February 21, 2017

Political science and public policy major Christina Martin ’18 is a firm believer in networking with alumni. “Having a genuine conversation with someone who was once in your shoes is an amazing experience,” she said.

Susquehanna students met with more than 100 alumni who returned to campus for the annual Break Through student-alumni networking conference held in February.

Alumni panelists addressed the ins and outs of such career fields as accounting, communications, editing and publishing, science and theatre. They also addressed a wide array of workplace issues including race, gender identity, sexual orientation and workplace accessibility.

“I attended a panel on working in the nonprofit sector, where they spoke a lot about working with the Peace Corps,” said business administration major Lauren Berkel ’19. “It’s something that I’ve thought about before, and after what I heard it’s something that I am really looking forward to [pursuing].”

Alumni also offered students advice about the job search, including networking strategies, best practices using internet resources, and internship and job-shadowing tips. Students and alumni enjoyed interacting one-on-one at a luncheon, speed-networking session and afternoon reception as well.

“I like participating because it gives me an opportunity to share the experiences I’ve had,” said Baktash Ahadi ’05, an international affairs professional. “A valuable skill is learning from other people’s experiences, in particular other people’s mistakes. I think it’s really important [for students] to ask people what they have learned in order to be successful professionally.”

Many alumni, such as Matt Curran ’92, return for Break Through every year. Curran, senior vice president of QBE North America in New York City, said he was hired by an SU alum.

“Break Through is a chance to pay it forward for Susquehanna. It’s a challenge to figure out what you want. I want to help students understand that there’s no right answer.”