Changes to leadership scholarship discussed by Alumni Association: Board of Directors hear Career Services presentation

Amanda Garny / THE GATEPOST

A “revamp” to the application requirements of next year’s Alumni Association Leadership Scholarship was discussed during the Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting Feb. 6.

The scholarship committee felt “very strongly” that the essay portion of this scholarship should be eliminated, said Diane Finch, vice president of the Board. In its place will be an “applicant’s personal statements of leadership.”

The personal statement format will allow students to address specific points of leadership the scholarship committee is looking for, Finch said. This will make scoring “more equitable and fair.”

Finch said the committee also discussed increasing the minimum number of faculty recommendations to two, as well as setting the range of required leadership documentation to be between one and three sources.

Documentation can include pictures, press coverage, or other materials that demonstrate a student’s leadership qualities.

The scholarship also has a resume requirement. Finch said the committee would like to see student applicants review their resumes with Career Services before they apply. This would help create an “important connection” between students and that office, she added. 

An extension to the scholarship’s application deadline and an increase to the amount awarded by the scholarship committee were also considered, Finch said.

Changes would be applied to next year’s Alumni Association Leadership Scholarship. The deadline for this year’s scholarship was Feb. 3. Selected recipients will receive the scholarships in their student accounts the following fall semester.

Jennifer DeFronzo, director of Alumni Relations, updated the Board on upcoming events and social media usage.

The Henry Whittemore Library will be hosting a 50th anniversary 70’s Dance Party, with music DJ’d by WDJM, the University’s student radio station, March 27.

“If you do have any of those 1970s clothes hanging around, here is your opportunity to use them,” she said. 

The dance party is a fundraising event, DeFronzo said. Its proceeds will supplement funds used to pay the salaries of student library workers.

Coincidentally, WDJM is having a 50th anniversary celebration as well, according to Matty Bennet, SGA president. He told the Board the student radio station will host a “birthday party event” April 10 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the McCarthy Center Forum.

“They’re planning on doing a whole series of events for students throughout that week, celebrating each of the decades,” he said. Alumni are invited to the party as well.

Those who cannot attend can tune into WDJM at 91.3 FM. 

DeFronzo also announced an “Alumni Board Instagram takeover,” where one Board member will be able to “takeover” the Framingham State Alumni Instagram account for a day.

“I’m looking for someone who has about five different photos they could share,” she said. “One of them has to be of you so we know who’s taking over our Instagram.

“I thought that would be a really fun way for people to know what our alumni are doing,” she added.

One Board member suggested creating an Alumni TikTok account. 

“I am terrified of TikTok, but we can talk about it,” DeFranzo jokingly responded.

Wendy Davis, office manager for Career Services and Employer Relations, gave a presentation to the Board, asking them “What makes FSU Career Services so unique?

“With over 30,000 FSU alumni living in Massachusetts, many come back – as you know – to mentor and hire our current students and new graduates,” she answered.

One such program that brings alumni and students together is Suitable Solutions, Davis said. 

“We ask our alums, especially, and a lot of employers to come back and do one-on-one mock interviewing [with students],” she said. “That really shows them how to do it in the real world.” 

In addition to mock interviews, the Suitable Solutions program provides students with a clothing stipend and advice on purchasing professional attire to wear at real interviews. 

During academic year 2018-2019, career services hosted 293 career events for students, according to Davis. These were attended by 759 employer partners representing 500 companies.

Davis further highlighted the University’s new job and internship search engine, Handshake, which she said is available for alumni to use as well as students. 

Handshake replaced the University’s old job search engine, RamTrack, during summer 2019.

Students can register for an account using their FSU email address, while alumni can contact Career Services to verify their graduation status and register for an account with any email.

“We don’t shut you off,” Davis said. “You are always welcome at Career Services!”

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