Work shadow program
Through this program, Longwood students are matched to spend a day with a Lancer alum working in a field and town of interest to the student.
“The program gives a quick insight on what it’s like to be in a professional environment,” says Teresa Dodson, assistant director employer engagement and internship services at Longwood. “It’s structured so that students can get a real-world glimpse into what their intended career path could look like. And having a one-day introduction can be less intimidating than an internship for students.”
Host and student both benefit
Carolyn Zonts ’19 says that she feels very grateful to have had the opportunity to shadow Erica Howell ’09 in her work as donor communications manager at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Not only did Zonts enjoy learning about the work that Howell does, she appreciated the networking opportunity. “This gave me the opportunity to see what’s out there, both with jobs and also with Longwood alumni,” says Zonts. “Building up connections with alumni in the Hampton Roads area was a great benefit of this incredibly important program.”
Howell agrees and says that she wishes a similar program had been in place during her time at Longwood. “I hope that the day with me helped opened Carolyn’s eyes to some other career possibilities, such as my field of philanthropy,” says Howell. “Hosting a student is a good way to stay connected not just to Longwood but to students who are going to be young alumni. It’s important to stay connected with alumni from different generations.”
Tom Bailey ‘84, president People Solutions, Inc., a recruiting and staffing company, hosted two students this year and one last year. “Our intention is to provide students with an overview of what a recruiting and staffing business is and the opportunity to spend a day in our shoes to see if it’s something they may be interested in doing,” he says.
Bailey sees the work shadow program as a chance to meet some great students and also an opportunity for the company to look at potential future hires. “It’s a good program in terms of giving students the chance to come out and spend some time in a company and see what the work is all about,” he says. “It gives companies an opportunity to spend a full day with a student and see if they might be a good fit for the company.” He encourages other alumni to host current Lancers. “Give it a try - I think you will be impressed with the students you meet,” he says.
Sometimes a bad fit is the best lesson
While Daniel Janousek ’19 is grateful to have spent a day in the company of Brian McCullough ‘08, a financial advisor with MassMutual Commonwealth, his experience helped him realize that financial services wasn’t the right move for him immediately after graduation. Instead, Janousek—who earned a BS in economics, specializing in business economics—decided to pursue his interest in data analytics.
Prior to doing the work shadow program, Janousek had received an offer from a different financial services firm. “I’m glad that I didn’t rush and accept that offer before doing the work shadow day,” he says. “I still have a great relationship with MassMutual and I’m really thankful to Mr. McCullough for taking the time to have me attend different meetings and drive me around so I could see what a financial advisor does all day.”
“Longwood is a relatively small school but I don’t think people realize how many alumni are out there and what a great resource and connection they are,” adds Janousek.
Paging Longwood students
The program, which has been met with positive feedback from hosts and students alike, will be tweaked slightly based on input from participants. An additional week of hosting dates will be added, including some before the December holidays.
If you’d like to share your day with a Longwood alum during the next work shadow day, reach out to Teresa Dodson at email@example.com or 434-395-2445 for more details.