Annual career trip goes global: January Graduate Student Career Expo and networking event expands career opportunities for students

December 2, 2020

RSVP for the trivia and networking event on January 13!

For more than 25 years, the Ford School’s annual DC trip has inspired first and second year graduate students to explore careers, clarify goals, and make connections. 

Like so many other things, the event will look a bit different this year. 

Graduate students will have the opportunity to engage with potential employers and alumni from around the world in three days of panels and programs. Professional development skills workshops will also be offered. 

Jennifer Niggemeier, director of graduate career services, explained that as her team began planning for the school year, they realized they needed to think beyond an in-person trip. 

“The in-person time in DC would be among the many COVID-related losses this year,” she said. “But, the opportunity to pivot the ‘trip’ to a virtual format meant that we could expand beyond what has traditionally been primarily a DC focus. The shift in the Winter academic calendar with a mid-January start date also meant that if we scheduled the ‘trip’ before classes started, we could not only expand the geographic reach, but could also expand the length of our programming without students missing classes.”  

And so, the new 3-day virtual January Graduate Student Career Expo will be held January 12-14, 2021, expanding the “trip” with alumni and employer involvement from around the world.

“Ford School graduate students have shown tremendous resilience in working towards their degrees and future careers as engaged policy practitioners in 2020,” said Peter Vasher, associate director of Graduate Career Services. “As a new year begins, the virtual Career Expo is an opportunity to engage with experts in their fields from around the globe. Students will also develop career competencies/skills through specific career topic sessions, and build connections with alums/employers via large and small group networking. With the event held in early January this is also an opportunity for students to set the course for their career intentions and goals in the year ahead.”

The annual DC alumni networking event—typically a talk and reception designed to foster career connections between students and alumni—will also be held online, with a new, fun format on January 13. The evening will kick off with a customized Ford School trivia competition, followed by an opportunity to network in small groups for more in-depth policy and career discussions.  

Elisabeth Johnston, assistant director of alumni relations, is looking forward to the event. “With the scope of the trip expanding beyond the DC-area, I am excited by the opportunity to include even more alumni this year,” she says. “While the annual DC trip engaged 100+ alumni each year, I’m confident our strong alumni network from around the world will engage, enjoy, and benefit from this year's Expo. Alumni will have the opportunity to connect and catch up with one another, while putting to test their Ford School knowledge in a fun way!”