It’s just another day at the office for Longwood students who participate in the new work shadow program run by Alumni and Career Services.
The program, which happened for the second time in January 2019, pairs juniors and seniors with an alum who works near their hometown and whose career area matches their interests. The student then spends a day with the alum at work.
“The goal is to connect our alumni with our students to give our students a taste of what the professional environment is like as well as to provide networking opportunities for our future alumni,” said Teresa Dodson, assistant director of employer engagement and internship services.
Work shadow locations included the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the office of the State Inspector General, MassMutual Commonwealth, the Myers & Stauffer CPA firm and Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA. Shadowing takes place during the first week in January, when students are on winter break. Seventeen students participated this year.
'The goal is to connect our alumni with our students to give our students a taste of what the professional environment is like as well as to provide networking opportunities for our future alumni.'TERESA DODSON, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT AND INTERNSHIP SERVICES
“We have gotten a lot of positive feedback,” Dodson said. “Students enjoyed the experience, and alumni felt they were making a difference, with the added benefit of learning from the students about how the university has grown and changed. The important thing is that our students are connecting with someone in the professional world who can help them.
“Some of the alumni have gone above and beyond the program and have set up biweekly meetings with their students where they can talk and the alum can provide guidance. We’re trying to create an ongoing connection that grows over time.”
Dodson’s office sent out an interest email to alumni last September asking about their career areas and their willingness to spend a workday with a student. In October, they emailed juniors and seniors with at least a 3.2 GPA asking them to sign up for the program. Finally, in November, the matches were made and the students met one-on-one with a career counselor to learn networking skills and get them “connection-ready.” Hoping that the program grows in popularity, Dodson would like to make 35-50 matches next year.
“The program gives alumni a sense of pride and is a way for them to give back—not with a monetary gift but with a gift of their time and talent,” she said.
If you’d like to volunteer for next year’s program, contact Dodson at firstname.lastname@example.org.