University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

Lauren Opgenorth

Prepares Students for Life After College

By Diane Ver Steeg Anderson

Lauren OpgenorthPhoto by Lillian InsalataLauren Opgenorth

Whether she’s assisting with résumés, cover letters or internship opportunities, Lauren Opgenorth prepares USC students for life after college.

“I help students with anything from interview prep to figuring out how internships transition into full-time positions to anticipating what will it be like outside USC once they graduate,” said Opgenorth, assistant director of internships and special programs for the USC Career Center.

Opgenorth works primarily with students, but also meets with employers to set up internship opportunities and promote USC students. She assists with the first-generation college student mentor program as well as Internship Week and the Global Fellows international internship program.

“A lot of my job is student-focused, which is my favorite part,” she said. “USC has such great students that it makes the job that much more entertaining.”

Opgenorth teaches students about the recruitment process “so they can take ownership of their career plans.”

“Students must learn to clearly articulate what they can contribute and why they appear to be a good fit for the organization,” she said. “By showcasing their talents, they can demonstrate their value to potential employers.”

She also tells students that it is never too soon to look for an internship: “If you can get an internship every summer and maybe once or twice during the academic year, you are going to be that much more prepared and know what you want to do rather than wasting time after you graduate.”

Although Opgenorth didn’t start out working in the education field, she knew she would end up there. After earning her Bachelor of Science in business administration with a minor in marketing from Pepperdine University, she spent a year and a half doing sales and marketing for an international entertainment gaming company. She appreciated the experience but “felt like a machine going through the motions.”

“I started thinking this is a great opportunity to transition into education,” said Opgenorth,.“I knew about the Trojan Family and the traditions of USC, and I just started applying to all sorts of positions.”

Opgenorth started working at USC in December 2005, when she was hired as the internship adviser at what was then the Career Planning and Placement Center. She earned a master’s degree in postsecondary administration and student affairs from the Rossier School of Education in 2009, and will complete the final requirements for her doctorate in education this summer.

“Lauren is a tremendous asset to the entire USC community,” said Carl Martellino, associate dean for Student Affairs and executive director for the USC Career Center. “She cares deeply about the success of the students that she serves and has great passion for the USC family.”