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The Swarthmore Network

By Carol Brévart-Demm

The success of Career Services’ programs is, in large part, due to the role that alumni play in supporting the office’s work, says Nancy Burkett.

“As well as sponsoring the Extern Program, which impacts so many students and is a wonderful learning opportunity, it is the alumni who send us the most interesting and intellectually stimulating employment options. They come to campus to share their lives and career paths with students. They inspire and motivate our undergraduates to think about ways in which they can use their liberal arts education to have an impact on society,” Burkett says.

Burkett refers students to alumni every day, she says, and later checks back with the students to find out how the interaction has developed. “In every instance, students tell me how thoughtful and helpful the alumni are. They help our students translate what they learn in the classroom into the workplace: When a student in comparative literature can talk to a comp lit alumna who’s working for Goldman Sachs and hear how the alumna’s studies and background relate to what she does in finance, the student begins to make those connections, too.

“At many other schools, only a small percentage of alumni are willing to share their experiences and network with students. Here, we have a data base of 18,000 potential alumni mentors. It’s phenomenal.”

Erin Massey, who manages employer relations, says: “It’s especially rewarding for me to work with students through their internship and job searches and then again a few years later when they come back to recruit for their organizations. It’s a great way for us to stay connected, and we really appreciate that alumni think of Swarthmore when they recruit for their organizations.”

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