Thanks to contributions from two Arts & Sciences alumni, more students than ever before were able to attend networking events over winter break in New York City and Washington, D.C.
The events, sponsored by the Arts & Sciences Career Connections Committee (ASCCC), offered students the chance to explore careers in finance, healthcare, government and policy, law and media.
“The events were a great way to meet Cornell alumni who are very enthusiastic about wanting to give back and pay it forward,” said Shawn Haq ’20, a government major with a minor in international relations who went to four events. “ I made some meaningful connections with people who are leaders in the career fields that I want to go into.”
This year’s events were grouped together during one week in early January so that students could attend more than one event. This year, there were 158 attendees at the events, compared to last year’s 86, an 84 percent increase. The new travel funding was provided to students as a grant that covered the cost of transportation and lodging, reducing their financial burden.
“At 20, you usually can’t say for sure what you are going to do for a career,” said Jonathan Goodman ’93, one of the alumni donors to the travel fund. “The more that students learn about different fields and hear from alumni role models in different industries, the more informed they can be about where their career passion may lie.”
Goodman was also a panelist at the finance event.
“The quality of the students' questions was excellent and allowed the session to really evolve into a tips and tactics discussion to help students get jobs,” he said.
Carl Contiguglia ’89, who established the challenge grant for the fund which Goodman matched, said he realizes many students lack the funds to explore career opportunities in a meaningful way, either through networking experiences like these or summer jobs or internships that may be low-paying. As chairman of the ASCCC, he attended three of the events.
“We have been encouraging students to sample what a career in a variety of disciplines they’ve been exposed to might look like,” he said. “So, for example, we tried to make sure that the media program highlighted a broad spectrum of opportunities beyond working for a global broadcasting network and the finance session went beyond being an investment banker.”
One important message panelists imparted to the students was that their career paths would not be straight lines, Contiguglia said.
“They explained that it was a journey that started initially in one particular discipline after college, but then they experientially continued in various directions,” he said. “The message was that you don’t have to rifle shot your career coming out of a school like Cornell.
“The preparation you get here gives you an excellent start into the workforce, where you’ll be able to tack based on the winds of the marketplace and your own intellectual curiosity.”