From undergraduate to alumni: how Student Alumni can help


Though a Cougar’s time as a student will end, they will forever carry the name of BYU on their shoulders — and many BYU alumni want to make students’ transitions to alumni as easy as possible.

Student Alumni is a volunteer-based, student-run organization within Alumni Services, whose focus is to help students become successful alumni who are willing to give back to the university one day. They offer various seminars and networking programs for undergraduates to prepare them for life after college.

The Student Alumni coordinator, Curtis Isaak, emphasized the importance of networking for students of every major when it comes to finding a job. Student Alumni tries to help mentor undergraduates because it will impact their future careers and lives.

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Alumni and students participating in the Take a Cougar to Lunch program
“You are a student for four to five years but you are an alumni for life,” Isaak said.

Erika Nash, next year’s executive vice-president of Student Alumni, got involved at the end of her freshman year because she liked the purpose of Student Alumni.

“The thing that I really love about Student Alumni is how it’s not just fun activities,” Nash said. “It’s a really worthwhile group because we’re making connections with alumni all the time.”

Three of the annual networking activities provided are the Professional Etiquette Dinner, the Networking Event and the year-round Take a Cougar to Lunch program.

Nash was the program director for some of these events.

“Essentially what we do is create opportunities for students to connect with former alumni,” Nash said.

The Professional Etiquette Dinner is an event that will be held again Fall 2012. The dinner not only includes instruction on etiquette when dining out, but has alumni table hosts who attend and network with students. This event is targeted at preparing students who will be interviewing for internships and talking with future employers.

The Networking Event will take place winter 2013. The event brings together students with 40 to 60 alumni of different professions for a presentation on how to make connections and to speed network.

The year-round Take a Cougar to Lunch program is a face-to-face mentoring session over lunch with an alumni of a student’s choice. Alumni volunteer and sign up online through Student Alumni and students can go on to the website and choose an alumnus who is a professional in the field they want to work in. Lunch is provided by the alumnus and students are encouraged to ask questions to decide if that career path is right for them. Students may participate in this program as many times as they wish.

Student Alumni president Jared Colten said these programs are a connection tool.

“The programs help you connect with alum who are where you would like to end up in 10 to 15 years,” Colten said.

These programs have been successful enough that students have been offered internships, jobs or gained a mentor.

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