Third-year marketing student Sofi Choinski took BA 197, a one-credit asynchronous business seminar course for students pursuing a major at Penn State Smeal, in her first semester at the University’s Abington Campus. She says it was an excellent way to prepare for her transition to University Park.

According to Smeal academic advisor and course instructor Evan Smith, the course introduces students to “one of the best resources Smeal has: it’s alumni.” During the class, students are given a virtual networking assignment. They are paired with an alumni volunteer and are expected to send an introductory email and plan a 30-minute Zoom meeting.

For many students, it’s their first professional contact.

Choinski says the course helped her align her priorities and goals as an early Smeal student.

“BA 197 gives early learners the opportunity to see what the future can look like with their Smeal degree and assists them in figuring out the steps to get there,” she says. “My alumni connection encouraged me to utilize Smeal’s Business Career Center events page and attend every career fair I could. She also encouraged me to join organizations that would support my career goals, which led me to the Penn State American Marketing Association and Women in Business.”

Smith says they’re always looking to recruit more alumni volunteers for those one-on-one conversations or to be part of an in-person or Zoom panel. To learn how to get involved, scan the QR code below:

– Anne Louise Cropp