The Office of Development and Alumni Relations (ODAR) piloted a program called “Home for the Holidays” in December, which paired current Nicholas School students with alumni who live in their hometowns over the holiday break. The program aimed to bring together students and alumni for a casual, yet informative catch-up conversation where students could share experiences and updates about the school, and alumni could offer advice and guidance to students. The program received an impressive turnout for a pilot initiative, with 23 students connecting with an alum during their winter break.
Despite some alumni and students having dissimilar career interests, students were pleased with how the alumni were able to give them quality career and job search advice, and, in some cases, provide contact information for networking opportunities. Celeste Whitman, a 2nd year MEM student, shared her rewarding experience with the program, “My alumni and I had two completely different topic specializations – with him being forestry/land finance and me being water policy – but he gave me some really great tips for going ahead in my job search and he actually used to work in the area of the country I am looking for jobs in, so he is hoping to give me some networking connections.” Other students enjoyed making an alum connection in a less formal setting as opposed to structured networking events. As for the alumni, the general consensus seemed to be one of appreciation for having the dual opportunity to stay in-the-know about the school and offer guidance to students at the same time.
The Office of Development and Alumni Relations plans to continue the program in 2018 — stay tuned for more information later this year.