By Natalie Caldwell
Alumni and students gathered in the Lee Room in Dulany Dining Hall on Tuesday, April 2, for a networking etiquette social. Hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations and the Grossnickle Career Services Center, the event offered students the opportunity to network with alumni in a fun, interactive space while displaying proper etiquette during professional events.
Ann Merrifield, senior director of Alumni Relations, believes these kinds of collaborations among students, campus departments and alumni are crucial for students’ professional development.
“It’s really important to engage students while they’re still in school so that we can keep in touch with them when they become alumni,” Merrifield says.
One of the goals of the evening is to show current students how they can come back after they graduate and impact students of the future.
“We always talk about with our alumni giving back their time, their talent or their treasure. This is one of those opportunities where we can ask our alumni to give of their time and talents because they’re all from different careers and professions,” Merrifield says. “It’s really a great opportunity for alumni to see the high caliber of students that we are producing here. The benefits are on both sides.”
All of the alumni that attended felt the event was a chance for them to give back to the school, to meet current students and discuss their interests.
“I feel like I was given an incredible opportunity to be able to take classes here,” says Cassidy Urie ’17, a 6th grade math teacher at Jefferson Middle School in Columbia. “Any time I’m able to give back to the college and the community I jump on board, because they did so much for me and I want to do as much as I can for them.”
Urie enjoyed meeting students who are future teachers and community members. “I think it’s also good for students to practice passing out business cards and communicating while honing their networking skills,” she says.
The event was attended primarily by students who are members of the Emerging Leaders Institute, but it was open to all students who wanted to practice and improve upon their networking skills.
Zane Torreyson, a freshman majoring in healthcare administration, appreciates networking and connecting with alumni from all different backgrounds. “This event benefitted me a lot because I got to talk to a bunch of alumni and got to see how they ended up — where they are now and what they did to become successful,” he says.
One significant conversation Torreyson will take away from the evening was with Daisy Grossnickle ’66, a 37-year member of the college’s Board of Trustees. “She’s just a really big inspiration to the school and she dedicates a lot here,” Torryeson says. “It was awesome meeting her and hearing what she had to say about her love for Columbia College.”
Alumni in attendance:
- Amber Barringer ’12 – Executive Assistant & Special Projects Administrator, Operations at Columbia College
- Dwayne Carey ’99 – Boone County Sheriff
- Daisy Grossnickle ’66 – Member and former chair of the Columbia College Board of Trustees
- Bill Johnston ’82 – Account Executive at Shelter Insurance, member of Alumni Association Advisory Board
- Chad Massman ’12 – Director of Membership at Columbia Chamber of Commerce
- Colbey Schuster ’17 – Business Partnership Manager at Columbia College
- Cassidy Urie ’17 – Teacher at Jefferson Middle School
- Carol Winkler ’93 – Retired pension plan administrator at MFA Incorporated, current member of Columbia College Board of Trustees and Alumni Association Advisory Board
- Ashley Wager ’14 – Department Training Administrator at Sinclair Research Center