Sophomore Lexi Panepinto could have been home in Buffalo, NY, last Thursday, making the most of the final days of winter break. Instead, she and nearly 400 other sophomores joined 100 alumni on campus for the kickoff of SophoMORE Connections, the annual event that helps second-year students explore career opportunities through inspirational conversations with Colgate graduates, faculty, and staff.
Participants engaged with alumni at 14 different sessions that explored careers in a variety of fields. They also attended workshops on networking, interviewing, and using LinkedIn. More than 40 juniors and seniors were on hand to talk with underclassmen about their summer internship experiences and off-campus study trips.
“It was honestly so helpful and worthwhile,” said Panepinto. “All the sessions and panels were valuable in the sense of great information, advice, and connections, but they were also genuinely interesting and fun to listen to and engage in.”
Registration was up nearly 30 percent for the weekend-long program, proving that students are proactive when it comes to preparing for life after graduation.
“It is the result of our new strategy to work with students earlier in their Colgate careers,” said Associate Vice President and Director of Career Services Michael Sciola. “We saw the majority of the Class of 2016 during their first year on campus, so they were looking out for our program this winter.”
A squad of student interns helped to promote the event on social media, and Jillian Arnault ’10, alumni engagement coordinator in career services, led the event organization team.
The highlight of the weekend came on Friday, when Lisa Hillenbrand ’79, P’16, director of global marketing at Procter & Gamble, spoke to undergraduates. Hillenbrand leads marketing efforts for one of the world’s most recognizable brands — the company that brings us Olay, Cover Girl, Vicks, and much more. Check out these 10 key points from her keynote address.
Noting the number of alumni who left busy lives to attend SophoMORE Connections, President Jeffrey Herbst said, “That they have come back here this weekend is testament to their commitment to the institution and to you. What you hear today and the resources available through career services and the alumni network — these are all for you, and you should take advantage of them in order to complement a wonderful liberal arts education.”