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Speed Networking with Alumni 

Photo by: Sharifa Small

By: Sharifa Small, Lion’s Eye Staff Writer, sns161@psu.edu

One way for college students to learn about what the real world has to offer is to network and connect with alumni.

Penn State Brandywine’s Career Services collaborated with the Student Government Association, Blue and White Society and University Relations to host the annual Speed Networking with Alumni event on February 24.

The purpose of the event was for students to get a better understanding of and experience with networking. By practicing networking, students may feel more comfortable when engaging in two-way dialogue.

Olivia Shiner, a junior business management major and the President of S.G.A., was one of the many people who made the event a success.

“This event offers an excellent opportunity to make contact with people from Penn State and within the local area,” Shiner said. “Because of the past speed networking events, I have met many alumni. Plus, I know at least three people and myself who have worked with alumni after the event.”

Shiner believes networking is essential and once students start talking to people, they will realize what they have in common and how others can help in a job search.

How it worked

The networking event took place in the Tomezsko Lounge during common hour.  The lounge was staged as a coffee house; refreshments, lunch and music were available. There were 27 students and 14 alumni in attendance. Each alum was assigned to a numbered table and each student received a number upon arrival, which placed them as a group.

The group consisted of one alumni and two to three students. For the first half of the event, and at the sound of a bell, participants were able to take turns asking questions and delivering their elevator pitches. Each session was timed, so students rotated to the a new alum’s table every four minutes.

Photo by: Sharifa Small

Photo by: Sharifa Small

Observing the success of the event, and one of the many people in charge was Christine Allen, the Career Services Coordinator.

“Feedback from both students and alumni was very positive,” Allen said.  “Students were primarily from two Internship Prep classes, (BA 420 and CNED 280) but student leaders opened the event to all students. Many connections were made for potential opportunities and students are better prepared and more confident as they prepare for Career Days on March 1st and March 24th.”

Denita Wright Watson, Penn State Great Valley’s Academic Program Manager, said she loves participating and been to several of these events.

“I think it was a great event,” Watson said.  “The students were very well prepared, and they asked thoughtful and insightful questions and were very receptive to receiving advice. One thing that stood out to me was the way in which the students traveled in pairs to each station. I think it allowed them to offer support to each other. What I noticed in some of the groupings is that one person might have been nervous. However, the person they were paired with was very reassuring in making the person feel more comfortable by nodding and smiling.”

Virginia Harrison, Penn State Brandywine Assistant Director of Development and Blue and White Society Adviser, said she enjoyed seeing Penn Staters connect.

“The Speed Networking event at Brandywine was an excellent opportunity for alumni to be mentors,” Harrison said.  “It also gave them a chance to come back to campus and remember their time here.

Career Day will be held March 1 and 24; March Madness/Resumania will be held on March 21 and 22 to help students prepare. For more information or a list of all the events, visit www.bw.psu.edu/acs-events-fairs, or stop by Career Services located in 104 Main Building.

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