Connecting Passions & Creating Your Future Initiative Brings Together Students, Faculty & Alumni Professionals

On Saturday, April 2, Sarah Lawrence students skipped Bates brunch to fill their appetite for community and conversation by attending a substantive, on-campus symposium with faculty and alumni professionals.

The event, organized by the offices of Career Services and Alumni Relations, began with breakout sessions broken up by industry and student interest. In each room, a faculty member led a discussion between three alumni, joining virtually, and the students, who were gathered together in person in the Barbara Walters Campus Center.

Students were able to interact with the alumni, who were as far away as California, in real time. On each panel, the alumni shared how Sarah Lawrence prepared them for the work they’re doing now and what they’d wish they’d known when they were starting out as young professionals.

Emma McKibben '25, who was in a group with alumni who work at the United Nations, the White House, and The New York Times, said the event alleviated her anxiety surrounding life after Sarah Lawrence.

“I took away that, while life may seem like a collection of important decisions that dictate your success, true success and happiness are found through figuring out your passions and how to dedicate your time to that cause,” she said.

After the breakout sessions, Emma and the other students in attendance came back together for a live keynote speech and Q&A with television showrunner and novelist Noah Hawley '89, who was at home in Austin, Texas.

During his remarks, Hawley described writing his first novel on the bus rides home from his day job as a paralegal at the Legal Aid Society. Calling himself a “20 year overnight success,” he encouraged students to not give up on their creative pursuits, no matter what their first or second job after Sarah Lawrence is.

“To hear that someone who has been in my position as a student is now able to make leaps and bounds in not one but several creative fields gives me hope that, with hard work, I can do the same,” said Zoe Kuhlkin '23. “What was even more encouraging was to listen to Hawley speak about how the curriculum at Sarah Lawrence prepared him to be constantly creating—something that set him apart from his colleagues.”

Hawley’s speech may have closed the program, but the larger initiative—to connect current undergraduate and graduate students with their Sarah Lawrence network and set them up for professional success—is ongoing.

“Now more than ever, our students need the Sarah Lawrence alumni community to be a resource to them, and we were so thrilled to be able to engage alumni around the country to share practical wisdom, advice, and guidance,” said Christina Camardella, Senior Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving.

The next Connecting Passions & Creating Your Future event, in mid-April, will bring together current students and a small group of alumni professionals at Rizzoli Bookstore in Manhattan for a practice networking event. 

“We’re excited to bring students to New York City to meet alumni professionals where they live and work,” said Angela Cherubini, Director of Career Services. “Nothing can replace the value of in-person networking.”

Written by Jamie Jordan '19 MFA '23

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.