GS Launches New Series for Alumni to Connect Virtually

This April, the GS Alumni Relations team launched “Alumni in Conversation,” a new event series aimed at bringing together students, alumni, and members of the wider Columbia community for engaging conversations led by alumni with diverse experiences and expertise. 

September 25, 2020

Attendees have the opportunity to hear firsthand from alumni, who share stories that reflect on diverse academic and professional paths. Each event includes audience Q&A, allowing guests to interact with alumni speakers and seek guidance and advice. Events have ranged from intimate gatherings of 20 participants to larger-sized events attracting more than 150 guests from around the world.

Recent discussion topics include the fashion industry’s response to COVID-19, education advocacy, paths from the Postbac Premed Program to medical school, and highlights from international Columbia alumni clubs. Speakers have included veterans, fashion designers, medical professionals, educators, lawyers, and more. 

There is tremendous value in these virtual programs, and we are excited to continue expanding our event offerings.

Aviva Zablocki, Director of Alumni Relations

GS Board of Visitors member Kikka Hanazawa ‘00 led a conversation this summer titled The Fashion Industry's Response to the Covid-19 Crisis, in which she and fellow founders of the nonprofit Fashion Girls for Humanity discussed how they are using clothing textiles to repurpose as PPE for frontline healthcare workers. 

Education Advocacy, featuring Keith Hightower ‘09, Director of Corporate & Public Partnership at Teach For America, and Talia Kovacs '10, CEO of LitLife Inc., was another popular conversation that focused on the future of education as well as and the challenges and potential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nation’s students. 

As the University shifted many of its operations to an online format in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the switch to virtual events has allowed students and alumni to continue engaging with one another in a safe but meaningful way.

“If there is one silver lining in our current work environment,” said Aviva Zablocki, Director of Alumni Relations, “it has been the ability to connect members of our community far and wide, without the obstacle of geographic boundaries. GS alumni and students are connecting with one another from all corners of the world for diverse dialogue, support, and the common purpose of building community. There is tremendous value in these virtual programs, and we are excited to continue expanding our event offerings.”

To learn more about the Alumni in Conversation series, or to connect with the Alumni Relations team, please contact gsalumni@columbia.edu.