Three California State University, Northridge students were recently honored as winners of an online portfolio challenge to showcase their academic, professional and extracurricular work.
CSUN launched Portfolium, an electronic, collaborative eportfolio system for students and alumni in September 2014, joining more than 2,000 universities using the product.
More than 500 CSUN students submitted their profiles to the Portfolium Fall Challenge. A committee of CSUN students and staff evaluated the entries of participants on the completeness of their profiles and the quality of their entries.
Scott Judge, a senior in mechanical engineering, won first prize and $300 cash in the Portfolium Fall Challenge. Judge worked as a biomedical research assistant for the Attract Inspire Mentor Support Students (AIMS^2) Program, served as president of CSUN’s student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and as director of corporate relations for the student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He used Portfolium to showcase his own work, as well as to benefit others.
“I have spent some time using the job search function in Portfolium to find internship opportunities for club members,” he said. “I found multiple internship opportunities I shared on our club’s Facebook page.”
Ben Villalobos, a junior majoring in computer science scored $200 for second place in the competition. He said he uses Portfolium as a networking opportunity and connects to companies and people with common interests.
“Portfolium actually helped me land a job at CSUN, developing IOS apps for faculty and students,” the junior said.
Nutrition and dietetics graduate student Alexandria Pack was one of the Portfolium Challenge winners, scoring third place and a $100 cash prize.
“I use Portfolium to showcase my work, projects, volunteer experiences and professional experiences,” Pack said. “I also network with companies that may not normally see my work. Portfolium is an incredible way to show not only my accomplishments, but also my personality. It is more than just a resume — it is a living and personalized resume.”
Hilary Baker, vice president of information technology and chief information officer, acknowledged the new tool.
“We are so pleased to be able to bring Portfolium to CSUN,” Baker said. “The service provides a powerful way to help our students succeed, not only at CSUN, but beyond in their careers.”
Students can benefit from Portfolium’s networking possibilities and the interactive design, said Mayra Solano, CSUN director of IT communications. She added that one way for instructors to incorporate Portfolium into their curriculum is to encourage students to upload their class projects.
“Suppose you’re using portals like LinkedIn — you can share that you’re a student at CSUN, but Portfolium allows you to actually showcase your best presentations, writing samples, internships, volunteer work, or anything else that you would normally just list as part of your resume,” Solano said. “It’s an interactive and fun tool compared to LinkedIn. LinkedIn lets you link to different items, but it won’t necessarily allow you to share them digitally like Portfolium does.”
So far, 26 percent of CSUN students have logged in to the service, a number that CSUN hopes will continue to grow.
Major companies such as Disney, Google and Microsoft actively look for interns utilizing Portfolium.
“These companies have realized the hotbed of talent that exists in college students and new grads, and they are eager to reach them through a professional platform,” said Deone Zell, associate vice president of academic technology.
Portfolium will launch more challenges during the spring semester, covering a variety of different themes, Baker said. The themes will be based on a student’s college, career or community — and ideally, will motivate more students to use Portfolium, she said.
“All of our students are very creative and innovative, and they should really share what they’re doing,” Solano said. “Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, we really want all of our students to begin to document all of the amazing work they’re doing at CSUN.”