Graduate School Alumni Society reception expands students' professional network

November 20, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Expanding upon an established program of outreach to Penn State graduate students, the board of directors of the Penn State Graduate School Alumni Society (GSAS) shared professional insights and career advice with the leadership of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) during a networking reception Nov. 6 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

In the weeks prior to the reception, the board provided organizational support for the Graduate School’s annual Career Exploration Workshop, and board member Amit Das offered a presentation on select professional development topics during one of the GPSA’s assembly meetings in October.

“Graduate education is the backbone of any research institution,” said Krishna Nadella, president of the Graduate School Alumni Society. “At Penn State, this is no different, and we work very hard at the Graduate School to ensure that students are equipped with all the necessary skills and opportunities to succeed, not just during their time on campus but also in their future careers, be it in the academy or in the private and public sector.

“By connecting Graduate School alumni with Graduate School students, we are creating and bridging relationships that have the possibility of lasting long after graduation. From personal experience, I know how valuable these can be, and to this day, still keep in touch with several alumni I met when I was a graduate student. The board of directors looks forward to sponsoring many more of these in the future, and in the process, continue to connect our past with our present and future.”

Nicole M. Benevento, vice president of External Affairs for the GPSA, noted the numerous benefits the graduate students derived from the reception.

“As a Ph.D. student who is about to finish up her degree, I felt the opportunity to speak with the GSAS board members was extremely beneficial for me — and not only from a networking standpoint,” said Benevento. “Since the conversation was informal, we had the opportunity to find out more about the career paths of the different Graduate School alumni on the board. While many students attend graduate school with the goal of ending up in the academy, that is not the end goal for an increasing number of students. Knowing how to cultivate the additional skills we learn in graduate school and market those skills is important, and alumni can provide insights into how to do that.

“As a representative of GPSA on the alumni society board of directors, I was pleased that other graduate students got the opportunity to find out more about GSAS and provide feedback on how the board can best serve the existing graduate student population, be that through mentoring, providing a professional network, offering professional development support, or other initiatives.”

The GSAS is a constituent society of the Penn State Alumni Association. The organization’s mission is to nurture relationships between Penn State graduate students and alumni, both nationally and internationally; advance graduate education and research; and increase graduate alumni membership in the Penn State Alumni Association.

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Last Updated November 20, 2015