“When you were my age, did you have any idea what you wanted to do after college?”
This question was posed by many of the nearly 450 second-year students seeking career advice from Colgate alumni at SophoMORE Connections, Jan. 17–18. The eighth annual event — hosted by Career Services, Institutional Advancement, the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Faculty, the Office of Sustainability, Sophomore Class Council, and University Events — encourages sophomores to think about their future careers through industry panels with alumni and skill-building sessions on networking and cover-letter writing.
This year’s event connected the Class of 2022 with 90 Colgate alumni on 16 different industry panels, such as sustainability, arts and creativity, technology, and more. Guests included Jennifer Levene Bruno ’94, vice president, group publishing director, and chief revenue officer at Hearst Magazines; Clarissa Shah ’10, managing counsel at LinkedIn and 2018 SophoMORE Connections keynote speaker; and Max Markusen ’12, an analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Jon Lopez ’06, who majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing, delivered this year’s keynote address. Now a sports photographer and cinematographer, he has worked with such brands as Nike, FIBA, the NBA, Jordan Brand, Red Bull, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the New York Knicks.
In his speech, Lopez encouraged sophomores to “create your own success.” He reflected on how the games of pickup basketball he played on the streets of New York City as a youth inspired his professional journey as a sports photographer. He emphasized the importance of rich extracurricular involvement, as these passions can be parlayed into a fulfilling career. In Lopez’s view, pursuing your passions and incorporating them into your professional life is essential. “Everything that you do, you should have pride in. When you submit that paper, when you are a part of a dance group, when you are a part of LASO or student government, take all of these roles seriously.”
Being surrounded by enthusiastic alumni who were willing to share their stories and career advice was invaluable to Liv Fitzgerald ’22. “SophoMORE Connections definitely eased my anxiety moving forward academically and networking-wise,” Fitzgerald said. “It was refreshing to be surrounded by so many Colgate alumni who were passionately sharing their experiences at the college level and beyond.”
Teresa Olsen, assistant vice president and director of Career Services, was “delighted by the energy students have brought to this weekend,” praising the Class of 2022’s motivation and excitement about their future careers, which was only bolstered by the program’s skill-building sessions and industry panels. “This program really helps students appreciate lifestyles and how personal identities enter the workplace,” Olsen said.
Members of the Class of 2022 walked away from SophoMORE Connections with advice for seeking internships, cover letter writing tips, and new networking connections with alumni. Career Services also provides opportunities for students to develop their professional skills outside of the SophoMORE Connections program, including résumé round-ups, summer funding, career advising, and more.
For more information on career services at Colgate, visit the website.