CHBS Networking Social connects students with helpful alumni

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Photo of students and alumni at CHBS networking social

The scene at the CHBS Networking Social, an event that connects RU students with professional alumni.

On one side of the table, confidence rooted in years of success. On the other side, nervousness rooted in youthful uncertainty.

The College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences (CHBS) worked to bridge the divide between its experienced alumni and its anxious students by hosting the second annual CHBS Networking Social, a "speed networking" event, on Friday in Heth Hall. The event was part of RU's Homecoming and Family Weekend activities.

Almost 20 CHBS alumni sat down with students for five-minute networking sessions followed by a social gathering. The students, representing CHBS majors such as public relations, criminal justice and political science, shared their aspirations with alumni and received constructive advice about their next step - finding a job in the "real world."

Kathy Johnson '72 relished the opportunity to mentor and guide the students who chatted with her about her 32-year career in law enforcement. "I am impressed that so many of these young people have such distinct goals," she said. "I find they are pretty worldly and aware of what's going on around them."  

She talked about the need to encourage them to show "moxie" and not be so timid about reaching out to others for guidance and direction. "Being motivated and tenacious are as important as a good resume and will be very helpful on the way to being successful," said Johnson, who is the vice-chair of the newly-formed, 23-member CHBS Advisory Council.

"Anything you can do to connect alumni and students is a good thing," said CHBS Dean Kate Hawkins before she scurried off to disperse a group of students who were clustered by themselves, sending them off to talk about themselves and practice their carefully-rehearsed elevator speeches with the alumni who stood by. "Find a new friend," she exhorted.

Justin Carter, a senior majoring in public relations, said, "I actually discovered an opportunity here and am glad for this chance to improve my interpersonal and professional presentation skills."

Carter was joined by fellow public relations senior Melissa Cupp who was interested in making connections with the several alumni in her field. She admitted to being nervous about "embarrassing myself by putting myself out there and finding out what people think."

After the session, Cupp said she was relieved and felt more confident as she prepares to seek out a job in media production upon graduation.

John Raibolt '01 majored in German and communication as an RU student and said he was excited about the opportunity to share some advice based on his experience in the field and his current job as senior manager of public affairs for Alliant Energy.

"I found out what I wanted to do and I am glad to help them do it too. This is a good exercise and it is great to see them here tonight,” Raibolt said.

Raibolt reflected on his experience at RU as he met members of the class of 2013 in the social and professional encounters. "RU was great for me. It was a place I could assert myself in leadership positions and it provided many opportunities and put me on a good course."

Oct 19, 2013
Don Bowman
(540) 831-7523