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Student Alumni Association Hosts YoPro: A Young Professional Networking Event

The Student Alumni Association (SAA), in partnership with CWU Career Services and the College of Business, hosted the Young Professional Networking Event (YoPro) on April 25th on Central’s campus. Students were encouraged to speak with the panel of professionals to make connections and create a vision for their own future career endeavors. The panel was comprised of six young professionals representing industries in physical therapy, insurance, law and justice, and supply chain management.

“YoPro was implemented by the Student Alumni Association to afford Central students the opportunity to connect with alumni and professionals from an array of companies.” said Clint Lemkus, Assistant Director of Program Development for the CWU Alumni Association and Student Alumni Association President. “Ultimately, our intention was to give students a glimpse of where their education at Central can take them, as well as bridge the gap between current students and established alumni.”

Panelists were asked to share their career path and to identify key learning opportunities that could benefit our ambitious students. A few of the panelists found their callings early. Brittany Buna of FAST Enterprises, said she decided to pursue IT during her Freshman year and stuck with it.  Others, like Wilson Hiner, a SRS Branch Manager, decided two months before graduation that he needed a job and worked hard to get the one he has.

The panelists addressed how to write resumes and the importance of proper etiquette during interviews. Jonathan Neill, District Marketing Manager for Federated Insurance Company, advised students to be personal during interviews. He said that his best interviews were those that he asked just as many questions as his potential employer. Neill said that interviewing the interviewer shows your potential employer your interest and focus on the job.

Before one last round of networking that evening, each panelist was asked to give the best advice they have received or wished they had received when starting out their careers. Physical Therapist, Greg Gillum, told students to be able to explain how they work, and how specifically their skills would benefit a company.

YoPro was an excellent way to encourage and lead students in their careers and professional pursuits. University Advancement thanks all the young professionals who came to share their wisdom. Some takeaways from the event: interview your interviewer, and remember to never get discouraged.

Nick Birkenfeld, a Student Alumni Association member, walked away from YoPro feeling confident. “YoPro was an amazing opportunity from the prospective of a current student here at Central.” Birkenfeld said. “This event allowed me the opportunity to connect with professionals within my field of study and to learn about what qualities and skills employers are most looking for today. It was also beneficial to learn about the various hiring processes that companies employ.”

If you would like to participate in future Young Professional panel programs, please contact Laura Sanchez at or at 509-963-1976 . You can also contact our Student Alumni Association at

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