News Alumni: Seniors eager to begin next chapter with help from UMassD alumni at Senior Shift

News Alumni: Seniors eager to begin next chapter with help from UMassD alumni at Senior Shift
Seniors eager to begin next chapter with help from UMassD alumni at Senior Shift

On March 28, students gathered in the Marketplace to discuss career trajectories and professional experiences with successful university alumni from various industries.

Students mingling with alumni
Students enjoyed mingling with successful alumni and asked questions about their professional development since departing UMass Dartmouth.

As their final year at UMass Dartmouth comes to a bittersweet end, senior students find themselves on the precipice of a new chapter, brimming with excitement and trepidation in equal measure. Sights set on receiving their diplomas and putting those critical skills learned in campus classrooms to use, these scholars are ready to explore their hopes, fears, and boundless potentials that await them after crossing that stage at Commencement in May 2024.

Sponsored by the UMass Dartmouth Alumni Association, Senior Shift is more than just a student-alumni networking event; it’s a chance for students to learn how to navigate the uncertain waters of post-graduation from those who have already set sail to achieve professional success. As a whirlwind of emotions crashes over these graduating students in waves, alumni possess a unique ability to calm the storm that clouds students’ minds as they approach one of the most important days of their lives.

“I had four fantastic years at UMass Dartmouth, and that pushed me to stay connected to campus since then,” said Michael Desmarais ’89, a member of the UMassD Alumni Association and part-time faculty member of the Charlton College of Business. “I encourage other alumni to attend events like Senior Shift because it’s so important for current students to learn from our experiences when we were their age.”

The atmosphere buzzed with enthusiasm as students engaged with alumni over hot appetizers and ice-cold drinks. Alight with curiosity, students sought advice on how to craft an eye-catching resume, choose between prospective career paths, and engage in interview strategies that will land them their first job after college. In turn, alumni shared their wisdom and expertise, offering valuable insights and forging mentorship connections that will support this next generation of graduating Corsairs.

Students laughing with alumni
Alumni and students gathered in the Marketplace to foster a sense of community and learn from one another on campus.

It meant the world to me that alumni took time out of their day to come back and speak to current students,” said Braedyn Demarco ’24, vice president of the Student Alumni Association, a student organization that serves as a bridge between the student body and alumni population. “I think they provide valuable insight of different professional industries that many of us hope to enter when we graduate. This experience influenced the way I'll network with others when it comes time to start my career.

Whether it be nostalgia for memories made, anticipation for what the future holds, or apprehension stepping into the unknown, alumni were there to help students grapple with growing pains while also demystifying the daunting adventure that lies before them. Their return to campus reinforces their lasting bond with UMass Dartmouth and their continued investment in the university’s success.

“Even though I found some level of success, I’m still trying to figure out where I’m heading in my career,” said Silavong Phimmasone ’19, a former Student Trustee and management major who is now the Assistant Vice President, Citizens Pay Partnership Manager at Citizens Bank. “I feel like if I’m going to ask others for help or guidance, I should be willing and ready to offer the same to current UMassD students.”

Against a backdrop of a transformative evening, alumni and students found common ground in their shared pursuit of personal and professional growth. The active engagement of UMass Dartmouth’s alumni underscores their commitment to seeing students succeed and highlights the strong sense of community fostered by events like Senior Shift.