Lawrence alumni jumpstart students’ aspirations

&Slik Rik& Warch pictured with some of his homies from RUN DMC.
Cassidy Wilson

Last Thursday and Friday, several students took advantage of reading period to travel to either Minneapolis or Chicago as part of two Lawrence Scholars trips, sponsored by the Alumni and Constituency Engagement and Career Services.

The Lawrence Scholars in Arts and Entertainment program sponsored a trip to Minneapolis, while the Lawrence Scholars in Business program funded a trip to Chicago.

According to Cassie Curry, employer relations coordinator, Chicago was chosen for the LSB trip because “Chicago is only a three-hour drive from Appleton, and it is one of the top ten cities in the world for a career in finance.”

She added, “Chicago has also been a hot spot for entrepreneurial incubators. If new graduates are interested in starting a business, the mentorship that comes with membership in an incubator is very important.”

Mary Meany, dean of Career Services, accompanied the LSAE trip to Minneapolis. She said, “We wanted to showcase all that the Twin Cities has to offer. The Twin Cities are home to over 54 choral ensembles, 100 theaters which have sold more tickets than anywhere outside of New York…5 major art museums, [and] over 40 smaller independent art galleries.”

Both trips involved visits to dynamic locations in the city as well as conversations with successful alumni involved in business or the arts. Chicago destinations included the CME Group, The Northern Trust Company and the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center.

Students on the Minneapolis trip visited sites such as the Guthrie Theatre, Walker Art Center and Minnesota Public Radio.

The planning process, which took almost a year, required the involvement of many alumni. According to Meany and Curry, Lawrence alumni are very willing to contribute their time and resources.

They said, “Our alumni are eager to help current students! We are fortunate to have these alumni connections so that our students were able to gain behind the scenes access, which is not typically achievable on one’s own.”  

Sophomore Tara Jensen, an English major and Spanish minor, participated in the LSB Trip to Chicago. She said, “It’s one thing to read about a profession, but another to physically experience its culture and energy. The trip gave me a better idea of how certain businesses function, and made me realize that I could find fulfillment in any number of post-graduate positions.”

Senior Peter Boyle, an English major who traveled to Minneapolis, said, “It was nice to see Minneapolis, and it was really encouraging to hear about Lawrence alumni’s successes in the Arts.”

He added, “It really impressed upon me the value of being open to whatever opportunities you can get, and the fact that there’s no one right way to have a career path.”

Meany and Curry called the trips a great success. They stressed the importance of events like these: “The more networking situations and learning opportunities students can take advantage of, the easier their career development and job search will be.”

In the future, Career Services plans to offer smaller scale trips through its Think Globally, Explore Locally initiative. Meany and Curry said, “These trips are intended to be shorter in duration, easy to work into a student’s schedule and to promote the view that the greater Fox Valley and eastern Wisconsin areas can be seen as a microcosm of the national and global job markets.”

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