SophoMORE Connections Spurs Early Career Conversations

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Colgate students are known for eagerly exploring their academic and career interests. Last weekend, Colgate encouraged their enthusiasm by hosting its annual SophoMORE Connections program, designed to connect second-year students with alumni, upperclassmen, staff, and faculty for career-focused conversations.

More than 400 undergraduates and 100 alumni attended the two-day program, which featured networking events, panels on the how-to’s of post-graduate success, and industry-specific breakout sessions.

The program was further bolstered by a keynote speech by Clarissa Shah ’10, a political science and Chinese double major who now works as a commercial sales attorney at Linkedin.

Shah’s journey to her current occupation was shaped by Career Services guidance throughout a 2007 internship with Illinois senator and future President of the United States Barack Obama. She encouraged audience members to use Colgate’s resources to explore their own prospective career paths.

“Trust me when I say that checking in with yourself, even once a month, to ask what you’re doing to prepare after Colgate is well worth it,” Shah said.

After gaining encouragement from alumni, Essie Baiden ’21 was excited to delve deeper into a potential career in the technology industry.

I learned about the different roles in tech, from product management and software engineering to development operations,” said Baiden. “It was particularly interesting to see the versatility of the industry from alumni and students’ experiences.”

This year’s SophoMORE Connections facilitated organic engagement between undergraduates and alumni — a critical first step, says Associate Director David Loveless.

“Employers and graduate schools continue to look for more polished candidates,” said Loveless. “As a result, it is crucial for our office to focus on early engagement, allowing students to create meaningful experiences earlier in their college careers. SophoMORE Connections aligns with this early engagement focus, while also creating a fun and welcoming environment where students, alumni, faculty, and staff can engage.”

Although SophoMORE Connections concluded on January 19,  students can continue to explore their interests by pursuing Career Services programs — including funding for summer internships and on-campus events —  throughout the year.