Farmingdale State College Office of Development & Alumni Engagement Hosts First Virtual Scholars Career Workshop
On March 18 the Office of Development & Alumni Engagement held its first FSC Scholars Career Workshop. Hosted by Babette Lasky, Manager of Scholarships and Donor Stewardship, and Michelle Johnson, Director of Alumni Engagement, this exclusive event for student scholarship recipients was moderated by Rena Varghese, Executive Director of the Nexus Center for Applied Learning & Career Development and featured an interactive virtual panel discussion on navigating one’s career. Thirty students attended and were joined by President John Nader.
The distinguished donor panel featured Art Corwin ’76, President of Railroad Construction Company, Inc. and President of The Corwin Family Foundation; Maureen Knott ’84, Vice President of Product Advertising and Marketing at Henry Schein and Vice President of the Farmingdale Foundation; and Farmingdale native and business leader Jason Golden, President of 110 Sand Company and member of the Farmingdale Foundation Board.
The Scholars Workshop program was conceived as a way to truly develop and foster relationships between students and the generous donors who support them and to “humanize” philanthropy, said Matthew Colson, Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement, “connecting alumni and donors directly with scholarship students to provide a comprehensive understanding of philanthropy and the importance of their generosity as well as engaging the donors into the fabric of the education experience and learning outcomes of the scholarship student.” It was also designed as a way for specific scholarship recipients to meet their scholarship donors in a meaningful way when in-person events are not currently possible.
Rena Varghese had this to say about the Scholars Career Workshop, “Collaborating with Development and Alumni Engagement is a natural partnership, which furthers the mission of the Nexus Center to support students in achieving their career goals. This program was an ideal way to connect student scholars to industry leaders, and the advice and encouragement shared by our generous benefactors were especially meaningful given the challenges of the current climate.”
During this lively, interactive event students were able to gain practical career advice and learned about the panelists’ varied career journeys. Other topics of conversation included job searching, remote interviewing and stress management during these unprecedented times.
Art Corwin remarked, “Interesting to me was that the panelists have been successful but all took very different paths to get there. Hopefully that showed the students anything is possible. I enjoy interacting with young people. It confirms that the future is bright!”
Panelists shared why they were so passionate about supporting students. All panelists agreed that the success of an individual is education. Mr. Corwin stated that the little bit of aid donors are able to provide makes a big difference to Farmingdale students and it is exciting for him to be able to help young people. He is proud and happy to be able to do this. Likewise, Mr. Golden’s family has been in Farmingdale for generations and he recalls growing up and playing on campus when he was young. He stated that it means a great deal to him to be able to give back to his community. Ms. Knott recalls having wonderful memories while attending Farmingdale and making life-long friendships. Farmingdale gave her a foundation to her success. She enjoys being the collaborative bridge between Farmingdale State College and Henry Schein.
Dr. Nader discussed the importance of mentorship. Whether it be faculty or staff on campus, a co-worker or perhaps a friend, it is very important to develop mentorship relationships with somebody that knows you and to whom you can turn to for advice with difficult situations. Ms. Knott referred to the importance of mentorship in your industry to help guide you along the way. Sonia Chemerisov, a senior Bioscience major, credits her success throughout college and getting accepted into dental school to the mentors she was surrounded by at FSC. She stated that she cannot imagine how she would have made it without their support.
When asked about what she thought of the workshop, Joanne Deverson, a recent FSC Nursing graduate, commented “The Career Panel discussion was informative, relevant and insightful. Having the opportunity to ask questions to presidents of companies, glean from their experience, and absorb their wisdom helps me take better steps as I begin my new career journey. I am honored and appreciative to have attended. I feel more at ease approaching management and am confident to follow up after applying for a position. Thank you for sharing your stories and lighting up our paths on our career journey.”
Students were encouraged to tap into their alumni network early, before they graduate, and contact Michelle Johnson in the Alumni Office or reach out to Rena Varghese at the Nexus Center to introduce the students to alumni in their fields of interest. Maureen Knott ended the programing by encouraging the scholars noting that anything is attainable, nothing is out of reach and not to be afraid. “Enjoy life and grasp it. Don’t let anything hold you back.”