Michigan State University

Michigan State University wordmark Michigan State University masthead graphic

Meet Your Career Consultant

Karissa Chabot-Purchase, James Madison College Career Consultant

Bachelor of Arts in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy, James Madison College/Honors College, Michigan State University (2006)

Master of Arts in Critical Studies in Literacy and Pedagogy
College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University (2009)


Connect with Karissa on LinkedIn


Greetings! I’m Karissa Chabot-Purchase, the Career Consultant for James Madison College at Michigan State University. My main role at JMC is to assist students in exploring potential career paths, preparing for life beyond college, and making connections to put their career plans in motion.

A little bit about my background: I’m a proud James Madison alumna who understands the challenge of explaining and marketing a liberal arts degree—I have two myself! Before returning to JMC in my current role I spent six years in the Michigan House of Representatives. During that time I worked for five different legislators from diverse districts throughout the state—everywhere from the Upper Peninsula to Southeastern Michigan. My last position was as State Representative Andy Schor’s Legislative Director.

My husband Stephen (IR/PTCD ’06) and I live in Lansing with our son and in my spare time I stay active in the community through a number of volunteer endeavors.


Exactly what types of services do you offer?

I’m happy to assist with whatever career-related inquires you have. Most meetings are spent:

  • Reviewing the variety of resources available to every Spartan through the Career Services Network
  • Exploring career interests and options
  • Thinking about ways to acquire career-related experience and/or pursue professional development opportunities
  • Developing job search strategies and action plans
  • Assisting with professional document development (cover letters, resumes, LinkedIn profiles, portfolios) 
  • Discussing interview strategies and/or feedback
  • Reviewing job offers
  • Talking about the process of applying for graduate and/or law school

What does a typical meeting with you look like?

A typical appointment is scheduled ahead of time (you can schedule time with me online through Handshake).  Most appointments are in-person, but I'm happy to make arrangements for phone meetings, too.  Just ask!  

An initial appointment is usually around 30 minutes long. We’ll identify one or two things you’d like to talk about (see response to above question for examples of the types of topics we might cover), then talk in depth about those topics, oftentimes reviewing examples and resources that I can send along for your post-appointment perusal. Sometimes we’ll make plans for a follow-up meeting before you leave.

How do I schedule an appointment? 

(1) Visit and log in to Handshake

(2) Click ‘Request Appointment’ on the right-hand side of the screen; 

(3) Select the category/type of appointment you’d like to reserve; 

(4) Click on ‘Staff Member’ to view Karissa Chabot-Purchase’s available appointments; 

(5) Select a day/time that works with your schedule and enter details about the appointment in the “What can we help you with?” box; and

(6) Click ‘Request’ to finalize your request. 

Do I have to be a junior or senior to meet with you?

No! In fact, you should plan on stopping in to see me at least once per year while you’re here at MSU. This allows us collaborate on developing an individualized action plan that we can continually revisit and revise to ensure you’re doing everything necessary to bring you closer to your career-related goals.

What happens when I graduate?

Many students leave JMC with a full-time job offer or their graduate degree plans in place, but some don’t. I offer the same types of services detailed above to many recent graduates, so don’t be shy about reaching out if your career path isn’t unfolding as planned.

What can I do on my own to explore potential career paths I might pursue with my JMC degree?

There’s a number of things you can do on your own to explore your career-related interests. You might:

  • Join MSU’s ‘Spartan LINKS’ and James Madison College’s LinkedIn groups to explore what alumni are doing with their JMC degrees—and reach out to them to start building connections.
  • Add some of the Career Services Network’s ‘Career Exposure Series’ events to your calendar. These workshops (around 20-30 per year!) are designed to help you learn about career options by connecting you with alumni and professionals working in your areas of interest. Check out and RSVP for current Career Exposure offerings by logging onto Handshake. 
  • Consider joining a student organization, volunteering, or pursuing a part-time job related to your areas of interest. This doesn’t just offer you exposure to a potential career path—it helps you build your resume and skill set, too.
  • Take note of (and attend!) some of JMC’s signature career programming, including Alumni Pizza Night (fall) and Alumni Career Day (spring).
  • Talk with faculty members about their interests, research, and professional experiences to get a sense of what your degree could lead to.
  • Conduct informational interviews and do some job shadowing to learn more about potential paths.