Career Services’ SophoMORE Connections Program Returns as In-Person Event

On Jan. 20 and 21, Colgate University Career Services hosted the optional SophoMORE Connections event for sophomores looking to connect with a base of alumni and attend discussions that allowed for them to explore potential career options. Nearly 140 alumni panelists and Alumni Council members attended to share their stories and advice with the sophomores.

Events included professional headshot photoshoots, networking skill-building sessions, and talks with a large network of alumni from varying professions. Sophomores who chose to attend arrived back from winter break a few days early to take advantage of this event and the resources it offered. 

Laura Hartpence, Senior Associate Director of Operations and Assessment at Colgate University’s Career Services, commented on what her goals for the program were and what students who attend were able to get out of it. 

SophoMORE Connections is specifically designed to equip second-year students with the skills and perspectives they need to begin to narrow down their career interests and work toward securing a robust summer experience,” Hartpence said. “A hallmark of the SophoMORE Connections experience is the opportunity to learn about industries and career pathways directly from generous Colgate alumni.”

Hartpence also commented on what made this year’s event different from past years, when her office was unable to host an in-person version of the event. 

SophoMORE Connections 2023 was the first fully in-person SophoMORE Connections since launching Colgate’s new four-year career development plan in the Fall of 2021,” Hartpence said. “In alignment with the four-year plan, one of the really special changes that students got to experience this year was a very intentional increase in the amount of networking skill-building and practice offered.”

Another difference this year, Hartpence noted, was a partnership with Colgate University alumna Taylor Buonocore-Guthrie ’08, the co-founder of Convers(ate), a company designed to teach people how to facilitate discussions and form connections. She led students through two facilitated alumni networking sessions.  

Sophomore Dylan Dasbach attended SophoMORE Connections and commented on what part of the experience was most beneficial.

I benefited most from the different career panels because they really allowed me to get a better understanding of what working in different fields was that I thought I might be interested in,” Dasbach said. “They ended up helping me learn that I didn’t want to go into a specific field as much as I had thought previously.”

Sophomore Reid Ewasko attended the event as well, also stating the career panels to be the most beneficial part of the program. She also discussed the most memorable part of the weekend.

“The most memorable part of the experience for me was the dinner with the alumni,” Ewasko said. “I really enjoyed getting to know the alumni at my table and it was really fun to compare our Colgate experiences. I signed up for the event because I knew this would be one of my best chances to connect to alumni, so I was really happy that they were so enjoyable to meet.”

Hartpence hopes sophomores who attended now realize the support available to them from the University and its alumni.

I hope that students who participated in this year’s SophoMORE Connections walked away from the program with newfound confidence with networking and forming connections with alumni, peers, and others in the community, a greater understanding of the professional options available to them, and momentum that propels them toward a meaningful summer experience,” Hartpence said.