Students meet professionals in their field of study
Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter
Students flocked to the Wintergreen building quad on Oct. 7 to meet face-to-face with professionals in their field of study. The bonus? All of the professionals were alumni of Southern Connecticut State University.
Michelle Rocheford Johnston, director of Alumni Relations, spearheaded the sixth annual Alumni Professionals Day, an event for students to meet and network with alumni currently employed in their major fields of study. The panelists varied in spectrum from employees of ESPN to Registers Nurses.
“We had rain this year,” said Johnston, “the first time slot we were supposed to hold the event. So, some professionals had to pull out.”
The smaller turnout did not dampen Johnston’s spirits though. She believes that the event is still an important one to hold.
Johnston said, “If the event brought even just one meaningful connection to a student, then it is worth it, regardless of the turnout.”
The Office of Alumni Relations believes in an “A to G” system for students. Johnston said, “We work with students from admissions to after graduation. The Office of Alumni Relations help set a student up with a mentor or steer them in the direction of an internship.”
Bonnie Farley-Lucas, director of Faculty Development, professor, and Alumni of SCSU, served as one of the panelists at the event.
“There are definitely needs being serviced with events like this one. Students have an easier time asking alumni questions, because there is a connections there.” said Farley-Lucas.
Farley-Lucas said events like Alumni Professionals Day not only help the students, but provide a service for alum as well.
“Alumni always want to give back to Southern’s community. The laid back setting of this event also allows us to do some networking of our own. I get to meet other professionals, and i get to reconnect with my past students.” said Farley-Lucas.
Farley-Lucas also suggests this event to her Communications students. She cites one example of a student attending the event, meeting with a financial advisor, and changing their major.
Farley-Lucas said, “This could be really life changing for some students. It is a great event.”
More than just nurses and professors, the event also saw participants from unlikely job fields.
Benjamin Komola, class of 2011, is a furniture builder for a New Haven based company called City Bench. City Bench relocates fallen trees from cities like New York and New Haven and creates furniture using them. He also takes private commissions through the company to make furniture mementos using historic trees, or trees that a client wants to keep in their family. Komola started out as an apprentice to the builder, but then took over when the builder left the company.
“I did not pay attention to stuff like this when I was a student. I had my tunnel vision on trying to do my day to day student stuff. But I wish I had paid attention. Events like these are great,” said Komola.
“Just to be able to see the success stories that come out of SCSU is inspiring,” said Komola. “But, the best part about this event is you ask someone currently working in your choice field about their day to day life. It is one thing to want to be, for instance a nurse, but to actually hear what it is like first hand is a different story.”
Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor