On Feb. 14, 2019 the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) hosted their second installation of the 2019 Virtual Career Series as directed by the office’s Constituent Engagement branch. The online seminar, hosted each month by various University of California university alumni, “is designed to provide UC alumni with the insights, information and connections to launch, grow and expand career opportunities across a wide variety of professions and career stages,” according to Pauline Metzgar, the Constituent Engagement acting director.

In an interview with the Highlander, Metzgar explained the objectives of Constituent Engagement, resources available to students through their alumni centers and how alumni networking promotes student success.

In the February edition of the series, “Flex Jobs, Remote Work + The Gig Economy,” UC Berkeley alumna Sara Sutton explained that remote work provided a solution which she said “would allow me to stay on my career path while also being professionally challenged and present for my family.” Prior experience in internal telecommunications and recognition of “how dismal the market was” sparked Sutton to start and become the CEO of FlexJobs, Remote.co and 1 Million for Work Flexibility.

As a 2001 graduate, Sutton is not the only alumnus to take part in the online series. In January this year, the “Navigating the Job Search” seminar featured UCLA alumnus Brett Fisher, UC Davis graduate Dorian Mastrogany and UCR’s Brigitte Kearney, a recruiting manager at Tesla. Each shared their thoughts on the hiring process and provided advice on seizing opportunities as an applicant.

The upcoming lineup of seminar topics is scheduled to last through November, with the next seminar titled “Unique Ways to Use Your Degree in the Humanities” planned for March 5 at 12:00 p.m. Following the March meeting, the “Careers in the UC” section occurs April 9 at 10:00 a.m., with the “Your Culture + Your Career” seminar taking place May 8 at 12:00 p.m. The full schedule and seminar archives can be found on the constituent engagement events page, which also features a list of alumni associations registered within the UC system.

The Constituent Engagement office was founded in the 1940s with the creation of the Alumni Associations of the University of California (AAUC) when UCLA was invited to the board of regents by UC Berkeley. “Over the years,” Metzgar said, “we have expanded to focus beyond the AAUC and alumni to engage a wide variety of constituents in support of the UC.”

Each university within the UC system has its own associations, but Metzgar affirmed that “while each campus engages the alumni from its own campus, the Office of Constituent Engagement looks at UC’s two million alumni as a group.” Metzgar encourages students to discover resources directly available to them by observing the events calendar and reaching out to their university’s alumni center.

At UCR, some resources available to students include resume review, career guides for fields in which other alumni are employed and networking opportunities between current students and those already in the workforce. Some upcoming events at the UCR Alumni Center include the Fourth Annual Women’s Leadership Conference on March 9, the Highlander Day of Service on April 13, Dinner with Alumni: Psychology on April 16 and Dinner with Alumni: Public Policy on May 2.

Metzgar said that “While most of our department’s engagement begins once a student has earned his or her diploma, there are many ways alumni promote student success.” For example, “Alumni associations fundraise for student scholarships and have built mentoring platforms so alumni can mentor students.”

Metzgar proposed that fostering alumni engagement promotes the success of rising scholars, stating that “there is no reason not to be involved with or aware of your alumni association while still a student … Students are tomorrow’s alumni!”