Students network with professionals at Career Connections

The alumni office hosted “Career Connections: A Mentoring Night with Colonels” on Nov. 4, in the Henry Student Center Ballroom. Alumni discussed their career experience after graduating from Wilkes with students in attendance.

The purpose of the event was for students to make networking connections with successful alumni from their majors. Students in the past have received internships and job opportunities down the road from connections they had made with the mentors at this event.

The event had 25 alumni and over 70 students in attendance. During the event, students were also able to switch between tables to see how the skills they receive from their major can apply to different job fields.

Students were not restricted to only sit at tables related to their major, they were encouraged to explore other tables during the event.

“I never knew what I did at Wilkes here even existed until I met someone that mentored me and had that professional network. I think it’s important for students to learn about different jobs and careers because you don’t really know what’s out there until you just listen to some other people,” said Jacqueline Eovitch, manager of alumni relations and advancement special projects.

The event has been hosted by the alumni office for the past 10 years as “Connecting the Dots.” It was renamed this year in order to make it more fun and inviting for students who may have been too timid to attend in the past.

“I thought it was very beneficial to be able to talk to someone who has actually worked in my dream career of correctional psychology. She had so much insight and advice to offer me. My sights for the future seem brighter than ever,” said Shannon O’Connor, senior psychology, sociology and criminology triple major.

“She told about her job in a correctional facility and how much she loved it and how rewarding it can be,” O’Connor continued.

Certain majors, such as psychology and political science, required students to attend for their senior seminar classes. While many of the attendees were seniors, all majors and years were welcome to attend the event.

“You can be a freshman and have a really clear vision of what you want in your professional career, however, you can also get derailed during the course of your academic career,” Eovitch said.

“I think having a different knowledge base of different majors or different things you can do with any major is always important, from freshman to senior,” Eovitch continued.

The graduating years from alumni in attendance ranged from 1972 to as recent as 2018.

Allison Naumann, the current annual giving coordinator at Geisinger, Danville, received bachelor’s degrees in communication studies and business in 2013 and an MBA in 2017. She attended the event during her senior year.

“It’s interesting because you start reflecting on the things you’ve done since you’ve left here, career-wise, and how you can possibly give advice. I think being just a couple years out [is helpful], I can think of what my questions were and hopefully give that kind of spin to it,” she said.

Naumann continued, “Don’t be so focused on what you think your career is going to be. Don’t be so narrow-minded. You might miss out on a really good opportunity if you’re just looking for that one job you think is perfect for you.”

It is important to draw the distinction between “Career Connections: A Mentoring Night with Colonels,” and “Career Conversations,” a similar event organized by career services. Whereas the mentoring night focused on connecting with an alumni mentor, “Career Conversations” involves bringing someone to discuss their careers with students in a casual setting.

“That’s something you’re going to hear throughout your career, the importance of mentorship, learning from other people and not being afraid to go for advice from other people,” Naumann said.

Students who attended the mentoring night are also encouraged to attend those events hosted by career services.

“You just want to make sure you know all the possibilities for yourself you have as a student because now is the time to explore before you get settled into a job,” Eovitch said.

Any questions can be directed to the alumni office at 570-408-7787 or [email protected].