(Editor’s note: The following guest post is by Danielle Dillon ’18)

Colgate’s signature career event for second-year students, SophoMORE Connections, brought together more than 400 students and 90 alumni last week for two days of specialized networking and career exploration.

Keynote speaker Amy Dudley ’06, chief spokesperson for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, pointed to the value of building meaningful relationships. Dudley spoke to students about finding career allies – whether they be professors, staff members, or alumni. Throughout her expansive career, with roles including communications director for U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and deputy press secretary for former Vice President Joe Biden, Dudley found her allies to be essential. She encouraged students to start making these connections early in their college careers.

“Colgate alumni will not only help you, but move heaven and earth to help you,” Dudley emphasized.

The SophoMORE Connections program offered eighteen breakout career cluster sessions featuring alumni panelists grouped together by industry to share advice and insight. At one session, Leah Kovach ’13 spoke about her path to finding her dream job as marketing manager at IrisVR.

“Your first job may not be glamorous,” she said, “but it will give you the foundation for what comes next.”

“Find a reason to be passionate about something,” emphasized Daniel B. Hurwitz ’86, P’17, P’20, founder and CEO of Raider Hill Advisors, LLC, and chairman of Colgate’s Board of Trustees.

Wil Redmond ’08, who is now assistant school director at Memphis Scholars Caldwell-Guthrie Elementary School, expressed awe at meeting current Colgate students, and getting a sense of their passions and goals. “It is magical to be here again and to hear everything that everyone is doing,” Redmond said.

Elizabeth Wang ’20 was one of the many second-year students who connected with alumni like Redmond during the weekend, which was hosted by Colgate’s Center for Career Services. “It’s really exciting to see so many alumni that are passionate about what they do, and the diversity of their jobs,” Wang said.

Beyond creating connections and sharing advice, students were encouraged to think about their identity, and what makes them different in the workplace. Summed up by Dudley, Colgate students are multidimensional, and “you have no idea what part of your identity is going to be your spark.”

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