Viking Connections connects students and alumni

Sarah Casagrade, Campus Carrier Staff Reporter

The Viking Connections event, held on Jan. 29, took students to the Invesco Headquarters in Atlanta in order to meet up with Berry alumni and scout out job and internship opportunities.

“In Georgia, Atlanta is the 800 pound gorilla and that’s where the jobs are,” Mark Kozera, director of employer development and Viking Connections coordinator, said.

The free event ran from 6:30 to 8 p.m. and resembled a cocktail hour, with a mixer to introduce everyone, hors d’oeuvres served and the students and alumni dressed in business attire.

                                                                              Photo courtesy of Student Work Program
Senior Jack Chase networks with other students at last year’s Viking Connections through
the Berry College Premier Student Work Program. 

Kozera said the event, which is now in its second year, has been a big success with students. At the recent event 32 students and 27 alumni attended, significantly more than last year. So many signed up that there was a waiting list to attend.

“(The students) get practice in performing their elevator speech working in a professional type setting,” Kozera said. “This works for some as a catalyst for graduation and to get a job.”

At these events, many students found leads on their careers. Senior Aaron Chastain ended up with a summer internship last year with Invesco through a Berry alum, and senior Valerie Godwin got a summer internship with Wiser Wealth Management.

Junior Haley Hasting attended Viking Connections this year. She said the location gave the event an “executive feel” and that she was able to meet with three companies, all of which she will send out applications for summer internships.

“It was evident that the employers in the room were scouting for potential,” Hasting said. “It felt nice to be recognized as someone they would like to work with.”

The event was an attempt for alumni to reach out and connect with not only current students, but with each other. The space was left open for an hour afterwards in order to allow alumni to say hello to each other and have time to chat.

“A classmate of mine from 1979 told me he had not gone to a Berry event since he graduated, but he got invited to this event and found it worthwhile,” Kozera said.

Overall, Kozera considered the event a success.

Hasting said that she would definitely attend next year, and Godwin looks forward to using what she has learned at Berry in her future career.

“You can never get too much help,” Godwin said. “Although Berry has prepared me in numerous ways for post-undergraduate life, I still think that it is helpful to be exposed to the perspectives of those who have already lived what you are about to live.”

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