Friday, February 20, 2015

Dinner event features networking with recent graduates as main course for OU-C students seeking career tips


A dinner event included a course in professional networking for a group of Chillicothe Campus students during the recent “Dining With 12 Strangers” event. Nine current OU-C students were joined by three recent graduates who shared practical career advice.

The event was a collaborative effort between OU-C Career Services and the Ohio University Alumni Association.

“The idea is to give current Chillicothe Campus students an opportunity to network with recent alumni. It helps our students develop their networking skills in a controlled environment,” said Martha Tanedo, the campus’ director of career services.

“The theme of the evening was ‘Life after OU-C.’ The goal is that they arrive as strangers and leave with new friends and connections.”

The evening was designed to help the current OU- C students learn from the experiences of individuals who were recently in their situations.

“We are trying to bring together alumni and current students,” alumni association representative David Bambrey said. “The focus is on involving Ohio University students, past and present, in an informal networking situation and making professional relationships.”

“The reality of finding a job is that much of the career search is about who you know,” Tanedo said. “This is part of the whole career development process, which involves students learning about themselves, what others do who are in similar career fields, what the students want to do in their professions and how they get there.”

Having recent graduates involved made the evening more relevant to the students.

“It is important that OU-C students see the success that their peers have obtained and are able to visualize the value of the Chillicothe Campus educational experience,” Tanedo said. “It is more impactful to meet individuals who were in a similar situation a few short years ago. They are able to then share how they made the transition from being an OU-C student to their current situations and what decisions they had to make.”

The recent alumni brought a range of experiences, with one recent grad pursuing her career locally, another finding his footing in Columbus and the third attending graduate school.

Kimberly Bowers is a supervisory medical administration specialist with the Chillicothe VA Medical Center. She earned an associate degree in applied business technology (OTEC) and was one of the first students to earn a bachelor’s degree in health services administration.

Jared Farmer earned an associate degree in business management and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration. He also played baseball during his OU-C career. He is currently employed in a managerial position for a business that promotes the cleaning wax product FW1 and also works part-time at a hospital.

Liberty Bell earned her bachelor’s degree in health services administration and was heavily involved as a tutor in the Student Success Center.  She recently earned her master’s degree in business (MBA) from Ohio University.

“I find it intriguing to be part of this event,” Farmer said. “As an OU-C graduate, it offers an opportunity to talk with future graduates. Basically, I want to help make their career process go smoothly and assist those who have been in my situation.”

Current students taking part in the get-together enjoyed the experience.

“It sounded like a fun thing to do,” said Sharles Thompson, an early childhood education major from Vinton County High School. “I am always looking for ways to meet more people and gain career skills.”

Networking is more than rubbing elbows and exchanging business cards, Tanedo explained.

“Successful networking involves meeting people who work in, or are somehow related to a field in which you are interested,” she said. “These individuals can become future colleagues and people with whom you will have a professional relationship as a mentor, future employer or in collaboration of some kind,” Tanedo said.

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