Ask an alum night

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Mentoring event pairs successful alumni with undergraduates.

They came from all over, and from all majors.

Rowan University’s annual Ask an Alum night drew dozens of successful graduates back to their alma mater with one goal in mind – to help today’s students be successful too.

The graduates, some of whom found careers in areas far afield of what they studied in college, advised students that success is often more the result of drive, persistence, and belief in oneself than a choice of major.

“I really enjoyed my time here and just want to help students find what they want to do in life,” said Gina Lemanowicz, Communication/Journalism ’03.

Lemanowicz, who minored in Law & Justice, interned with the State Division of Criminal Justice and today is an investigator with the N.J. Department of Banking and Insurance.

A civil investigator, she investigates all manner of insurance fraud, from falsification of auto policies to medical fraud.

“I’m a big fan of internships,” said Lemanowicz, who was active with Rowan Radio as a student and still hosts two shows on WGLS. “If you haven’t had an internship, get one. Better still, do two.”

Greg Harris, ’94, an Industrial Technology major, found his niche in commercial software sales and had some keen advice for undergraduates.

“These days you need to be as technologically savvy as possible,” he said.

For many job seekers that means more than a Facebook account, he said. It means real social networking, particularly in areas in which you hope to pursue a career and through sites like Linked-In where you can network with other professionals.

“Hiring officers want to know what your digital footprint is like,” Harris said. “They want to know you’re connected to relatives, friends, anyone who might be in a business that you want to get in.”

Joe Lempa, an ’81 graduate with a degree in Management Information Systems, said what you don’t do on your job search is sometimes as important as what you do.

“Never lie on a resume,” said Lempa, a computer programmer with a Pennsylvania investment firm. “Always be honest and always be able to explain every line on your resume.”

The March 3 program, organized by Rowan’s Office of Alumni Relations and the Career and Academic Planning center, was a two-hour mentoring session in which students had an opportunity to learn about a wide range of career options without the pressure of a formal interview.

“It’s very casual,” explained Christina Davidson of Alumni Relations. “This is a chance for students to speak with someone in criminal justice, for example, and find out what they need on their resume to land that type of job.”

Davidson said many of the alumni attending travelled several hours to sit and meet with students in the Eynon Ballroom in the Chamberlain Student Center.

Beth Rey, an assistant director in the CAP center, said the opportunity to meet with professionals could be priceless.

“It’s a great way to practice that 30-second commercial, that quick pitch they simply have to be able to make to a potential employer,” Rey said.

“I’ve got to say, it’s been real helpful,” said Preston Canales, 20, a junior marketing major from Cinnaminson. “When I leave college I want to know what to expect.”

Public relations major Andrea Paton said she didn’t just meet professionals, she added to her list of contacts.

“This type of event can be the first step in your career,” said Paton, 22, of Sewell. “If it’s offered again next year, come on out and do it.”

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