McCowan is College’s new director of career resources

Thema McCowen

Thema McCowen

Thema McCowan has been named the new director of career resources at Maryville College. She joined the staff of the College’s Center for Calling & Career (CCC) on May 16.

Previously the director of career development at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens, McCowan was responsible for building that college’s Career Services program from the ground up.

McCowan is filling the director of placement position held by Lori Sliwa, who left the College in April.

According to Dr. Rusty Winchester, director of discernment in the CCC, the College decided to slightly alter the job title to emphasize relationship-building with off-campus constituents.

“In filling this position in the CCC, we were looking for someone who would bring expertise and ‘comfort’ related both to working directly with students on career-related skill-building and reaching out to and building relationships with businesses and other institutions as potential employers and internship sites for our students,” explained Winchester, who led the search for the successful candidate.

As director of career resources, McCowan will be expected to connect students and alumni to valuable experiential vocational opportunities and maintain a database of sustainable practicum and internship opportunities.

Her other duties will include advising, teaching, encouraging and supporting students, staff and alumni on issues related to career development, job searching and graduate school planning, as well as providing guidance for vocational exploration, reflection and practice.

McCowan earned a bachelor of science degree and a master of business administration degree from The Pennsylvania State University. As an undergraduate, she majored in biology, and following graduation, she went to work in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. From there, she segued into business and consulting.

Working on her M.B.A. from 2002 until 2004, she found her calling in career development while serving as the interim manager of the Smeal College of Business’ Corporate Associates Program. Managing employer relations at Smeal, McCowan promoted the College’s business students to recruiters and alumni at special events and college-sponsored events and established and enhanced networks with employers, acting as a liaison to students, alumni and employers.

Established in 2002 as a part of the College’s Lilly Endowment Inc.-funded Initiative on Vocation, the Center for Calling & Career provides assessment, counseling and placement services. Additionally, the CCC works year-round with employers to identify internship and full-time opportunities for students that open their eyes and minds to real-world situations and successes in their chosen field.

For more information, please contact the CCC at 865.981.8220 or email

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