Volunteer spotlight: Alumni of Color panel gives students career advice
By Steve Seepersaud
Homecoming weekend is usually a time for alumni to catch up with friends and re-live the fun they had as students. However, it's also a time when some alumni choose to give back by sharing their expertise and experiences with current students.
The Multicultural Resource Center sponsored the 4th Annual Alumni of Color Mentoring and Networking Event on Saturday, Oct. 14, as part of Homecoming 2012. An accomplished panel of alumni, representing all of Binghamton's six schools, gave students advice on advancing in competitive professional fields.
Panelists were Carl Forbes '07, attorney at Proskauer Rose, LLP; Shornda Cadore '01, United Technologies Corp.; Doreen Yirenchi, '07, registered nurse and nurse practitioner for Neuro Medical Care Associates; Ivy Okang, '06, Visiting Nurse Service of New York; Tawanda Hutcherson '09, financial analyst for McGraw-Hill Co.; and Adrienne Martian '10, assurance for Ernst & Young LLP. Tiffany Campbell '12 from The Equity Project at Indiana University was the moderator. Cynthia Santiago-Guzman '91, MBA '93, an Alumni Association board member, provided welcoming remarks.
Yirenchi said she can relate to students being unsure about a career path, relating that her career choice changed several times.
"My parents wanted me to be a doctor," Yirenchi said. "I got a bachelor's in biology, then a master's in biology. I didn't want to go to medical school, so I got a bachelor's in nursing. I was a nurse for a year, and didn't want to be a nurse, so I got a master's in nursing to be a nurse practitioner."
Forbes advised the students to focus on being well-rounded, saying that getting involved with campus organizations can boost their career development. While a student, Forbes was an RA and involved with the Caribbean Student Association, JUMP Nation, Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society and Kappa Alpha Psi.
"The busier I am, the better I do," he said. "Being involved on campus helps you get the training and experience you will need for your future."
Hutcherson and the other panelists told the students that financial decisions made now can have a huge impact on the future. While student loans help in the short run, the payments live on for a long time.
"You should only take loans if you really need them," Hutcherson said. "You have to learn to manage your money once you're out in the real world."Kathleen Rubino '13 contributed to this article.
BE ENGAGED - MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Learn more about how you can make an impact as an alumni volunteer. We have a number of ways you can be involved; we are certain you will find at least one that matches your talents and interests.