While many St. Lawrence students spent their winter break hitting the slopes or traveling to warm-weather destination, a cadre of select students had an unparalleled opportunity to expand their professional networks. Organized by Career Services, SLU Connect-DC and SLU Connect-Mountain States introduced students to both alumni and professional opportunities in Washington, D.C. and Big Sky, Montana.
Career Service’s SLU Connect-DC program is now in its third year of operation. However, this academic year saw the addition of SLU Connect programs in Albany, New York and Montana. The program has also grown in popularity, and this year a more intensive application process was implemented to determine which students would attend.
“First we had to apply with an application, which discussed how we would benefit from the program and discussed what field we were interested in pursuing,” explained Claudia Stankiewicz ’19, who attended the D.C. “We then participated in a group interview with three panelists,” she noted.
The students arrived in Washington on January 3rd. Over the next four days they took part in a whirlwind schedule that included a site visits to a variety of office including the World Bank, Congress, the Smithsonian Institute, and Latham Watkins, a D.C.-based law firm. “It was the first time I visited not as tourist,” added Stankiewicz.
The program also offered student opportunities to engage with alumni and receive valuable career advice. “I didn’t realize how interconnected everyone is in D.C.,” said Stankiewicz. The group had a chance to attend an alumni panel with SLU alumni who now work on Capitol Hill and attend a networking event with Washington-based Laurentians.
A highlight for many students was a chance to sit down with Senator Susan Collins ’75 of Maine. Collins, a moderate Republican, discussed both her time at St. Lawrence and her path to public office.
For Stankiewicz, SLU Connect-D.C. also allowed her to recognize the professional growth she has experienced while at St. Lawrence. “When I attended SLU Connect Albany I went in very nervous and unaware of what to expect,” she says. “When I went to D.C. I had the confidence to approach alums and network”
While Laurentians in Washington, D.C. were walking the halls of Congress and strolling along the Mall, other St. Lawrence students were advancing their professional skills on the slopes of Big Sky, MT.
In its inaugural year, SLU Connect-Mountain States aimed to introduce students to careers in fields such as tourism, real estate and environmental industries. It also provided extensive opportunities for participants to network with alumni from throughout the United States. “I have participated in several other SLU programs, but have not felt the same sense of community that I experienced while at Big Sky,” explained Ruben Castren ’19. “I feel as if I made valuable connections with SLU alumni and parents that will be beneficial for me throughout college and into my professional life,” he added.