Ripon College Career Discovery Tour

Students have opportunity to travel to new cities to network with alumni

Students Visiting C-SPAN

Students Visiting C-SPAN

By Rachel Grutza

College offers students the chance to travel to a new city, network with alumni, and explore possible career options through the Career Discovery Tour. While the program has typically run each fall and spring break, the Career Discovery Tour will not be occurring this fall break due to low application numbers. Director of Constituent Engagement, Amy Gerretsen, who is also a Ripon College graduate

of 2004, has recruited students and organized the tours since the first one in March of 2013. According to Gerretsen, “The Career Discovery Tour started under the urging of President Messitte and with the financial support of the Alumni Association Board of Directors…” and “…is dedicated to  further expanding student-alumni career networking opportunities.” The tour is able to take 12-15 students for each tour, where they are accompanied by staff who organize the meeting schedules.

This fall’s trip would have brought students to Chicago where they could meet alumni such as Ron Peterson, Ripon College Board of Trustees Chairman and partner and attorney at Jenner & Block, Trustee Tom Abendroth, who is also a partner and attorney at Schiff Hardin, Emily Summers who works for the University of Chicago, Christina Mooney, manager at the International Currents Art Gallery, and Ramzi Baydoun, the Senior Manager for Talent at Abbott Laboratories.

Senior Hailey Mischler traveled to Washington D.C. in spring of 2015 with the Career Discovery Tour. She reflects back on her experience, “It was a great to meet successful alumni who have lived and worked in Washington D.C. We had time to explore the city with the group and by ourselves. I went to Arlington National Cemetery one night and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was a trip focused on networking and exploring my career options as well as having fun.” Mischler believes that networking with alumni, members of the Board of Trustees, and many others with successful careers has helped her re-examine her own career goals and aspirations. Visiting the capital of the United States, experiencing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and walking through the monuments at the National Mall was just part of the tour, but something she will never forget. Not only was the trip unforgettable, but it was also affordable.

Lauren Hince, a junior at Ripon College, visited Boston with the Career Discovery Tour. For Hince, the best part of the trip was the chance to meet and speak with alumni and friends of the college, “My favorite person to speak with was Adam Krueger with the Harvard Business School. Adam explained that when it comes to your career nothing is a straightforward path. He said that you should be prepared to pivot, don’t be afraid to go down a new path in your career. My favorite part about the trip was the alumnae mixer. It was a chance to talk to successful alumnae of the college and ask this about how they got to where they did post Ripon.” As for the cost, “How could you not go?”, the price for the Boston trip is $400.

The cost for each tour ranges from $300-$500. “Because the program is donor funded,” according to Gerretsen, “students pay a nominal amount to attend and financial assistance is available to those who qualify.” The Boston tour costs students $400 whereas the Washington D.C tour costs students $500. These costs include transportation, airfare, some meals, hotel costs, and some group activities. The tours are put on and organized by the Ripon College Career Development Office which is dedicated to expanding the relationships between students and alumni. According to the Ripon College website, the program was recognized with the “Best Student Alumni Programming” award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Past trips have included Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, and Minneapolis. Applications and more information for the Career Discovery Tour will be available sometime after fall break.