More than 250 gathered to strengthen connections and learn about various careers
Networking is one of the most important skills college students will learn, and Lafayette alumni answer the call each year to help them make connections and explore different careers. This January, the offices of Career Services and Alumni Affairs sponsored the fourth annual Philadelphia Networking Night and fifth annual New York Networking Night.
Ed McNally ’65, who attended the New York event, says that networking is invaluable and allows students to talk to professionals who are truly interested in sharing their experiences and offering opportunities.
“These events give students the opportunity to meet alumni who work in different fields and to ask real-world questions,” he says. “Of equal importance, it is an opportunity to expand their networks with alumni who may be able to help them with job searches, finding internships, and mentoring. Many of the interns my firm, Grammer and Co., has hired were students that I met at networking events.”
That’s exactly what happened for psychology major Daryn Carp ’10 (Montclair, N.J.), who first attended the New York Networking Night as a sophomore and landed an internship with CNBC. She also learned about the NBC Page Program, which she will begin working for this June.
“Lafayette alumni are truly amazing and willing to help,” she says. “It’s an event I would encourage everyone to attend, no matter what career path they are on. I have been to two networking nights and the best advice I received was to always make a great first impression and network as much as possible.”
Alumni are eager to help current students, a message Alumni Council president-elect and Trustee Pamela Gaary Holran ’88 emphasized when she welcomed students and alumni in Philadelphia.
“The connection between alumni and students seems so natural when the conversation is about careers and opportunities,” she says. “Alumni have insight and perspective from experience on career paths and choices that they easily and willingly share with students. As I said to the students in Philadelphia, ‘Don’t be nervous; you’re among friends.’”
Mathematics-economics major Hannah Klein ’11 (Wilmington, Del.) met an alumna in Philadelphia who works in development at Swarthmore College. She learned to keep her options open.
“She found her job through working in the fundraising department at a hospital she had volunteered with for years,” says Klein, who plans to work for a year at the nonprofit City Year in Philadelphia before attending graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in philanthropy or public policy. “She told me about a job that I had never considered before, and she got there in a way I didn’t know about.”
Networking events aren’t only about career opportunities. They are essential in establishing a bridge for students who will soon find themselves in a position to reach out to younger generations of Lafayette students.
“This type of thing is among the most important work of the Alumni Association–to create synergies and opportunities to get to know and help one another,” says Alumni Council president Paul McCurdy ’82, who offered the welcome at the New York event. “It is important for our students and alumni to get to know one another and look for ways to communicate and help one another.”
“From a life-long perspective, the most beneficial aspect for students is the reinforcement that they are part of the larger Lafayette community, and this larger community supports their efforts,” she says.