr. Smirnova shared can be found here.

Dr. Smirnova would share that the benefits of joining the Career Champion program are that when you become a Career Champion, you will join an interdisciplinary group of like-minded, career-oriented individuals, and you will get information about resources to share with students to help them on their career journey. If you are interested in becoming a Career Champion, click here to learn about the program and its benefits.

By Cecelia Lickteig
Cecelia Lickteig