Alumni Sponsors

Information for alumni sponsors

Liberal Arts to Careers Externship (LACE) provides a select group of Harpur College students the opportunity to explore career options and gain insight into the realities of the workplace. Selected students are matched with an alumni sponsor for a shadowing experience at the sponsor's workplace. The experience allows students to better understand and validate their career options, learn about professionalism, and begin to establish the important network of alumni and other professionals they will need as they enter the working world.

This is not an employment program. There is no expectation that sponsors provide or arrange employment or internships; rather, it is a consultative relationship in which sponsors, by leveraging their own rich experience and professional network, provide personalized feedback and guidance to students. By participating in the program, students are investing in their own professional development.

Selected students will be matched with a professional for a shadowing experience over winter or summer break. Students and sponsors meet between 20 and 40 hours over 3-5 visits. Meetings are scheduled at the convenience of student and sponsor. The program is structured to ensure opportunities for success, but is flexible enough to meet the needs of each individual pair. Sponsors are not expected to personally spend the entire time with the student, but are asked to facilitate and arrange activities for the student as recommended below.

Sponsors will receive orientation materials, including the student's name. Students will attend a mandatory orientation during which they are provided the name and contact information of their sponsor. Following orientation, students will contact their sponsor via email and request a time to speak by phone to discuss goals for their time together and plan logistics for their shadowing experience. At the conclusion of the externship, students and sponsors will be asked to provide feedback on their experience to help us identify areas for program improvement.

How will students benefit?

  • Explore careers and work environments and test interests

  • Observe day-to-day activities and ask questions to learn more about potential career fields

  • Understand important competencies needed for career success

  • Gain exposure to the expectations and culture of organizations, as well as office/workplace dynamics

  • Develop relationships with professionals and begin the process of building a professional network

  • Learn and practice appropriate professional etiquette

  • Apply skills learned in college, both in and out of the classroom, to real life professional situations

  • Make informed choices about electives, internships, minors and other academic decisions during their remaining college years.

  • Participate in a learning experience that can be included on their résumé.

How will sponsors benefit?

  • Make a difference in the life of a student

  • Share your passion for your career

  • Stay connected to your alma mater

  • Be a positive role model and "pay it forward"

What activities are beneficial to students?

The sponsor and student will jointly shape the experience. Activities might include:

  • Observe work being performed by shadowing sponsor and/or co-workers

  • Speak with sponsor about career field, educational background, career path, job responsibilities, experiences

  • Attend staff or committee meetings or presentations

  • Tour the organization

  • Conduct informational interviews with other staff members to understand the organization, industry and future trends, and career paths within this field

  • Attend training program for new employees

  • Observe client meetings (where appropriate)

  • Have lunch with sponsor and/or co-workers

  • Meet with Human Resources staff to understand what skills and qualities they look for in entry-level employees

  • Meet with other Binghamton alumni who work in the organization

  • Meet recently hired staff to understand their experiences

What students are eligible and how are students selected?

Harpur students who have completed two semesters at a higher education institution in good academic standing are eligible to apply. They will be selected based on a competitive process, which will include evaluation of their application, résumé and a letter of recommendation. Preference will be given to sophomores. Other factors considered in the selection process are the availability of sponsors based on career interest and geographic preference.

How are students and alumni matched for a LACE session?

Students review a list of available externships (title, organization, city, state and short description) for the upcoming session. They include their top 5 choices in their application. Eligible students are matched with alumni based on career interest and geographic location. LACE alumni volunteers will only have a student matched with them if there is an appropriate match. Volunteers will be notified of a match prior to the end of the preceding semester.

What about transportation, remuneration and confidentiality?

Students are responsible for their own transportation. They do not receive academic credit or pay.

Students may be required to sign a confidentiality document stating that they agree to not use or disclose any information that they are exposed to during this externship. This agreement is to emphasize the importance of nondisclosure of information to which they might be exposed and to ensure that they understand the sensitivity of this information.

Apply to be a sponsor

Submit an application to be a LACE sponsor here.


Wendy Neuberger
Location: Harpur Edge Office: Library North 1105
Phone: 607-777-7133