Ask an Alum provides network for students

Students looking to explore career opportunities will find that the chance to connect with professionals in the community and elsewhere is a mouse-click away.

Junior Rachel Meneghini was one student who participated in the Ask an Alum program through Career Services. A double major in social work and Spanish, Meneghini visited Career Services after she transferred to UW-Eau Claire from UW-La Crosse, she said.

“I went in one day to talk about changing majors, and they suggested I try the (Ask an Alum) program,” she said.

Through Ask an Alum, students have the opportunity to contact Eau Claire alumni and other volunteer professionals participating in the job-shadowing program, said Eileen Oswald, a career services counselor and coordinator of Ask an Alum.

“It helps students make contact with the professional world,” she said.

The names of over 500 alumni and other volunteers are accessible in the program’s online database. Students can browse the list by major, occupation or geographic location.

“It helps students make contact with the professional world.”
Eileen Oswald
Career Services counselor

Students can also access the online database of alumni and other participants from any computer, Oswald said. The link to the database can be found on the Career Services Web site.

Ask an Alum has been available online for students for about a year, Oswald said.

The program is open to all Eau Claire undergraduate and graduate students. All majors are represented, and there are a variety of jobs and volunteer opportunities to choose from among the contributing alum participants.

“Our goal is we want every single major to have a good amount of alumni to contact,” Oswald said.

Meneghini said she spoke with her alum contact about two weeks ago. She decided to talk to a social worker in the Eau Claire school district.

“I wanted to get a different perspective of the social work profession other than the typical child protection services,” she said.

Freshman David Washa, a biology major and Pre-Med Club member, also participated in the Ask an Alum program.

At a club meeting, they talked about resident programs and job shadowing. The Ask an Alum program was one of the options discussed, he said.

Washa eventually contacted a radiologist at Luther Middleford Hospital in Eau Claire. He thought the program was mainly a beneficial resource, he said.

While students can use the database Oswald said she encourages students to take the next step and find someone within their field of interest to contact.

“What we’d really like to see is students to use this as a mentoring, job-shadowing type program,” she said.

Meneghini said she found her experience with the program to be helpful, she said.

“I learned some things I wouldn’t have learned just in the classroom.”