When more than 80 alums volunteer to spend a day showing current Longwood students the ropes of their jobs—and when the places they work include Ernst & Young, NatGeo Studios and the British embassy in Washington, D.C.—you know you’ve got an amazing network of caring and generous alumni.
More than 100 Longwood students got an inside look at a variety of organizations and careers over the 2020 winter break in the alumni office’s most successful Work Shadow Program ever, held virtually due to the pandemic. Participation by alumni and students more than tripled over last year.
One of those students, Aryanna Colvin ’23, described her work shadow experience with Lisa Johnson Black ’94, a teacher in UVA Children’s Hospital Education Program, as “amazing.”
“I would recommend trying this program out if you are a student who is curious about a certain career, on the fence or if you 100 percent know which career field you would like to go into—just want to see what a typical day is like for someone with that same job,” said Colvin, who is a special education major. “I’m so grateful for being able to participate in this. I can’t wait to do it again!”
Also among the student participants were two seniors originally from West Africa who were matched with Erin Weyen ’10, projects/corporate services manager for the Welsh government within the British Embassy in Washington.
“Our North American office just so happens to have three women of various African descent in the U.S. and Canada,” said Weyen. “I was able to coordinate a group Zoom session on what lessons and experiences my Welsh government colleagues could offer my work shadows in diplomacy, trade and international relations.”
For alums participating in the Work Shadow Program, passing along the kind of help they received as students is a common motivation.
“This was an easy way to give back and also share with the Longwood community what else is out there,” said Bharani Sankar ’16, who hosted two students at Rheaply, Inc., a resource management and exchange platform based in Chicago. “It was amazing to see students come in and make long-lasting relationships with members of our company.”
Weyen’s inspiration to participate came from the teachings of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, who is often quoted as saying, “Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd”—"Do the little things in life.”
“[This] is just one small thing I can do to make a big impact on Longwood students,” Weyen said.