Photo credit: LSA Opportunity Hub. Please note this image was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LSA alums have expertise and experience that are incredibly helpful to current students exploring career paths of their own. Now there is a new way for LSA students to connect virtually with alumni across the country.
With nearly 2,000 users and counting, LSA Connect is shaping the future of career networking and mentoring for LSA students. The career networking and mentoring platform connects LSA students with LSA alums from around the globe so that students can make meaningful connections and have career conversations that matter. Since last summer, more than 1,100 students have joined and exchanged nearly 4,000 messages. What has given them so much to talk about? LSA alums.
Students are flocking to LSA Connect to learn from LSA alums around the globe and hear how they navigated career successes and challenges—and alums have been eager to share their hard-earned wisdom with students. From heads of international companies to recent grads on the cusp of burgeoning careers, alums on the platform represent nearly 70 percent of all 85 LSA majors and offer students access to expertise in nearly 80 industries.
LSA Connect is focused on improving student access. The LSA Opportunity Hub, the college’s career exploration center, created an accessible way for LSA students to connect with alums for meaningful career conversations where mentorships can authentically unfold. It’s this vision that compelled Mark (A.B., 1981) and Julie Gerstein to fund LSA Connect, which is just one program under the umbrella of the Gerstein Family Mentorship Program.
The Gersteins hope that an online community like LSA Connect will give all LSA students unprecedented access to mentoring in order to level social capital in the post-collegiate world.
“We believe that one of the critical bridges between a broad liberal arts education and career pursuits is mentorship,” said Mark Gerstein. “That's also a view that the Hub shares.”
And it's a belief that the Hub is already putting into practice. LSA junior Patience Young had such an experience.
"Amy [an LSA alum] was so kind and helpful. We had a great conversation and I have some good new leads to look into while I hunt for internships. She even offered to read over my cover letters," said Young, who is majoring in creative writing, on her connection with Amy Silberman Leveton, president of her own boutique marketing and communications firm in Washington, DC.
LSA Connect makes dialogues between students and alums easier and more enriching by connecting alums to students whose academic and professional interests align with their expertise, geographic locations, identities, and more. Students can leverage easy-to-use, mobile-friendly features such as one-on-one messaging, phone and video calling, and a discussion board with crowd-sourced questions and answers to glean the insights and advice they’re looking for.
Biopsychology, Cognition & Neuroscience sophomore Janeann Paratore also shared a recent experience with her alum connection, Nichole McCaffrey, a pediatric hospitalist from Chicago. "This meeting far surpassed all of my expectations,” Paratore said. “This was my first interaction on LSA Connect. Nichole was willing to answer all of my questions and offer whatever help I may need in the future. It was super helpful!"