A night of networking

For the second year in a row, UAA will host Career Networking Night. Made possible by the Alumni Association, Career Exploration Services and USUAA, the event allows a unique opportunity for current students and recent graduates to learn about career experiences, make connections, exchange information and discuss career planning with professionals from around Anchorage.

On March 29, 10 employees and alumni from high-demand job areas in Alaska, such as medical, media, communications and accounting, will be in attendance at the event. New areas of study have been added this year upon student request, including education, law studies, logistics and marketing.

The event will begin with guest speaker George Martinez, special assistant to the Mayor, who will share how networking has personally benefited him in his career. The other guests will then introduce themselves and speak about professionalism in the workplace.

Wesley Early, web editor and producer for Alaska Public Media, is an alumni of UAA, graduating in 2016 with a journalism and public communications major and a minor in economics. Early benefited from networking while attending college, and encourages current students to take advantage of this networking opportunity

“I think that anything that shows how qualified and available a college student is to employers is helpful. Employers aren’t simply looking for people who got good grades in college, they want people who are hardworking and put themselves out there,” Early said. “I think too many students graduate simply with a degree and no work connections, and that makes it harder for them to enter their careers.”

The majority of the event will consist of speed networking sessions of about five minutes, where small groups of students will meet with a single employer or alumni. There will also be open networking, where students can talk to any guest, towards the end of the event.

Courtney Petrosky, career exploration coordinator for UAA Career Exploration and Services, helps coordinate the Career Networking Nights. She believes last year’s event was successful in connecting students with professionals in their fields, and hopes the event this year will do so as well.

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“As an educational networking event, students have the opportunity to learn about the most sought after skills and competencies that employers are seeking in new hires,” Petrosky said. “We hope that our students are stepping away from the event with the confidence and the resources they need to find a career path that aligns with their values and the ability to adapt to an ever-changing workforce.”

According to Jennifer Wisel, senior alumni relations specialist, the first Career Networking Night was so successful and enjoyable for the attending students that they wish to offer it twice a year, once each semester.

“Students enjoyed and benefited from actually being able to hear from representatives about how they started out in their career field and how they built up their involvement in their particular organization,” Wisel said. “It’s an awesome opportunity to put students and leaders from the community together in the same room. It has a lot of value as a mentoring and networking opportunity.”

Career Networking Night will take place on March 29 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Student Union. The event is open to all UAA students and recent graduates. To attend, RSVP through uaa.joinhandshake.com. Registration closes on March 28 at 5 p.m.