Centre students “mine” for a gold-medal future
April 2, 2010 By Cindy Long
hoping to network their way to success.
Imagine people sitting face-to-face across a long U-shaped table, each lost in conversation. After two minutes, a bell rings and everyone on one side of the table gets up and moves one place to the right. They sit for another two minutes with another companion, then the process repeats. Speed dating? No, this is speed networking—Centre style.
The GOLD Rush event connected young alumni, or Centre GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade), with current students. Through the efforts of the alumni affairs and career services offices, the speed networking event was held on Thursday, April 1, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Thirty young alumni and interested current students gathered in the Campus Center (Ewen Room) to network their way to success. During the first 30 minutes of the program, students had the opportunity to meet with up to15 alumni for a period of two minutes each.
With speed networking, there's no time for awkward introductions or running out of things to say. Students had two minutes to get a snapshot of the alumnus/a’s experience since graduating from Centre.
“The GOLD Rush was great!” says James Barnard, assistant director of annual giving. “This was the first time we’ve done an event like this, and we weren’t sure how it was going to work. We wanted to do something that would encourage the idea of ‘networking,’ but that would also be fun to participate in. We’re all familiar with that awkward feeling when you’re talking to someone at an event and the conversation dries up. You feel it’s time to leave the conversation, but you need an excuse and you can’t come up with one…The GOLD Rush got rid of this awkwardness.”
Senior Molly Jernigan appreciated this tactic. “I was a bit nervous because I thought it would be awkward, but it really wasn’t,” she says. “And it was really good to talk to people who were doing things outside of what I would normally be interested in.”
To learn more about some of the Centre alums who participated, take a look at their profiles below.
Ben Golden ’05, PR Analyst and New Media Strategist for Yum! Brands Inc., graduated with degrees in government and international studies: “If there's one thing I've noticed since graduating from Centre, it is the importance of building your own personal brand, or in other words, carving out a reputation for yourself that embodies trust, respect and confidence in your ability to perform a job,” he says. “To build a good personal brand, a person must have an attitude that takes on challenges and builds know-how. It's about how you can differentiate yourself from others. If you master that mindset, it can be a significant advantage.”
Aaron Rowland ’01, veterinarian, graduated with a degree in biology: “I hope students gained insight into what’s involved in pursuing the career path they’re interested in from the perspective of education, experience, and the interview process,” he says. “Hopefully, the first-hand knowledge and experience that individuals in their field of interest can share can help guide them as they finish their college career and move on to the 'real world.'”
“I bring some recent insight into what is involved in pursuing a DVM degree,” Rowland continues. “I’ve also visited several veterinary schools and have some idea of the differences between them and their requirements/philosophies. I’ve had a number of students volunteer with my hospitals and would be able to also advise them on what to expect as they volunteer and gain experience in the veterinary field.”
Jacquie Sale Peterson ’00, Director of Marketing for Georgetown Community Hospital, graduated with a degree in history: “I hope students learned their Centre education can take them many places and prepare them for any career they choose,” she says. “I also hope we helped impart some lessons we’ve learned along the way and what we look for in people we hire. I think my particular insight is that any bit of experience you can pick up is something that potentially can be used in the future. I never thought my work on the Cento (student newspaper) would have helped me as much as it has.”