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Alumni Career Night: Connecting Real Learning with Real Life

Alumni Career Night

by Megan Trigg

Walking into Upper Champlin, the officers of the Business Careers Club never expected such a great turn out for Alumni Career Night. The event was made possible by an eager group of students in collaboration with the Student Success Center and the Office of Advancement.

Last year, Alumni Career Night was on a much smaller scale and focused on alumni from the business field. This year, the event covered a broad scale of majors from Graphic Design to Agricultural Business. Romario Nicholas, Business Careers Club President, stated that, “This year, we wanted to broaden the event and represent more majors.” The broad spectrum of majors drew more students to the event and created an excellent turn out altogether.

The Panelists

From the Agricultural Business major, alumni Katie Bigness is working as a NY Agriculture in the Classroom State Director at Cornell University. Before graduating from SUNY Cobleskill, Katie interned at the 4H National Council in Washington D.C. and for FFA. Katie was also Student Government President during her time in college and learned a lot about managing budgets, keeping minutes, and other skills that continue to be used in Katie’s current job. Katie’s piece of advice for Cobleskill students was, “Do as many internships as you can and try doing things outside of your comfort zone. Leave things better than how you found them.”

Adam Rotman graduated with a bachelor’s in Agricultural Equipment Technology and is currently working at Kinder Morgan.

Colin Hostetter achieved a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business Management and graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with high honors. Today, Colin is working for Farm Credit East in Cobleskill. When discussing advice to give to future SUNY Cobleskill grads, Colin said, “Learn about the different options that are available. The job you might end up wanting – you might not know it exists until you start searching.”

Dana Elbrecht discussed her career after graduating with a bachelor’s in animal science.

Misty Green talked with students about what her degree in Business Administration has done to help her with life after college.

Jennifer Regelski graduated from SUNY Cobleskill with a bachelor’s in Agricultural Business Management and is now Vice President of Key Bank in Cobleskill. Jennifer started college being unsure of what her path would be after graduation. After Jennifer started interning and gaining more experiences at college, she started to find her way. Jennifer explained the importance of networking and said, “Talk to as many people as you can. Learn and try to gain as many soft interpersonal skills as you can.”

Spencer Schmerzler, a graduate of the Culinary Arts degree, discussed his experiences of being a leader in the kitchen of the Glimmerglass Festival.

Said Yassin completed a bachelor’s degree in Financial Services and is now working at the Bank of Richmondville.

Pete Nichols received a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Technology and is now a part of Schoharie County Soil and Water.

From the Graphic Design major, the panel had SUNY Cobleskill graduate Paul Engel and his business partner Chelsea Leeder. The two are currently working for Beekman 1802.

Barbara Perry, who now works for Bassett Healthcare at the Cobleskill hospital, represented the Science major.

For the Wildlife Management major, David McDougall CWB is an alumni now working as a Kleinfelder Biologist.

Sonali Eaton provided incredible insight on how all of the different aspects of her college career and how her Communications degree made her stand out in her current field. Sonali currently works as a Public Relations Coordinator at a non-profit organization in Syracuse. Along with working in PR, Sonali started her own business where she does photography, web development, videography, and graphic design for her clients. Sonali stressed how much the classes she took in college helped her in her career, she said, “I didn’t know how much I would use what I learned at college in my job.” Sonali spoke very highly of Professor Erik Hage. She stated, “His classes are what made me want to get into the Communications field.”  Sonali was one of the first in her class to graduate from the Communications major. Sonali, along with many of the other alumni, stressed the importance of networking. “Networking is so important because you never know what opportunities you will receive,” emphasized Sonali.

Throughout the room, you could see students and alumni in deep conversation. The majority of the alumni provided resumes for the students to view and take with them. Along with giving students insight on their experiences during and after SUNY Cobleskill, many alumni provided contact information and were more than happy to help students if they had any further questions.