Alumni making donations of time, talent and experience

Lisa Davala

The university is expanding its resources for students by diving into its alumni pool.

For many undergraduate students, the idea of being an alumni is solidified with a degree and graduation date on their resumes.

The university is reaching out to students and alumni to help break the distance between the two and make it possible for one to help the other.

The student and recent graduate programs for the alumni relations helps students connect with the university’s alumni for different resources.

“When traditional-age students enter Kent, they are not typically aware that their relationship with the institution is life-long,” assistant director LeAnn Starlin Galea said. “We hope to educate students on this issue more and connect them with a world of opportunities.”

The program is only in its second year, but it’s already making strides to help students gain networking experiences in their fields while helping alumni find future employees or contacts.

Despite its efforts, the program has not been able to reach out to all alumni because it’s so new.

“The only experience that I have had with the alumni association has been receiving calls every other month asking to make a donation,” 2006 graduate Amy Crookston said. “I have never been asked to come back and speak, or even to volunteer for anything.”

Crookston said she had only a few opportunities in her field of biology to meet with alumni during her experience at Kent.

“In my position, the primary goal is to help students and recent alumni get connected and engaged in their relationship with the institution,” Galea said. “Stereotypically, people think this is mostly done through monetary gifts and donations.

“We like to help students and young alumni understand that their talent, time, and experience are also valuable gifts that can be shared through networking with students and career programming.”

Galea said she understands students are overwhelmed when going through their career options so she works to bring professionals from different backgrounds to campus to network with students. She said doing so will give students opportunities for job or internship offers.

“If I were able to meet with more people in different areas of the field, I am sure I would have found many more careers I could have pursued,” Crookston said. “The idea to get industry professionals in that have come from the same place as you and through the same classes is a great idea that I wish I could have taken advantage of.”

Alumni from the university are more than willing to share their experiences, goals and struggles with current students, Galea said. With her position, Galea will be able to set up numerous events for all undergraduates, whether they have hectic schedules or are trying to get into an environmentally friendly company.

“I actually got internships and my current job through alumni as well,” said Galea, who is also a Kent State alumna. “I think for this semester the focus is on getting to know student needs, connecting young alumni with others and finding an effective way to bridge the gap between the two.”

Contact alumni affairs reporter Lisa Davala at [email protected]