Dressed in professional attire, business cards in hand and ready to network at the blow of a whistle, journalism students and an assortment of local professionals gathered in the Adler Journalism Building Rotunda for what looked like speed dating.
Although snow flurries and extreme winds were working against the success of the event, turnout was the largest since the event launched in October 2010.
As the professionals stood in the center of the circle, the students stood around them, delivering their elevator pitches and sturdiest handshakes. Each student had exactly 3 minutes with roughly 15 professionals for the first 45 minutes of the event. At the blow of a whistle by Paul Jensen, internship and job placement coordinator at the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the students knew their 3 minutes were up and it was time to move on to the next professional. During the last 45 minutes, students were able to approach the professionals they had not talked to in the first part, or someone they had researched and were interested in pursuing.
Professionals such as Mike Wagner from KCRG, Zack Kucharski from the Gazette, Morgan Hawk with the Cedar Rapids Kernels, Jilian Petrus from Frank N. Magid Associates, and many others traveled to Adler to offer students insight and possible job or internship opportunities.
Annie Korkowski, a sophomore journalism major hoping to enter the public relations industry, was very pleased with the event. “The networking event was a great experience, providing a wonderful network of professionals and lasting conversations,” Korkowski said.
From the perspective of the event planner, I was nervous when the day of the event arrived and a handful of professionals dropped out due to weather, illness, or family emergencies. As I was searching my brain for replacements, I realized I had originally recruited extra professionals, in case of incidents like these. Willing professors such as David Dowling and Jane Singer were ready to step in to promote their classes and offer their previous industry experience . In the end, the Adler rotunda was filled with eager students and professionals, cheerful, conversations and lasting connections, regardless of the minor setback.
Some professionals were ready to grab up an intern from the pool of participants, as soon as they were willing. Anna Patty from Four Oaks was looking for an intern as soon as possible: any student who was willing to work with a non-profit in the PR industry. David Gamradt and Nicholas Tomlonovic were working together to gather a team of students who could help them expand UITV to The Hawkeye Network.
Although not every professional had jobs or internships to hand out to students, students were able to take advantage of the fact that they were building their network. After all, it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.