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Alumni Career Fair Boosts Upperclassmen’s College and Career Awareness
Students in Zoom call with Rodgers Dameron '01

Students participate in a Zoom call with freelance animator Rodgers Dameron ’01.

On Friday, Feb. 4, juniors and seniors in the Upper School participated in a virtual Alumni Career Fair in which Ravenscroft graduates representing a wide array of fields shared their experiences, perspectives and advice.

The event is part of a comprehensive College Transition Series designed to prepare seniors for their next steps as college freshmen. Nineteen alumni representing fields ranging from athletic training and medicine to law and digital animation — and spanning 30 years of graduating classes — joined groups via Zoom to chat and answer questions.

As Sam Borkovic, Upper School counselor, explained, “Our seniors are preparing for their journey after Ravenscroft, with many already knowing where they will be next fall, and our juniors are really beginning the college application process. In terms of supporting student mental health and wellness, this event gave a better sense of what to expect in college and early professional life and fostered relationships with both peers and alumni who share the same interests.” 

For the members of the College Counseling team, who helped plan and facilitate the sessions, the event is part of a long history of similar events geared toward helping upperclassmen prepare for college — albeit in a slightly different format.

“In years past we did a number of different versions of the career fair — efforts that for the most part involved alums and parents who would talk about their careers,” Bill Pruden noted. “It took many forms, sometimes including a keynote speaker followed by small panels, sometimes lunchtime gatherings with the whole slate of speakers spread out over a week or so.”

While the virtual format was in part a concession to COVID-mitigation protocols, Alumni Engagement Officer Dan Ressner ’99, who helped line up the speakers, noted, “Moving the career fair into the virtual space this year allowed us to bring in alumni from around the country to share about their careers with our current juniors and seniors. I was so pleased to see how much the current Ravens got out of the sessions and know that the valuable connections that were started here will bear fruit for them as they leave campus and enter the professional world themselves.”

Many student attendees agreed. “I attended the meetings with Kathleen Brandes ’15 (Technology/Engineer) and Laura Kalorin ’92 (Medicine). I was hoping that I would get to speak with women in the STEM field, so I was really happy with how they turned out,” Carter Anderson ’23 said. “I’m particularly interested in computer science and engineering, so it was really cool to speak with Kathleen. What I found most interesting was her information about how many jobs/fields you can go into with computer science/robotics. Since so many places need software engineers and computer experts, with that degree, you can work almost anywhere.”

A list of events in the College Transition Series

Olivia Barefoot ’22 said, “I attended Melis Tanik Kelly ’10’s session about her position as a Human Resources Business Partner at Input Output and Boz Zellinger ’99’s session about his position as a Special Prosecutor for the N.C. Attorney General. I chose these sessions to attend as I aspire to go into a civil rights law career. As a part of Mr. Zellinger’s session, I was able to inquire about his experience navigating through college in regard to prepping for the LSAT, law school and the Bar Exam. The advice he gave in his response was profoundly helpful and assisted in guiding how I now view the next four years of my educational journey. He not only underlined how the writing foundations Ravenscroft has provided me with will aid me in law-oriented goals but also how I should explore a range of diverse activities and opportunities during college to prepare for law school. He placed special emphasis on how truly understanding the world, people, and perspectives around me are crucial to making it in a law profession.” 

Other students appreciated getting advice about college and work life as well. Naven McDonald ’22, who also attended Brandes’s technology session, said, “I was most interested in the topic of her college experience. She spoke about the extremity of balance in college between fun and studies. Although I knew from experience how to balance studies and fun, she made me think. College is a path that can have a time limit, in which we have to take advantage of everything accessible to us.”

Harrison Poole ’23 said of his sessions with Alex Cooley ’13 (Private Equity) and Grayson Miller ’11 (Finance), “I really enjoyed learning about what daily work-life entailed for these people — how long they work, how much of their work is behind the desk and different things they do for their jobs. I also learned a lot about what it takes to get to the places they are today, for example internships and things of that nature. Lastly, I enjoyed learning about how much they enjoyed their jobs and advice they gave on going into their distinctive fields.”

All of these new perspectives will benefit our college-bound students, Co-Director of College Counseling Sean Kennedy said. “Career events satisfy a curiosity about a world students have yet to enter. Early exploration can yield valuable insight for future decision making.”

Colleague Lia Prugh summed up the value of the experience this way: “While college is still meant to be a time of exploration, it is helpful for students to get a sense of different career opportunities out there, especially because there are new careers being created all the time! We are grateful that our alums who can also speak to their Ravenscroft experience can provide guidance and advice to our juniors and seniors.”

Read about the many accomplishments of Ravenscroft alumni here!

Students in a Zoom session with Emily Procter '86

Ravenscroft Fine Arts Hall of Fame member Emily Procter ’86 shares her experiences as an actor and nonprofit founder.