Panthers Connect with Career Development Opportunities
Over 100 student-athletes had the opportunity to expand their professional networks at the annual Career Networking night on February 9, sponsored by the Cathy and John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program. Throughout the course of the evening, the student-athletes had the opportunity to connect with professionals from dozens of fields, running the gamut from business and finance to government and law, with many networkers being Pitt alumni.
"This annual event allows our student-athletes to be in an environment where they can exercise their professional development training and gain valuable insight on a variety of career fields," said Penny Semaia, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Student Life. "We're fortunate to have so many professionals either come back to this program as Pitt alumni or just out of their desire to help our student-athletes succeed."
The event was broken into two primary sessions. The first segment was a speed networking event, where student-athletes were able to practice some of the impression management skills that they had developed through the Professional Etiquette Training Series events that the Life Skills office had put on throughout the fall and early spring semester. In that session, the networkers were able to help the student-athletes by providing feedback on how well the student-athletes presented themselves in the limited time that they spent with each of the many networkers that they were able to meet in that span. The second part of the evening was a more relaxed, industry-driven networking opportunity where student-athletes were able to meet with specific professionals from any number of fields that were present to discuss potential career development opportunities and to learn more about prospective careers.
"Coming to Networking Night was an incredibly valuable experience for me", said Mike Caprara, a junior member of the Football team. "I was able to both work on some of the things that I need to address most, and got to meet with people working in various fields to find a path for my own professional growth. It was a highly successful night."
The networkers present represented a wide variety of fields, and they were widely impressed by how the student-athletes presented themselves throughout the evening. "The student-athletes here really acquitted themselves well", said Nick Kerin, one of the networkers, and the youngest field representative in the Pennsylvania State Senate at 22 years of age. "Not far separated from the collegiate experience myself, I know how tricky the early networking process can be. Pitt has done a great service to its student athletes by putting this program together, and the student-athletes have done themselves well by being highly professional, polished, and ready to take on the challenges before them." Many of the student-athletes were able to develop relationships with professionals in various fields, and were hopeful that the experience would enable them to have a jump-start on their careers after their time at Pitt. Sophomore, junior and senior student-athletes were in attendance, which also allowed for a diversity of experiences that enabled both professional and peer networking and insights to be of benefit to the student-athletes.
The mission of the Cathy & John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program is to develop and prepare student-athletes for success while in college and for life after college, utilizing academic, athletic and community resources. The Cathy & John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program continues to expand its commitment to the offerings and opportunities in academic and athletic achievement, career development, community service, leadership development, and character and personal development.
To keep up-to-date with the work of Pitt student-athletes in the Life Skills program, follow the program on Twitter or Instagram at their handle @PittLifeSkills, or through their Pitt Life Skills Facebook Account.
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