New Organization Provides Students Professional Connections

The Connecting Hub’s members strive in part to help Westminster students get in touch with graduate schools and study for the Graduate Record Exam, the exam they must pass in order to get in.

BY ROBERTA BURNS
GUEST CONTRIBUTOR 

Westminster’s new Connecting Hub Club was narrowly approved at the most recent Student Government Association meeting on Feb. 7. After multiple questions from senators, the club was ultimately accepted as Westminster’s newest organization, by a margin of two votes.


Kwame O’dame, ’17, along with the rest of the founding members Sireen Tamrakar, ’17, Shahil Shrestha, ’17, Mustafe Elmi, ’17, Ayush Manandhar, ’17, Arbind Shrestha, ’19, and Haocheng Xie, ’17, have formed this club with the goal of connecting students with professional opportunities.

Students formed the Connecting Hub with the goal of connecting students with professional opportunities.

The founding students came together in October of 2016 to solve a problem they viewed on campus. In their SGA meeting presentation, Manandhar and O’dame explained that there are currently not a lot of recruitment opportunities across all industries or majors on campus.  To solve this problem, Connecting Hub has made it its mission to “provide a platform for students to have access to conference opportunities across all industries.”

The Connecting Hub Club has made it its mission to “provide a platform for students to have access to conference opportunities across all industries.

Emerson Fellow and Westminster College alumna Lejla Dervišević has supported the club as they worked to have their constitution approved. At the SGA meeting, she explained the need for this type of organization. She spent her entire senior year and gap year researching programs around the world, contacting students and professors, scheduling visits, studying for the Graduate Record Exam, working on writing samples and statement of purpose, and simply just figuring out which program would be the best fit for her. This has given her a firsthand look at areas where students can benefit from Connecting Hub’s mission.

“The process of applying to graduate school requires more time and planning—and money of course—than most of us expect,” Dervišević said. “It is crucial to know someone at the institution you are interested in because they can put you in touch with professors or tell them a word or two about you.”

Dervišević noted that graduate school competition is especially steep for students seeking funding and that having someone explain how the process works makes it smoother.

“I was lucky to have enough time to be fully devoted to this process and to have professors who provided their support,” she said. “However, I think that there is a need on our campus for a platform where students can connect with alumni who recently gradated, so that they can provide advice. Connecting Hub is hoping to provide that platform.”

As a recent graduate herself, Dervišević emphasized her commitment to staying in contact with current students.

“I am looking forward to helping current and future Westminster students who express their interest in graduate schools in political science or public policy,” she said. “I want to pass my knowledge and connect them with people that I now know or will get to know as I start school in August. Like me, many other alumni would be so happy to help.”

“I am looking forward to helping current and future Westminster students who express their interest in graduate schools in political science or public policy.” – Emerson Fellow and Connecting Hub supporter Lejla Dervišević

Presenters at the SGA meeting said that, in addition to presenting conference opportunities, the activities hosted by Connecting Hub will potentially include video chat sessions with recently graduated alumni to talk about jobs and internships, resource groups for students who have attended conferences to share their experience and help others who are applying, and cosponsored events with Career Services and the Churchill Institute about dressing professionally, networking, and obtaining OPT/CPT/H1B Visas.

All of these events will revolve around their vision of a campus where students have access to professional opportunities regardless of their economic status.

This organization brings an array of new leadership opportunities and events for Westminster students to get involved with.

 

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