The Kean University Alumni Association hosted the event Alumni and Student Networking "Night of Stars," on Thursday Nov. 30, 2017 located in North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB) sixth floor at 6 p.m. Networking Night of Stars emphasized the importance of taking an opportunity and asking questions.
The goal of the Kean University Alumni Association is to promote the growth, status and mission of the university by connecting the alumni and the university community. They also strive to develop alumni services as a means of encouraging alumni to maintain a continuing relationship with university, its students, programs and events.
The event started with a warm welcome from Alissa Di Scala who had thanked the alumni and encouraged students to gain more experience through networking and development.
"The students will be given 60 minutes for speed networking which includes four 15 minute sessions to ask questions," Di Scala said.
Di Scala then introduced Linda Baron, Master of Arts Kean class of 2010 and 2011, founder and executive director for Bright Futures Club Inc. Baron is now pursuing a doctorate in family science and development with a primary focus on the systematic strengths and challenges of Latino families with special needs. Baron has also helped many immigrant families, young professionals, families with special needs and at-risk youth.
"Imagine being 17 years old dreaming of a college life; how great it most have been, how amazing it would be to walk across the stage and get that degree, to be the first person in your family to get a college degree. Now can you imagine being told that you are illegal, that you do not have a social security or green card meaning that you can not go to college. Or you can not receive a scholarship you earned with all your hours of hard work; that everything means nothing," Baron explained. "That was my reality when I was 17 years old but I was able to help my family to the path or the green card and eventually an American citizenship. None of this would have been possible if I didn't exercise the most powerful tool that I have, my voice. I say speak, listen, process and then speak again and tonight we are here to speak about a very important topic networking."
Di Scala then introduced Senior Vice President of CNBC, Steve Fastook, Kean class of 2006. He was responsible for the production of Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Dateline, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and Today. One of Fastook's favorite projects was the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, considered the longest running show "down Broadway!"
"So I got a job and I kept a job, in order for you to achieve this you need to listen and be yourself. Do not expand your career at the expense of someone else, it's a small world you will find someone later or they will find you," Fastook said.
Students were then able to go around network to many majors including: Human Resources, Communications, Journalism, Criminal Justice, Accounting, Science and Education and many more.
There were many alumni professionals who were ready and willing to answer questions and to speak about their journey to their success, the alumni present included:
- Curricula Coordinator Dariel Bobadilla, Class of 2014 and 2016
- Senior Accountant at Mazar Sofia Cordero, Class of 2013
- Scientist at Ortho Clinical Diagnostics Carlos Danis, Class of 2006
- Senior Accountant at Mazars Santiago GarcesCano, Class of 2009
- Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor at Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Alexandra Jara, Class of 2014
- Attorney at Norris, McLaughlin & Marcus Jeralyn Lawrence, Class of 1992
- Attorney at HSBC Bank Mark LoSacco, Class of 1988
- Sales Specialist at NBC Universal Pamela Mata, Class of 2015
- Director at MetLife Maritza Matlosz, Class of 1981
- Supply Chain Management at REVLON Gregory McCormack, Class of 2014
- Fulfillment Manager at Hearthcolor Santiago Mirabal, Class of 2011
- Investigator at United States Department of Labor Latifah Oliver, Class of 2007 and 2009 with a Masters in Public Administration
- Compliance Examiner at Forester Financial Johan Paredes, Class of 2013
- President and CEO at Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc. Scott N. Schober, Class of 1992
- Principal Architect at Arkitecture Plus Susana Sequira Tavera, Class of 2003
- Recruiter at Forrest Solutions Group Lajuana Timothy, Class of 2007
- Journalist at Univision Maria Vargas-Pion, Class of 2010
- Teacher Patricia Swick, Class of 2010
- Principal at Newark Public Schools Deneen Washington, Class of 2015
- District manager at Speedway Steven Zheng, Class of 2012
Students were assisted with questions to help them gain confidence when speak with the alumni such as:
- What is your story?
- How did you decide to do what you do?
- What is a typical work day like?
Patricia M. Barksdale '95, was then introduced. Barksdale is the vice president of wealth management for Merrill Lynch. She was named one of the 2007 Women of Influence in Finance by the Women's Fund of New Jersey and was an honoree at the Women's History Celebration by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2008.
"One of the questions I was asked was how did your degree help you? My degree was like a key and the key opened up a door. My suggestion is whatever you do let it be something you would do in your sleep or for free, if you weren't paid. Even when you're having a bad day if you're doing something you want to do it will be worth it," Barksdale mentioned.
Students were then encouraged to stay and connect with alumni once again which many students took advantage of an began a journey to their success.
If students have any questions or concerns regarding networking services they can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 973-737-2586.