Nearly 500 Roger Williams University undergraduate students converged on the Campus Recreation Center yesterday for Career Day, a joint event by the Career Center and Alumni Relations that brought to campus more than 80 employers from across the region including construction and architectural groups, financial institutions, nonprofits and more.
Roger Williams University President Donald Farish kicked off the event in a special opening session, offering words of advice for students and alumni participants.
“Our students are going into a very uncertain world, and it’s very helpful to them to speak with people who have shared some of their experiences and are out there in the workplace right now,” Farish said. “With more than 40 years of graduates in attendance, Career Day is a great opportunity for students to learn from alumni with first-hand experience. Connections are more important than ever.”
Roger Williams student participants spent the afternoon at the 16th annual Career Fair, where they networked with employers and representatives from graduate programs and explored internship positions, job prospects and graduate admissions opportunities.
Later that day, they had the opportunity to attend a series of 15 career panel presentations from science and math, to the performing arts and government, to communications and law enforcement. Some 80 alumni participants staffed the panels, offering insight into various industries and recommendations for transitioning into their fields.
Kyle Adamonis ’82, who currently serves as senior vice president of human resources at Taco, Inc., encouraged students to gain as much on-the-job experience as possible before graduation.
“When you’re going on an internship, it’s important to get solid work experience,” she said. “You don’t want to be a gopher – employers are looking for real job experience. You need to sell yourself.”
H. Brian Dumeer ’06, L’09, an attorney who recently opened a general litigation practice alongside fellow RWU alumnus Scott Carlson ’06, L’09, echoed that same theme, encouraging students to build their résumés and life experience through study abroad opportunities.
“You can learn a lot in the classroom – and professors at Roger Williams are fantastic – but what you learn with your boots on the ground in other countries is phenomenal. It changes you for life.”
The inaugural Career Day built on the long-standing success of the University's annual Career Fair. Students not only had the chance to meet with potential employers from across the region, but also to participate in mock interviews with alumni volunteers and to sit-in on two back-to-back afternoon panel discussions.
According to Lisa Raiola, assistant vice president for university advancement, the comprehensive approach not only engaged undergraduate students in additional career-building exercises, but also further engaged successful alumni in the RWU community.
“This special day is a chance for RWU alumni to connect with our students and help them navigate a very complex journey – particularly in today’s economic climate – in what I call backpack to briefcase,” Raiola said. “Today’s program is at the heart of what we’re trying to do with our alumni program: Engage alumni in the life of the University and the lives of current students. Career Day offers a rare collaboration of faculty and students and alumni all coming together for a very important purpose, and that’s what makes a great University.”