SPDC, GEC and Office of Alumni Engagement lean into Boldly Elon’s Connect theme and launch inaugural professional development program for alumni and students.
Boldly Elon’s third theme – connect – focuses on the Elon commitment to share stories and build lifelong partnerships with alumni through valuable networking opportunities, professional development and building connections between the university, students, and alumni.
Elon’s Office of Alumni Engagement, in collaboration with the Student Professional Development Center and the Global Education Center, offered an exciting inaugural professional development workshop for undergraduate students participating in the summer Elon in New York City program to set this theme in motion.
On Wednesday, July 13, 25 students and 15 alumni identified and invited by Rachaele Henderson ’14, assistant director of Alumni Professional Development and Engagement, gathered for a night of networking at WorkHouse NYC. During this two-hour event, students were invited to reflect on their time in the Elon in New York City program through a deepening workshop led by Danielle Golinski, associate director of Career Services.
At the start of the program, Golinski provided each student with time to channel their pitch and refreshed students on various networking skills. After this initial workshop, they were allowed to meet with alumni in various industries and backgrounds to put their skills to the test.
Alumni were able to connect with students through meaningful conversation throughout the night on various topics including career changes, living in the city, internship experience and more. With the help of Brooke Buffington, director of the SPDC, alumni were equipped with tools to help students practice their networking and interview skills in a series of breakout sessions.
The first breakout session consisted of time for students to sit down with alumni and practice their interviewing skills one-on-one. Alumni were able to provide students with tangible feedback in the moment to help as they advance in their professional development. The second breakout session opened the floor for networking practice. Students took to the room to show off the skills they had learned with alumni there to guide them and champion them.
Gabrielle Cifelli ’20 stated, “Although Elon was only four years on campus, it continues to be a part of my life through these types of events. I’m so grateful to have the opportunities to stay connected not just with the students and alumni but also the faculty who made such an impact on my life and helped me get to where I am today.”
The evening closed with closing reflections for the students and acknowledgements to our alumni. Light refreshments greeted the group as it led to open-ended networking.
In feedback provided by the students, one said, “This workshop helped me build my confidence and going forward I feel more comfortable making connections.” Overall, both students and alumni shared that they had a positive experience and found value in the experience. Each office looks forward to the continued partnership to advance this Boldly Elon theme.