Colgate University Career Services Hosts SophoMORE Connections 2024

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More than 500 second-year students and 85 alumni gathered for Career Services’ annual SophoMORE Connections program, Jan. 19 to 20. This two-day networking conference marked both the 12th year of the tradition and a turning point for students as they approach the halfway point in Career Services’ four-year career development plan

“Each year, the program looks slightly different,” says Milone Family AVP for Career Initiatives Teresa Olsen. “The needs and interests of incoming sophomores change.”

But the program’s main purpose remains: to support career development elements such as industry exploration, internship search skills, interviewing, and networking. 

“Students have a chance to learn from alumni, but also a chance to try to put some of these skills into practice,” says Olsen.

Industry-themed panels and small-group networking sessions comprised the bulk of the conference, where students such as Jeff Arigo ’26 found their community. Post-graduation, Arigo plans to pursue a career in pediatric medicine and wants to head straight to medical school.

“I opted to attend the health-related programs on the schedule, and they were excellent,” Arigo said. “During the health care panel, I was actually able to connect with a doctor from my hometown and coordinate a shadowing opportunity.”

When you bet on yourself, you’re making a statement to the universe that you’re willing to embrace the unknown.”

Courtney Richardson ’08 SophoMORE Connections Keynote

Alongside panels, the program featured a keynote speech. This year’s keynote was delivered by Courtney Richardson ’08, an award-winning creative director at Droga5. Richardson leads creative direction for brands including Amazon Music, Hennessy, Chase Sapphire, and others. She is also the founder and CEO of the Museum of Nail Art, set to open this year. 

“Sophomores, think about the moments in history that have defined greatness,” Richardson said. “The individuals who dared to dream big and take risks, from groundbreaking entrepreneurs to revolutionary thinkers, all had one thing in common: the audacity to believe in themselves when no one else did. When you bet on yourself, you’re making a statement to the universe that you’re willing to embrace the unknown.”

SophoMORE Connections — with its alumni panels and skills workshops — reaches these students at a critical time. “SophoMORE Connections is geared specifically to support career development elements in which it is so important for sophomores to engage,” says Olsen. “And altogether, it’s exciting to see students respond so positively to the four-year career development plan.”