By Ellen Garnett
The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter at Simmons hosted its third annual Alumnae Networking Dinner last Wednesday. There were approximately 12 graduates of the Communications Department who gave some insight on post-graduation for 26 current students the day after the 2016 presidential election.
Although the dinner was meant for networking, it also provided a safe space for attendees to recognize the national political divide regarding President-elect Donald Trump. Ellen Grabiner, chair of the Communications Department, opened up the dinner by quoting the concession email of Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton.
“I encourage you to not grow weary,” said Grabiner. In sharing Clinton’s words of encouragement, Grabiner said that Clinton is more than her loss. “Hillary is a role model for who we are at Simmons, being a women-centered institution that values leadership.”
For many who attended the event, the dinner served as a reminder of the strong community ties that Simmons has to offer.
“The roots run deep,” said Nafeesa Connolly, a graduate of the class of 2014. “There’s a reason why our symbol is a tree. Know that you will always have a family at Simmons.”
Other alums echoed Connolly’s sentiment and shared their own nuggets of wisdom about their time at the College and work life after Simmons.
“Don’t underestimate yourself as you enter the workforce,” said Ali O’Connor, class of 2013. O’Connor referenced her insecurity in being new to a company and her responsibility to remind the CEO to follow deadlines. She quickly learned that even higher-ups need a nudge to follow directions, and her experiences at Simmons qualified her to provide that guidance.
Simmons alumnae reiterated the importance of having multiple internships to figure out what students like and do not like. Internships provide students with real-world experiences that make them stand out to employers when applying for jobs. For 2016 graduate Kendall Bauer, her spring internship at The Castle Group lead her to her full-time job at the women-owned PR agency as an account coordinator.
“Be patient with yourself in the process of graduating and transitioning to the real world,” said Bauer, who is still adjusting to life after Simmons.
This year’s PRSSA Alumnae Networking Dinner reassured Simmons students that their futures are full of opportunities.
“Remember you are valued,” said Elin Boman, a 2013 graduate. “You will all succeed no matter what you do.”