Homecoming weekend is always a bustle of activities. Ceremonies, reunions, tailgating, the football game and, of course, reconnecting with alumni. While many students are excited to see their recently graduated friends again, the number of alumni that return for Homecoming expands to decades worth of graduates.
In the past, the Career and Internship Center and Institutional Advancement have hosted the Briton Career Connections, a networking event the Friday of Homecoming week when students can mingle with alumni that come back for the weekend. The alumni are of all different majors, graduation years and career paths. Typically, there were also some graduate programs there for students to meet with.
This year, instead of hosting the Briton Career Connections, the CIC and IA have decided to try something new.
The new event, called BritX, will still take place the Friday of Homecoming weekend, but instead of just providing a chance for students and alumni to mingle, there will also be four panelist speakers that kick off the event. Each speaker will talk about the steps that led them to the career they’re in as well as how their time at Albion impacted that journey. Afterwards, the four panelists and any other alumni in attendance will be available for an hour of networking.
“That was a mutual decision between us and Institutional Advancement,” said Troy Kase, director of the Career and Internship Center. “The [student] numbers were going down with the networking event, but not to the point that it was a problem. So, there was some motivation to get more alumni involved in the event […] and then we can still do networking after.”
Each of the four panelists exemplifies the liberal arts idea of succeeding in multiple areas.
David Turner (‘92), originally from Marshall, has found many ways to continue to work within the Marshall and Albion communities. He has held numerous teaching jobs and along the way, Turner was very involved in athletics, even playing semi-pro baseball. He was a key member in successfully combining Albion Public Schools with Marshall Public Schools. During the spring of this year, he stepped in as a temporary principal for Harrington Elementary in Albion. While attending Albion College he had a concentration in secondary education and majored in German and sociology with a minor in physical education.
Lisa Newland (‘97), a former economics and management major with an accounting emphasis, has been with Rehmann (one of the Midwest’s largest accounting firms) since she graduated from Albion. Additionally, she also runs a photography business taking nature and landscape pictures.
Two of the panelists are both thriving Chicagoans. Bonciel L. Griffin-Burress (‘97) owns multiple orthodontist practices in the Chicago area. Because of this, the radio station WVON selected her as one of the 40 under 40 game changers in Chicago for being one of the only African-American female orthodontists to own multiple practices in the area. Griffin-Burress was a biology major during her time at Albion.
The final panelist, John Burks (’03), has touched on many career paths since graduating. He has worked as an IT project manager; the founder and Creative Director of Artist Central Exchange; produced his own independent film; improved his acting and screenwriting skills at Second City and is currently working in Chicago’s real-estate markets at @properties. Burks double majored in economics and speech communications.
While each of these panelists has succeed in different fields, they have Albion to tie them all together. Ideally, having four high-achieving alums will attract more students to the event as well as alumni to hear the talk.
BritX will begin at 2:00 p.m. in the Ludington Center with networking to immediately follow. The Career and Internship Center is available to help students put together a resume any time, particularly in the days prior to the event.
Photo by Katie Boni