Colgate Career Services kicked off 2022 with its annual SophoMORE Connections program, January 21–22. This year marked the 10th anniversary of the nationally recognized program, designed for sophomores to explore career interests, develop professional skills to propel exploration, and build relationships with alumni.
Featured events, held in a hybrid format, included industry-specific panels and skill-building sessions focused on networking, conducting internship searches, and leveraging Colgate’s resources. Nearly 420 students and more than 100 alumni participated.
“It was exciting to meet Colgate alumni and listen to their stories about working in the industries of my interest,” says Tingkuan Hsieh ’24. “Panelist were passionate about the work they do and were clearly excited to share their experiences with us.”
Alumni represented 15 industries, from consulting and data science to marketing, law, and public policy. Participants included Divya Chopra ’99, head of global marketing and programs, small business economic opportunity at Meta; Sabrina Odierno ’20, business strategy analyst for the New York Yankees; and Rob Rollins ’92, senior director of oncology strategy and external evaluation at Pfizer.
“Despite the move to virtual panels, I have to say it was an incredibly enjoyable experience as alumni,” said Carly Weil ’10, chief of staff, American Express, who served on the business operations panel. “I am so amazed at the evolution of the program, with panels that expose students to so many different career possibilities.”
According to Teresa Olsen, assistant vice president for career initiatives, modern professional workplaces expect students to be able to thrive in both in-person and hybrid environments. “Learning how to connect authentically and appropriately in a digital space is a core 21st-century skill,” she says.
To acclimate sophomores to this professional reality, Career Services tapped Convers(ate), a company that sparks engaging virtual conversations, to facilitate a student-alumni virtual engagement session on Friday evening, with more than 280 students participating.
“The networking session was specifically designed to invite everyone to be their most human selves, learn about each other, and recognize the possibility and opportunity that is inherent in any relationship,” says Convers(ate) co-founder Taylor Buonocore-Guthrie ’08. Afterward, students attended an advanced networking workshop led by career advisers to understand how to use the office’s resources to identify and connect with alumni.
Following Colgate’s four-year career development plan, SophoMORE Connections is delivered at a time most advantageous to begin exploring careers. “It’s essential for sophomores to have the chance to explore nuances between career paths, practice telling their story in a professional environment, and learn skills necessary to advance summer internship searches,” notes Olsen. “We hope that students left SophoMORE Connections with an excitement to move forward.”