Before coming to St. Lawrence, I had heard so much about the remarkable alumni network and the career development opportunities at St. Lawrence. During my sophomore year, I got to experience the alumni network and career services and understand why that network is so recognized.
Starting this past September, I had the opportunity to participate in the Laurentians Investing in Networking and Careers (LINC) program. LINC individually matches current sophomores with a St. Lawrence alum who serves as a professional mentor for an entire year. The program’s goal is to help students with career development while learning and practicing networking and industry skills. Each student gets matched with a mentor who works in one of the student’s fields of interest.
Throughout the last five years, I have had a variety of interests and aspirations. I have been curious about career paths in marine biology, nursing, event planning, interior design, criminal profiling, and also advertising. Most of these interests I haven’t gotten a chance to explore until this year in LINC. Being paired with my mentor gave me a chance to shape my focus around a specific interest of mine, advertising.
My mentor, Karen Nemiah ‘82 was a communications major here at St. Lawrence. At St. Lawrence, Karen was an Admissions tour guide, an editor and reporter for the Hill News, a Gridiron photographer, an art history teacher’s assistant, and a member of Greek life. Karen also studied abroad at the Austria Institute in Vienna. Karen is currently the director of marketing and development for Fair Haven Community Health Care. Although I have always been interested in advertising, Karen helped me develop this interest even further and it is now my intended career path. Getting to hear about Karen’s experience in advertising, her previous and current jobs, and her wisdom and advice gave me so much insight into the field and made me so excited about a future in advertising.
Karen and I have met for an hour on Facetime once every two to three weeks since September. Although we both would’ve loved to meet in person, COVID-19 made that almost impossible this year. Every meeting we would focus on different career advancement or networking skills that I wanted to learn. Karen helped me with my resume and taught me how to write about my experiences through a professional, marketing lens. She guided me through the process of building a personable LinkedIn profile and showed me how to connect and communicate with professionals. She also introduced me to Canva which is now my preferred design application for posters, flyers, and infographics.
We practiced mock interviews, talked through answers to tough questions, and worked on skills for answering under pressure. Additionally, Karen gave me tips for interviewing such as preparing by doing research, arriving early, and presenting yourself properly. Karen also taught me how to do an informational interview and helped me with questions I might want to ask the professionals I got the chance to talk to. One “homework” assignment was to do two informational interviews, which were very exciting and helped to grow my interest in advertising even further. I also learned about professional communication such as writing "thank you" notes after interviews and messaging on LinkedIn.
Needless to say, I gained so much from my experience in LINC and having Karen as my mentor. I gained confidence in my networking abilities, advertising knowledge, and career advancement skills. I could not be more grateful to both Karen and St. Lawrence for offering me the chance to connect with such a great network of supportive professionals. I hope Karen and I will have the opportunity to connect in person in the future!