Talking face-to-face with an alum who is a nephrologist in Alabama or one who is a government consultant in Los Angeles wasn't often the case during the traditional, in-person, on-campus Alumni Career expos of the last few years. But that's precisely what happened recently when students received advice from alums located coast to coast via video conferencing during our school's first-ever digital career expo.
More than 40 students joined the two-and-a-half-hour Zoom session in May to hear from five different alums who work in the fields of medicine, media, marketing, government consulting, and apparel manufacturing and distribution. Along with the physician and consultant, the professional roster included a writer-editor, a global business development specialist, and the founding partner of a digital, mobile, and social marketing firm.
From career days to career expos, Gibbons has long been providing some type of in-person, on-campus platform for students to gain career advice from alumni. So, when COVID-19 and social distancing mandates forced the cancellation of this year’s expo, Gibbons moved online.
The digital career expo, like the traditional in-person ones of the past, was hosted by Gibbons Alumni and iCube (Innovative Crusaders Understanding Business and Entrepreneurship.) Students also served as iCube ambassadors. They helped moderate the session, which also included a question and answer segment after each speaker.
The speakers were in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Alabama, and North Carolina. As alums, they represented classes, spanning four decades - ’84, ’99, ’02, ’05 and ’10, noted Susan Leigh ’87, Associate Director of Alumni Advancement.
Student participants appreciated the expo. Lilian Linton ’22 said she participated because she finds it “valuable to learn from adults with experience, as they help guide students in their early career path.”
What did she learn? “A piece of career advice I gained,” Lilian noted, “was to follow your passions.”
“The event being virtual led to opportunities that weren’t present to students before,” she said. “It allowed Gibbons to be in contact with speakers around the U.S., which wouldn’t have been possible if we had the event in person.”
Brent Nolan ’05, iCube moderator, agreed. The hope going forward, he added, is to continue to connect students virtually to the amazing people in the Gibbons community who live all over the world.”
“Nothing, however, can replace having alums interact with our students in person,” he stressed. “So, we’re looking forward to getting back to packing our lobby with alumni during next year’s career expo.”