Today: Feb 24, 2024

Students gain insight from professional alumni

Monica Szakacs, News Writer:

During the second annual Meet the Alumni event, Kianesha Holland, junior public health major, said students were acquainted with alumni who are well established, who have ventured out with various degrees and came back to share with the Southern community.

Holland said a lot of undergraduates who are soon graduating may be majoring in similar fields as the alumni. 

“With alumni,” said Holland, “you feel closer because they’re someone who actually graduated from this school, they know the ins and outs, they know what you’re going through and they are here to give back and hopefully their information will help, and you can apply it to the job you are trying to pursue.” 

Holland said her experience was wonderful. She said she talked to Shadia Goldstein, student services intern, and learned how to go about looking for internships, how to handle situations while interning and was able to receive a lot of positive feedback as well as resources to use. Holland said she asked Goldstein about her experiences while being a student at Southern, and about her process of graduating.

Greg Destefano, Southern class of ‘84, said he was happy to be a part of the event. He said it gives students an opportunity to meet and greet people who are now out in the working world.

“If you’re unsure of what you want to do,” said Destefano, “maybe you get a good cross reference of people here and get you on a career path.” 

Destefano is a certified public accountant (CPA) for the firm Konowit, Kahn & Company in North Haven. He is part owner and works as an auditor. Destefano said students should always network and show their face especially at events like this, because the alumni at the event have connections. 

Shani Small, junior psychology major, said the event gives students a broader understanding of other opportunities and other careers that might not be the major the student initially wanted to pursue.

“I got a lot of insight of what direction I should take my major in, and what is more marketable for me today as I go into my last two years,” said Small. 

Charlie Davison, secretary for the Office of Alumni Relations, directed students as they came through the doors. Davison said the event was planned months in advance. Michelle Johnston, director of Alumni Relations, has an e-mail bulletin that she sends out to all alumni of upcoming alumni events. 

“We wanted to bring together a diversity of professions of our alumni,” said Davison, “that were willing to come speak to existing students that don’t really know what the next step is.”

Davison said the e-mail blast asked the alumni who were interested to call the office and tell them what they majored in, how they applied it and what are they doing now. 

“It’s a mentoring program, but it’s very casual, just sit down and visit with someone,” said Davison. “It’s not a job interview; it’s just talking to somebody who is where you want to be.”

Christopher Buter, senior public health major, said it was interesting talking to graduates, and he said the event gave him an idea of where he wants to be in the next 10 to 20 years. 

“It allows students to evaluate their position,” said Buter, “if they are in the right track or right profession or not.” 

Buter said the alumni who attended were cooperative, patient and listened to what students had to say. He said the event should continue yearly, but the university should consider hosting a Meet the Alumni in August as well. 

“August is the formal time when people come into the institution, though you can choose any semester to begin, but August is the formal recognized one,” said Buter. “It would be nice to have this kind of chat before you decided what you want to do.” 

Fifty seven tables were set up in the Adanti Student Center ballroom, each reserved for an alumnus. There were[HOW MANY] absences. [HOW MANY] students attended during the time between 1 to 2 p.m. Alumni fields of specialties included arts, business, education, human services, journalism/television, law/public service and university admin. Along the side of the ballroom there were refreshments for everyone. 

“The second event is always better than the first,” said Davison. “It has a history and you can build on that history.”

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