SLU Connect-DC January 2016 participants enjoyed a tour of FBI headquarters, where Paul Wood â85 works and graciously acted as host. (photo credit Jeff Mauritzen)

Making DC Connections

Washington alumni give students inside-(and outside)-the-beltway career tips

Neal Burdick '72

As part of January’s SLU Connect-DC program, three alumni took part in a “fireside chat” with St. Lawrence sophomores and juniors: from left facing the camera, Willy Walker '89, chairman and CEO of Walker & Dunlop, one of the largest commercial real estate finance companies in the United States; moderator Jennifer Curley Reichert ’90, University trustee and president and CEO at The Curley Company Inc.; and, hand raised, Matt Fellowes ’97, CEO of HelloWallet and an acknowledged expert in consumer finance. 

The program, as described in a story by participant Mariah Dignan ’16 in the Spring 2015 St. Lawrence, brought 33 students to Washington, D.C., for five days in early January, “for networking events, site tours and visits, and alumni-run panel discussions.” Among locations visited in 2016 were Capitol Hill, the State Department, the World Bank and the FBI, at each of which Laurentians acted as hosts. 

The fireside chat focused on career advice. Reichert, who with Trustee Mike Arpey ’85 has been a major on-site organizer and generous supporter of the program, introduced the session by explaining that “The goal of this program is to introduce students to all types of careers in Washington—not just those in government.” Walker observed that “your career is going to take lots of twists and turns; being in an industry that interests you and being somewhere physically that interests you are really what matters.” Fellowes told the students, “It really doesn’t matter right now that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to be. The key is to be passionate, dedicated and results-oriented so you’re successful in whatever you do.”

In response to the question “What do you want to see in future employees?” Fellowes replied, “Number one is demonstrated interest in working for a firm or company or individual.” He added, “Pay attention to your resume. You don’t want grammatical errors.” Both he and Walker stressed the value of participating in internships. Walker added, “Think about what you want to do and how you need to spend your time at St. Lawrence to get there.”

A DC-Size Thank-you

Many alumni have helped make SLU Connect-DC a success in only its second year; principal among them are those listed below. St. Lawrence University gratefully acknowledges their various contributions of time, energy and treasure. If you are interested in taking part, please contact Associate Director of Career Services Carleen Pallante, or 315-229-5957. For more on this program, please see page 31 in the print edition of the Spring 2016 St. Lawrence.

Kelly Appenzeller ’15, Program Assistant for Congressional Events, Alliance for Health Reform

Jennifer Carroll Archie ’83, Partner, Latham & Watkins

Michael Arpey ’85, Trustee, Managing Director, The Carlyle Group

Amelia Bell ’10, Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow, National Women’s Law Center

Michael Botticelli, M.’81, Deputy Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy

Jon Cardinal ’08, Trustee, Director of Economic Development, Office of Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-New York)

Neil Chatterjee ’99, Senior Policy Adviser, Office of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky)

Katherine Clark ’85, Congresswoman (D-Massachusetts), U.S House of Representatives

Colette Dafoe ’01, Commercial Real Estate Attorney/Partner, Nixon Peabody

Mary-Stuart “Missy” Martin DeCamp ’81, Former Deputy Social Secretary to First Lady Laura Bush

Matt Fellowes ’97, Chief Innovation Officer, Morningstar/CEO, HelloWallet

Patty Fitzgibbons ’76, Chief Human Resources Officer, Administrative Office of the U.S Courts

Sharee Freeman ’76, Trustee, Director, Office of Self Governance, U.S. Department of the Interior

Samantha Semarad Guerry ’88, Trustee, Founder, TurnFirst Foundation

Carol Pratt Hecklinger ’64, Trustee Emerita, Retired, United States Government

Richard Hecklinger ’65, Former U.S Ambassador to Thailand, U.S. Department of State

Noelle Laing ’03, Managing Director, Cambridge Associates

Heather Lanigan ’02, Country Manager – Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, U.S. Trade and Development Agency

Jim MacGregor ’98, Managing Director of Communications and Realtor Mobilization, National Association of Realtors

Robert Manogue ’83, Director, U.S. Department of State

Anne McGrath McManus ’75, Managing Editor of Publications, U.S. News & World Report

Tyler Moran ’92, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada)

Scott O’Connell ’87, Co-Chair, Litigation Department, Nixon Peabody

Donald Page ’05, Assistant Vice President, Merrill Lynch

Nick Penniman ’92, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Issue One

Jennifer Curley Reichert ’90, Trustee, President & CEO, Curley Company

Jeff Seitz ’84, Senior Financial Advisor, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Elizabeth Shaffer ’11, Account Supervisor, Curley Company

Shawn Smeallie ’81, Managing Partner, American Continental Group

Melanie Smeallie Mbuyi ’77, Program Officer, Africa Finance and Markets Global Practice, World Bank

Hillary Stewart ’88, Manager, Human Capital (Healthcare)/ Executive Recruitment, Navigant

Paul Tourbaf ’91, Executive Vice President, Hanley Wood

Willy Walker ’89, Chairman & CEO, Walker & Dunlop

Christopher Wilcox ’00, Associate Director of Federal Policy, Office of New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Carl Willner ’80, Attorney, United States Department of Justice

Paul Wood ’85, Unit Chief, Intelligence Evaluation Unit, FBI

The SLU Connect-DC alumni planning committee, site visit hosts and panelists assembled during last Januaryâs session in the nationâs capital. (photo credit Jeff Mauritzen)
SLU Connect-DC participants met with Congresswoman Katherine Clark â85, center. (photo credit Jeff Mauritzen)