As Alumni and Parent Relations at Keene State College continues to grow as an active part of the college, the new career board looks forward to plans to improve its ability to connect students with alumni in their field.
According to Kay MacLean, the assistant director of Alumni and Parent Relations, the committee has to manually match students with alumni, which can be slow and significantly limits the number of students who can be matched. But beginning sometime during fall semester 2012, the committee is expecting to switch to an online database.
“It’s something that we’ve talked about,” MacLean said, “but we’ve been putting it into fruition over the past few years.”
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This database will allow students to, on their own, search for alumni within the field they want who can serve as mentors or answer questions students have. The committee will actively seek alumni to register with the database.
MacLean said alumni already are available to help students with resumes, practice interviewing, and other career-oriented services, but through this database, she said they hope to help meet more specific needs of students.
“We have well over 20,000 active alums,” MacLean said. “All of the students here on campus will have access to that online database. That’s really open the doors wide open.”
Currently, Plymouth State University is already using this software, as are many other colleges, to match students and alumni, MacLean said.
David Westover, of the class of 1972, serves on the career board, which was created at the beginning of this academic year. He said these alumni-student relationships are important in guiding students to their ultimate career goals.
“I look at the alumni of Keene State College as a great resource for students,” he said. “The ultimate goal is for undergraduates to have access to alumni who have expressed interest.”
Westover said these connections as especially important because so many undergraduates are undecided about what they want to do after KSC. By having a mentor in a prospective field, students can get a better grasp on what they might like to do. “There’s a large number of undergraduates who don’t have a strong sense of what they want to do when they graduate,” he said.
MacLean also noted that getting involved in clubs and organizations early on can help students not only build their resumes, but find direction while in school.
“As you’re here getting your degree, it’s really significant that you know where you want to be after four years,” MacLean said.
Westover said alumni get involved because they understand the importance of helping students get ready for careers early, especially during such tough economic times.
He said that by building resumes and being prepared for interviews, students become more marketable to employers, making it easier to get a job.
“I think long-term, one of the reasons I got on the alumni board, I see the very invaluable number of alumni who I know, if asked, would be willing to give back,” he said.
MacLean emphasized that students should take advantage of these career training programs now while they are free and available. She said that between Academic and Career Advising and Alumni and Parent Relations, students gain access to professional-grade assistance that many people out of college end up paying for in order to get a job.
Pat Halloran, the director of Academic and Career Advising, noted the value of these programs.
“This is a great program,” she said, mentioning that in addition to MacLean, Patty Farmer, the director of Alumni and Parent Relations, and Kelly Graham, the associate director of Academic and Career Advising are important sources of assistance in these programs.
Allie Bedell can be contacted at