Digital Portfolio Leads to Career Success

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Kate Shaffer ’19 wasn’t 100 percent sold on the digital portfolio concept until her portfolio landed her a job.

“I was applying for a private caregiving job, and as part of the application process, I submitted my digital portfolio,” says Kate, a nursing major minoring in leadership studies and psychology.

“When I went for the interview, the client was very impressed after looking at my digital portfolio. It helped me stand out and certainly helped me get the job – and there were many applicants.”

A digital portfolio allows students to capture reflections on their learning, record milestone achievements, publish an education plan, and prepare a career plan. Built over the student’s four years at Dominican, the portfolio represents a student’s personal and academic journey that can be shared with prospective employers and graduate schools.

“Over the years, my portfolio has become really useful,” Kate says. “It is great to have everything in one place, so now when I go to apply for scholarships or jobs I don’t have to search through folders to find my resume, or my projects. Everything is centralized and I can easily share my work with many people.”

Digital portfolios are one of the key features of The Dominican Experience – the University’s distinctive model for student learning and success designed to ensure all students build close relationships with faculty, receive personalized coaching, develop meaningful relationships with community partners, pursue self-directed work, and create a digital record of their work.

Today, approximately 75% of all first-year and sophomore students at Dominican have a digital portfolio. Numbers are climbing for current juniors and seniors.

This year, thanks to a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, Dominican has named a team of 15 Faculty Portfolio Fellows and 15 Peer Portfolio Fellows. Together, the Fellows support students in creating and enhancing portfolios through one-on-one advising and class presentations, and they meet regularly to develop common assessment tools for evaluating portfolios. The Faculty Portfolio Fellows also provide professional development to faculty colleagues through campus workshops.

Digital portfolios are growing in popularity nationwide. A study conducted for the Association of American College and Universities  shows that 4 in 5 employers value a digital portfolio from prospective employees. A report by Catalyst for Learning revealed that 70% of college students nationally agreed that digital portfolios help them “make connections between ideas.”

Dominican’s Department of Nursing recently conducted an informal survey of 21 nurse managers, assistant nurse managers, and charge nurses with hiring responsibilities throughout the Bay Area to determine perceptions of value of digital portfolios. The majority responding agreed that a digital portfolio would help a candidate stand out by giving greater insight into the candidate’s experiences.

This is good news for Kate, who soon will begin her job and embark on her longer range goal of pursuing a Doctorate in Nursing Practice.

Her impressive portfolio of accomplishments will serve her well. Kate is now in her third year serving as a peer mentor – inspired to give back after valuing the support and guidance from both peer and faculty mentors during her own first year. Her clinical placements include Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, Aldersly Senior Living, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, UCSF Children's Hospital Oakland, Kaiser Vallejo Hospital, San Francisco Veterans Affairs, and Marin Pediatrics Associates.

This summer Kate participated in the nursing service program trip to Uganda. This is the second overseas experience for the honors student. In 2016 she traveled to Costa Rica for a sustainability immersion program.

The list continues. For more about Kate and her Dominican Experience, visit her digital portfolio.


  • LeeAnn Bartolini, Psychology
  • Kati Bell, Business
  • Kiowa Bower, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Debbie Daunt, Nursing
  • Matthew E. Davis, Literature and Languages
  • Perry Guevara, Literature and Languages
  • Randall Hall, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Karen McCarthy, Occupational Therapy
  • Cindy Pavlinac, Art, Design, and Visual Studies
  • Mairi Pileggi, Communications and Media Studies
  • Steven Polacco, Art, Design, and Visual Studies
  • Elizabeth Truesdell, Education


  • Zara Anwar '20
  • Mandeep Chahal '19
  • Amanda Cheng '20
  • Desarae Finck-Fugazi '20
  • Patricia Garcia '21
  • Patty Lopez-Chavez '20
  • Sylvia Luo '19
  • Julia McMahon '21
  • Matthew Nicolas '22
  • Jackie Ocaña '19
  • Chloe-Ann Shaw MBA
  • Marissa Vang '21
  • Tiffany Velasquez '20
  • Julia Zasso '21
  • Mayling Zito '21

The Dominican Experience

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The Dominican Experience allows you to work with a coach, complete a signature work, build a digital portfolio and engage with the community. What will your experience look like?

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