Alumni link with students through professional development series

Currents Fall 2017 Cover
Fall 2017

Hosted by the Penn State Harrisburg Office of Alumni Relations, the professional development series acts as an outreach and networking opportunity for alumni to connect with current students. Through mentorship, alumni from various industries are helping students get ready for the workforce, get hired, and advance in their careers.

Alumnus H. William Weik, (’97, accounting), CEO of Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster (OAL), participates in the professional development series and other campus events designed to link alumni and students. He said he relishes such opportunities to give back to the college and its students.

Weik’s experience is also a testament to the value that networking has for everyone involved.

A former Alumni Achievement Award winner, Weik returns to campus to speak to classes. At one of these visits, Weik met finance major Kyle Vogeler. Although Vogeler was not yet employed, he handed Weik a personal business card. Weik was impressed with Vogeler’s initiative.

“This really struck me,” Weik said. “I just thought that was such a great idea, and one that most students wouldn’t have considered.”

The two stayed in touch, and when Vogeler needed an internship, Weik offered him that opportunity at OAL. Vogeler did so well at the internship that he was then offered part-time employment at OAL, which is continuing while he finishes school. There is also the
possibility for full-time employment at OAL for Vogeler upon graduation.

“Bill and Kyle’s connection demonstrates how beneficial these outreach and networking events are to alumni and students,” said Laurie Dobrosky, associate director of alumni relations. “These events offer unique, valuable opportunities for all involved. It is also a reflection of the generosity and commitment of our alumni, to take time from their professional schedules to mentor current students is sincerely appreciated.”

Dobrosky added that there are many ways for alumni to be involved in the professional development series to mentor students and even each other.

Events include “Senior Seminars,” designed to give students insight into life after college; Résumania, where alumni who make hiring decisions review student résumés and offer guidance; mock interviews at which alumni volunteers provide feedback on answering general questions, mannerisms and eye contact; an etiquette dinner that provides students a hands-on experience with proper business etiquette during a meal; the “Making the Most of Penn State Harrisburg” panel, where alumni discuss their own college journey and reveal personal keys to success; and “Harrisburg Hang-out” is designed for young alumni to get career advice, résumé reviews, and interviewing tips from more seasoned alumni.

Learn more about how you can participate. Contact the Office of Alumni Relations at [email protected] or 717-948-6715.