The first Alumni Hounds Day brought eight alumni back to campus to share with students their experiences and pathways to success in the business world. Students also benefited from the hands-on experience of planning and coordinating the program as part of a class assignment.
Katie Desiderio, assistant professor of management, had her human resource management class partner with Julia Gasdaska in Institutional Advancement as well as Amy Saul in the career center in order to come up with a program to help them not only connect to alumni, but to also put their freshly learned skills to use.
The students from the human resource class were broken up into teams, headed by a project manager, and were set off to plan the event. The day was broken up into two discussion panel sessions, each featuring four of the eight selected alums, and then a networking lunch with all of the alums and President Bryon Grigsby ’90.
"My class got to see what goes into an event from start to finish," Desiderio said. "They did everything from assigning parking passes to reaching out to each alum with an itinerary for the day."
The alums arrived on campus in the morning and were able to spend the entire day leading up to Coffee and Connections with the students. This was a great way for students and alum to connect with one another and to network.
The first panel consisted of Pete Bilinksy ’00, vice president of human resources at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia; Margan Sztuk Mulvaney ’82, executive director of human resources at Merck Animal Health in New Jersey; Hakim Myers ’09, account executive and recruiter at Mimeo in New York; and Laura Queen ’96, vice president of Human Resources at G&W Laboratories in New Jersey.
The afternoon alumni panel consisted of Liz Benotti ’71, a chief director at Massachusetts Division of Banks in Boston; then Emma Grigore ’08, associate director in human resources at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Dave Nocek ’98, senior vice president and chief human resource officer at Solenis in Delaware; and Ray Reimer, vice president and chief actuary at Travelers in Connecticut.
"Students owned the event and that was the coolest part about Alumni Hounds Day," Desiderio said. "It was a great opportunity for them to connect human resource theory to real life and see that the things they learned in the classroom, like motivation theory and research style, can be applied in the real world."
The event proved to be a success as Desiderio pointed out that several alums had been in contact asking for the names of students who had participated for internship opportunities and job shadowing. With the panel discussions being open to the human resource class as well as students from economics and the business department, it was a perfect opportunity for them to see how to apply the theories learned in class to the real world.
"The liberal arts education prepares you to go out into the world of work and do anything. You come out with the skills to be a good writer and thinker, and you have critical skills that can't be taught in a quick training," said Desiderio.
Desiderio also said that this was an opportunity for students to see that they are going to encounter hiccups in life, but that rather than viewing them as problems, they should see them as opportunities to think outside of the box and come up with a solution.
"Alumni Hounds Day brought students, faculty, and alumni together," Desiderio said. "It is such a great celebration of community partnership."
By: Alyssa D'Ippolito’15