Students Learn from Young Alumni at Networking Event

March 25, 2019

By Alexis Soucy

Six young Saint Anselm College alumni returned to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics (NHIOP) on March 20 to share their job experiences in government and politics with current students. 

The alumni in attendance included Joe Alexander ’17, N.H. State Representative; Ashley Motta ’17, Constituent Services Representative for Congressman Chris Pappas; Brian O’Connor ’16, Policy Analyst for Mass. House of Representatives; Brandon Pratt ’18, Special Assistant to Governor Chris Sununu; Clare Robbins ’18, N.H. Scheduler for Senator Jeanne Shaheen; and Donald Stokes ’17, Community Engagement Director for Mayor Joyce Craig.

To kick off the event, the former Kevin B. Harrington Student Ambassadors introduced themselves and spoke briefly about their careers. They then transitioned to roundtable discussions, where students could network with the alumni of their choosing and learn more about the steps that led them to the positions they now hold.

“As a rising senior, I was able to talk about internships and opportunities as well as advice on how to get the ball rolling after graduation,” explained politics major Melanie Fey ’20. “With so many different avenues to choose from, young alumni know exactly what you are thinking and can give a sturdy helping hand.”

Sarah Murphy ’20, also a politics major, enjoyed talking with old friends Pratt and Robbins. “Brandon is working specifically in the communication field for Gov. Sununu, and he gave some great advice that you should find your focus,” she shared. “Clare gave some really great advice about how to look for jobs after college. Hearing her story about how she got to where she is was really helpful.”

According to recent graduate Pratt, being back on campus with other young alumni was a humbling reminder of how much he learned from the faculty and staff at the NHIOP both in and out of the classroom. 

“The one-of-a-kind opportunities that we had while students at Saint Anselm College set us on the path for success,” stated Pratt. “At no other college in the country do students have access to such high-profile events and political figures. It's those experiences which make our young alumni so readily able to transition into their post-undergraduate careers.”

Lorie Cochran, executive assistant and head of the Student Ambassador program, coordinates these events so that students can network with alumni for possible internships. She explained that these events often expose students to a future they may have never thought about, as well.

“For example, students might hear from someone who was an international relations major, then graduated from Saint Anselm and went to work in a U.S. Senator’s office in D.C., when they might have thought only politics majors go to a Senate office,” said Cochran.

Politics major Sean Bentley ‘22 was one of the younger students in the room at the event, but he said he learned a lot about possible future career paths in politics and the importance of digital media as a skill for employees in the field.

“For those who are freshmen and sophomores, listening to our graduates might help shape their next few years at Saint Anselm College,” Cochran added. “Now they might engage in clubs and programs that our alumni were part of on campus.”

Cochran plans to host a larger alumni event in the fall so that students can network for possible spring and summer internships.