On Wednesday, November 20, 2019, Cairn University’s School of Business hosted the NEXT GEN Networking Night (NGNN). Approximately 125 students and professionals gathered in the Eastburn Gallery for the opportunity to network with potential employers and business partners.
The NGNN launched last year in November 2018 as a class project for Professor Kelly Peiffer’s event planning and management course. This student-developed event brought an impressive 75 attendees its first year, and reception was so positive that it has become an annual event for the course. Peiffer explains that since networking can be intimidating to young professionals, business students developed this night to ensure “students have the opportunity to practice networking in a safe and familiar environment.”
This year, the School of Business introduced the Rising Star Scholarship: an award given to two students who have shown great promise in their business program. Business students Katie Greene and Miguel Tapia were honored with the award during the event. Additionally, the evening included hors d’oeuvres and a panel discussion moderated by Professor Karl Smith with two Cairn alumni: Olivia DiGirolamo, Audit Senior Associate at Grant Thornton, and Brad Burkholder, Owner/Operator of a Chick-fil-A in Harrisburg, PA.
Krista Earl, project manager of the NGNN, believes events like this help students like herself make their entry into the business world. “It sometimes feels like there is a big divide between those who are already there and those of us just about to begin,” Krista explains. “This night helps students establish connections that may prove to be crucial as they enter the workplace, and it gives professionals the chance to meet the next generation of workers.”
Evan Curry, dean of the School of Business, expresses his pride in the team that brought the event together. “It was a well planned, well-organized event with successful results,” he says. The many business leaders and sponsors that attended were “blown away by the quality and professionalism of our students,” Curry explains, and that is exemplary of the men and women of character that Cairn aims to produce.
Thank you to the sponsors who made the NEXT GEN Networking Night possible: title sponsor, Penn Community Bank; TH Properties; Parts Life; 1 800 GOT JUNK; and Padden Cooper. Their generosity covered the cost of the event and provided the funds for the Rising Star Scholarship.