Freshman Networking Dinner
Written by Abby Wray on September 19, 2019
Speaking as a fellow freshman, students were either excited or apprehensive walking into the networking dinner on Thursday, September 19th at Martinelli’s Little Italy. But it is fair to say every student left with a full stomach, a good conversation, and possibly even a connection to the real world in their job of choice. This year, 35 different business and education professionals were present at the dinner and 7 of these professionals were KWU Alumnus. Personally, it was a pleasure to meet with someone who has professional experience in a field I was interested in.
Patsy Stockham is the person behind the event in conjunction with the Wesleyan Experience classes. This year was Stockham’s second year running the event and she thought it was a success saying, “I was very pleased with the event last night… I spoke to Dr. Thompson and we both felt that the students were very engaged in conversation with their tables, their peers, and professional mentors. The feedback was students saying, ‘Thank you for doing this, it was really cool, I got to meet some really neat professionals.’ And the professionals came back and said, ‘Wow this is an amazing event and you have a really great group of students and I want to stay in touch later on.’
Martinelli’s was a good place to have the event-great food (we were served bread, salad, and two different pasta dishes), positive and competent wait staff, and enough seating to accommodate our large crowd. This was the first year each table came preset with an envelope with some “conversation starters” in them. Among these pieces of paper were questions like- What’s the difference between business casual and business professional? What is the importance of networking? Name something interesting about yourself. These prompts opened the avenues for conversations that otherwise would not have come up and were a helpful tool to avoid awkward silences and pauses.
While I was at Martinelli’s I had the opportunity to try the cheesecake and I would highly recommend it in the future. It was creamy, sweet, silky, and all around really good. It was clearly a homemade cheesecake.
When asked about the future of this event and if it will continue for freshman classes to come, Stockham said, “I do believe we will plan on doing this event every year.” She went on to talk about the importance of the event and the connections made during it being impactful to students futures and careers.
“I think the biggest takeaway [from the event] is that the students learn they can communicate in a professional way. For many of these students they have never encountered an event like this, they have never sat at a table with a vice president of a bank or the owner of a company and communicated with them on a level of this could be you someday. This is something totally new for most of these students if not all these students. The key takeaway is there are a lot of people out there that want to see you successful,” – Patsy Stockham
As Stockholm said at the beginning of the dinner, “I’m sure this dinner will be one the freshman won’t soon forget.”