Alumnae & Students Network at Lynk Event
Making alum connections, for career and life.
Ask for the key ingredients of career development, and you are bound to hear “networking.” That’s something the students and alumnae who attended the Alumnae and Student Career Networking Fair at Mount Holyoke College on November 2 got to do plenty of throughout the afternoon. Organized by the Alumnae Association in collaboration with the Career Development Center (CDC), the event gave students the opportunity to get to know alumnae one-on-one as well as to learn about a range of career paths.
Students attended alumnae-led panels on “Education, Journalism, Media, and Communications,” “Global Business, Health, and Scientific Research,” “Law and Public Policy,” and “Nonprofits” as well as workshops on financial preparedness after college and using the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Association career network.
Maria Whelan ’14, who graduated last December and who now works as a publicity assistant at Simon & Schuster/Touchstone Books, said the mostly juniors and seniors she spoke with “were very relaxed and seemed very interested.” She called the atmosphere of the event “conversational.” Whelan encouraged students to make use of Mount Holyoke’s alumnae network as well as engage in as many informational interviews as possible, which was something that helped steer her.The networking fair fits nicely with the College’s Lynk initiative, according to Liz Lierman, director of the CDC. The Lynk is designed to get students to think about how to prepare themselves for potential careers within the context of a liberal arts education. And networking with alumnae helps provide advice and context for that self-reflection process.
Superintendent of the Greenfield, Massachusetts, public schools, Jordana Harper-Ewert ’03, said that coming back to the College for this event not only allowed her to share her experiences with younger people, but also gave her a chance to learn what they are thinking. “Connecting with students educates me about trends that are happening in teacher preparation,” she said, adding, “As an employer, I am always looking for dynamic, caring, articulate, and creative people, and there is no better place for that than Mount Holyoke College.”
What did students learn from the day? Jinyoung Park, a senior majoring in sociology, said she was surprised that all of the alums she spoke with had what she called “nonlinear career trajectories.” The take-away message: “Find out what is really important to me at this point in my life and just do it.” Bharati Manandhar, a senior majoring in economics, took away a similar lesson. “I learned to think long term about where I want to be in my life, rather than worrying about my first job out of college,” she said.
—By Eric Goldscheider
November 13, 2014