STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 06/14/2010

Connections: Alumni and Students Explore Professions, Build Networks

In the spring of her senior year Jane Eisenhauer ’09 neatly sidestepped the perennial problem college grads face: how to get a job without experience, and how to get experience without a job.

The Gordon math major knew she had a lot to offer Raytheon—and the worldwide technology company knew it too. In the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Jane had used an alumna connection to land an internship at Raytheon, where she proved herself capable and trustworthy—key to the security-driven company, which specializes in defense and homeland security. Raytheon rewarded her with a job offer in the spring of her senior year. “It was incredible,” Jane says. “And it made the last few months of college a lot more fun because I was able to relax. I knew where I was going after graduation.”

Gordon College alumni are helping Gordon students get connected—and hired—through Mentoring/GordonLink, a program now in its second year at the Career Services Center. There are over 400 students using its services and almost 400 alumni willing to serve as mentors. “There’s been a lot of early excitement and success,” says Pam Lazarakis, director of career services, which administers the program through Boston-based vendor Experience. “Our Experience representatives have been very surprised at how fast people have become involved.”

That’s the advantage of the Gordon community, which fosters an atmosphere of connectedness that lasts long after graduation, Lazarakis says. “Students come to us wondering how to get their foot in the door of these companies. We reassure them that there are people who’ve been in their shoes, who’ve shared the Gordon experience and who want to help them get started. This networking will speed along the job process.”

Thanks to the mentoring program, Greg Thonsen, a Gordon senior and double major in finance and international business, landed an interview with Lockheed Martin Corporation, a global security company with $45 billion in sales. “I was hoping Gordon grads would be helpful, and they have been—extremely,” he says. “I’ve spoken to five Gordon alumni so far. . . . Their advice and connections have been diverse and insightful.”

The mentoring program contains a database of hundreds of alumni who represent a wide range of fields and expertise, and are willing to talk to students by phone or email about their career interests. Students search for potential mentors according to their majors or career interests.

The mentors explain—sometimes in one connection, sometimes in several—what their work and responsibilities entail to give students an idea of what to expect in their fields of interest. The ideal goal is for students to get referrals for internships or jobs at companies of their choice.

Thonsen’s initial database search for a mentor led him eventually to a Gordon alum in Washington, D.C., who was able to get him an interview at Lockheed Martin.

“We’re very excited about this program’s growth,” Lazarakis says. “Every day we are encouraging students to contact GordonLink mentors to explore professions, build networks and learn that a Gordon education is a solid foundation upon which to build a career, profession or ministry.”

NEXT: Gordon's Future Is Being Planned Today


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