Editor’s note: Tom Pilcher attended the LSAE portion of the trip, but not the LSB portion.
During Thursday, April 28 and Friday, April 29 of reading period, students involved with the Lawrence Scholars in Arts & Entertainment and Lawrence Scholars in Business programs took trips to Chicago to learn about jobs in their fields from alumni working in the area.
Around 30 students participated in each trip, both of which were organized by the Career Center and the Office of Alumni and Constituency Engagement and sponsored by the LSAE and LSB programs, respectively.
LSB has been around the longest, and this year’s reading period trip marked the program’s third visit to Chicago to meet with alumni in the fields of business and finance. The LSAE program started last fall with the Lawrence Scholars in Law program, while the new Lawrence Scholars in Environmental Studies began this April.
According to Director of Career Counseling Kathy Heinzen, “the response to the Lawrence Scholars programs has been very positive overall.”
The reading period trip was the first of its kind for the LSAE program. Joseph Brooks, Director of Alumni and Constituency Engagement, said that the LSB trip “was such an excellent learning opportunity for students that we decided to organize a trip for students interested in careers in arts and entertainment.” Brooks also accompanied students on the trip.
Speaking to the success of this year’s LSB trip, Assistant Professor of Economics and Faculty Advisor for the LSB program Adam Galambos wrote, “I certainly found the trip very valuable, and students tell me that they learned a lot and appreciated very much the opportunities that the trip presented to them.”
The two days were packed with activities. After departing early Thursday morning — at 6 a.m. — the two buses left for Chicago. For senior Amy Sandquist, the LSAE trip’s first stop at the Museum of Contemporary Art was the highlight of the trip.
“My favorite part of the LSAE trip was our visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art,” said Sandquist. “The museum’s director of administration Helen Loftquist Zimmermann ’58 and other MCA employees discussed their career paths and the work that they do at the museum. […] They stressed the importance of internships and networking but also gave more practical advice, which made the intimidating world of art museum work seem more accessible.”
The LSAE trip visited a variety of other cultural institutions over the two days, including Steppenwolf Theatre, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera and the Field Museum.
Senior Marie Straquadine also found the LSAE trip useful. “It helped me get a more concrete idea of the types of positions at cultural institutions and how to approach the job search process,” said Straquadine. “It was also great to hear Lawrence alumni talk about the exciting things they are doing, and to hear how willing they are to help current Lawrentians,” she added.
Participants in both the LSB and the LSAE trips emphasized how alumni in all fields stressed the value of liberal arts. Galambos noted that “at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Natalie Garber ’97, Daniel Kolev ’98 and Michael O’Connell ’81 reassured students that a liberal arts education is the perfect foundation for much of what they do at the CME.”
For both trips, a good mix of both lower and upperclassmen participated. The two groups ate dinner together Thursday night with a number of area alumni at Rock Bottom Brewery, providing a great informal networking opportunity for students and alumni alike.
Junior Oscar Koberling participated in the LSB portion of the trip, and he found David Blowers ’82’s presentation at the Northern Trust Bank extremely useful. “Speaking to successful alumni who once walked in the same shoes I wear today enables me to strive towards highly ambitious goals,” said Koberling, who is also a recipient of an LSB scholarship this year. “For example, speaking to David Blowers and listening to his journey starting here at Lawrence University makes me appreciate the education I receive.” Blowers is the CEO of Northern Trust’s Midwest Region and a Trustee at Lawrence.
The LSB trip also visited Deloitte, Copia Capital and the Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago, among others.
Brooks viewed the whole trip as a “huge success.” He continued, “Students seem to be thoroughly engaged in learning about the many different career opportunities presented, and the alumni seemed to have a wonderful time sharing their organizations and personal stories.”
Based on the success of both the LSB and the LSAE trips, Brooks mentioned that future trips will be in the works for next year. “We hope to do another [LSAE] trip next year,” said Brooks. “We haven’t decided on a location, but there are interested alumni in Chicago and Minneapolis who want to be involved.”