The 12th annual USD Student Alumni Association’s “Take a Torero to Lunch” event Thursday gave current students a chance to meet and speak with alumni, ask questions, get advice, listen, and, above all, make a connection.
“It was time well spent,” said sophomore Alina Calva, who is studying business administration and environmental studies and attended this event for the second time. “It’s a good way to interact with both alumni and meet other students, too, that I might not know but who have the same interests as me.”
Maggie Wilhelm is in the first year of a three-year master’s counseling program, specializing in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. She said waiting until the third year to do a practicum means she’s searching now for an internship opportunity to maximize her skills. Attending Take a Torero to Lunch was one way to go.
“I enjoy the networking aspect of it,” she said. “The best way to find a job is by meeting people and knowing people in the field. This was a great opportunity to meet people.”
One alumna who had Calva and Wilhelm’s attention was 2007 USD graduate Meghan McGuire. The director of recruitment at Northwestern Mutual was the event’s keynote speaker. McGuire earned a degree in Communication Studies and minored in business and non-profit management. She earned a certificate in USD’s event management program in 2009.
Since graduation McGuire’s maintained much of the same busy schedule as when she was an undergrad. At USD, McGuire (pictured, at right) was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, Lambda Pi Eta Honors Society, Outdoor Adventures, Associated Students, Ambassadors Club and the Dance Team. Much of that activity came after her college soccer career lasted only one season due to a knee injury.
As an alumna, McGuire’s connection to USD continues to serve her desire to network and meet people. When she’s not looking over resumes and potential applicants, she’s a Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter advisor, a USD Homecoming Committee member and was co-host of USD’s five-year reunion class last fall. She’s involved with numerous community organizations and causes, too. Each opportunity is a chance for something new and interesting.
In fact, she provided students Thursday with five recommendations to not only get the most out of their time at USD, but ways to be more pro-active.
“First, it’s OK not to know what you want to do right now — I changed my major four times,” she said. “It gave me the chance to try new things. This is also a good way to find out what you don’t want. Do a study abroad trip; Do multiple internships; Join up to three campus clubs to meet new people, maybe take on a leadership role in one of them; and the fifth one is networking. It’s so important.”
Alumni present for the lunch — many of them from the USD Young Alumni Network — included those working in real estate, law, supply chain management, nonprofit, biotech, finance, environment/government, marketing, youth services, higher education, computer software sales and career counseling.
Christine Montevideo, a 2006 alumna, is the infant and toddlers program manager for the nonprofit organization, Voices for Children. She is a frequent participant at this event and said she enjoyed the chance to attend what is one of her best opportunities to give back to her alma mater.
“I feel it’s very important for me to come back to USD and to be part of the process of helping students prepare for that next step. It’s important for them to build relationships. Having an event like this one is great so that students can practice their networking skills now.”
Asked what advice she wanted students at her table to take away from this experience, she said, “Try not to get overwhelmed with finding your dream job right out of college. It will take some time to figure out what you like and what direction to go. Just be patient with yourself.”
— Ryan T. Blystone