Leadership Alumni Series Connects Students with Industry

As with many things regarding COVID-19, restricted travel and lack of in-person classes have stopped CCI alumni from visiting classes. The IT Leadership class has always hosted 4-6 alumni each semester as part of an initiative to share industry knowledge, recruitment strategies, and information about leadership programs. COVID-19, however, presented an excellent opportunity for the program to expand its reach. The Alumni Leadership Series was formally launched this Fall with a focus on connecting students with recent alumni.

Ebe Randeree, Associate Dean in the College, seized the opportunity. He said that “It has been tough for students to expand their network, visit employers, and attend career fairs during Covid restrictions. Going virtual presented an opportunity to expand our reach with many alumni sitting at home and only a zoom call away. The goal of the series is to foster networking that allows for professional, and personal growth and builds links across CCI generations.”

Alissa Ovalle Marquez was active in many student organizations on campus. Alissa said that she enjoyed meeting the students and answering their questions on life transitions and excelling in their careers.  She said “From in-class EQ building exercises to alumni and industry speakers, the IT Leadership class aided in my transition from college to career. As a first-generation college graduate, I am thankful for my lessons and experiences from the course; the series builds a platform for alumni of diverse backgrounds to share their experiences and provide mentorship for the next group of leaders.”

Martin Sung was AITP President while at FSU.  He said “Understand the power of making connections with people and work on it every day. That is my most important lesson learned as an IT student, and I practice this lesson every single day. It’s the focal point on how I got to where I am today, and it has never been more important especially in a world where we can no longer meet/congregate face-to-face. I am humbled and excited to share my experiences with soon-to-be graduates as they embark on their professional journeys. Noles lead the way!”

Emily Logan is a current student in the Leadership Class.  According to her, she “enjoyed the alumni profiles because not only were they a great way to expand our network, but we also got to learn about real-life experiences in a variety of different jobs. The best part of having alumni come and speak in class is knowing that they were once in our position and are now working at amazing companies all over the world.”

Alumni have been eager to participate and the following alumni joined the class this Fall:

  • Ashley Augustine, PMP (BS ICT ’13)
    • PMO/Compliance Manager @ Brandt Information Systems
  • William Beachem (BS IT ’15)
    • Developer Support Engineer @ Microsoft
  • Hannah Brock (BS IT ’17)
    • Data Analyst-Business Intelligence @ State Farm
  • Allison Cannan (BS MIS ’18, IT Minor)
    • Business Analyst @ Chick-fil-A
  • Sophia Gallo (BS ICT ’18)
    • Associate Recruiter @ Reliaquest
  • Juan Gomez (BS IT ’15)
    • Account Executive, Google Cloud @ Google
  • Joshua Goraum (BS IT ’18)
    • Software Engineer @ The Home Depot
  • Michael Helfrich (BS IT ’14)
    • Corporate Operations Engineer L4 @ Google
  • Russ Hill Jr, CSM (BS ICT ’15)
    • IT Project Manager & Software Developer @ General Motors
  • Kendra Kelly
    • Lead Campus Recruiter @ A-Lign
  • Natalie Marcelo (BS IT ’19)
    • Systems Engineer @ Lockheed Martin
  • Alissa Ovalle Marquez (BS IT ’17)
    • Developer, Cloud Infrastructure Services @ Capgemini
  • Tanmay Mehrotra (BS IT ’16)
    • Consultant @ Deloitte Consulting
  • Meredith McNulty (BS IT ’19)
    • Analyst @ Deloitte Consulting
  • Chelsea Schneider (BS ICT ’17)
    • Employee Experience @ Electronic Arts
  • Martin Sung (BS IT ’16)
    • Program Delivery & IT Transformation Leader @ Availity

For IT leadership student, Jessica Cox, the speakers have been amazing.  She said that “Through the diverse group of class speakers, I have been able to make connections and hear perspectives on different career paths. I greatly enjoyed listening to their stories and how they reached their current roles.  It has encouraged me to improve my leadership, networking and communication skills by reaching out and asking questions.”

Michael Helfrich was also active on campus in various student organizations and in his internships.  Due to COVID-19, he said that “Many students no longer have these privileges or opportunities and that’s made things extremely challenging for so many.”  Michael has always been supportive of the College. In his words, “I’ve wanted to be able to give back to FSU and College of Communication and Information and talk about the direction of technology and additionally some of the skills/talents we’re looking for in various roles; luckily I’ve been able to take part in these remote sessions and talk with Ebe and his classes about my experience going from college into my career. My hope is that the knowledge I share can better prepare all of those interested in my field of technology or line of work.”

Allison Cannan has been a frequent guest in the leadership class. In her reflection, she said “I enjoyed discussing the impact that technology has on all aspects of any industry whether it be supporting supply chain or marketing. When I was in school, I never could have imagined the wide range of roles that were out there. It felt like my options were a business analyst or a software engineer from job applications with no real understanding of what that meant. Without getting the exposure from networking with alumni and visiting different companies, I never would have known what I was interested in. I am glad I got the opportunity to shed some light during this time by sharing my experience supporting a financial services department as a business analyst”