Visitors of the McMullen Museum are greeted by a dual structure upon entering the Brighton Campus building: The reception area of recently-renovated space is split between sleek floor-to-ceiling windows on the left and an aged grey brick wall, which was once an exterior wall, on the right. The add-on room is an architectural example of bringing the outside in, and as such, was an apt setting for Career Night for the Arts and Entertainment, a networking event that brought Boston College alumni from various fields back to campus for an evening.
The Oct. 17 event was hosted by the Arts Council, the Career Center, the Alumni Association, and the McMullen Museum of Art. The night kicked off with a dinner on the third floor of the museum where alumni chatted about their careers in the art industry, which ranged from administrative positions at schools for the arts to freelance photographers to TV news reporters.
Students began arriving shortly after the dinner, when alumni were stationed at various locations throughout the Daley Family Gallery on the second floor. Prior to the guests’ entrance into the gallery, the room was calm, with sounds of crashing waves emanating through the room to complement William Trost Richards’ oceanscape paintings on the walls. Once the doors opened, however, the sound of lively conversation filled the room. The open gallery space provided a comfortable environment that allowed students to interact with alumni naturally, and the atmosphere was much more vibrant and conversational than that of the Career Fair held in Conte Forum at the beginning of the year.
Another significant difference between the two Career Center-sponsored events, however, was that alumni were not necessarily there for recruiting purposes. Rather than accepting résumés and asking for elevator pitches, alumni fielded questions from students and recounted their experiences in their particular fields. Some alumni handed out business cards, and students were given booklets with the names, titles, and LinkedIn URLs of the present alumni upon entry.
Chris Russo, a former news editor of The Heights and BC ’19, came with the specific intent of informing students of a new networking opportunity. Russo, who is currently a production associate for Viacom Digital Studios in New York City, started a LinkedIn group and Twitter page for BC Media Alumni after graduating in May.
“I was in the shoes of a BC student just you know six months ago, trying to figure out where my career would take me, and I felt that resources around media and communication at BC weren’t as strong as they could be,” Russo said. “I kinda wanted to create a structure where students could talk to alumni, and alumni could talk to alumni, who are in the media and communications world.”
Represented careers spanned a number of interests that students might have. Russo spoke of working with casts of various MTV and BET shows, while Nicholas Benevenia, a radio producer and personality for Entercom and BC ’14, discussed the determinants of a song’s radio airtime with musically-inclined students. Kristina Rex, a freelance reporter for CBS Boston and BC ’15, recounted working her way through the ranks of TV news after starting her career in Bangor, Maine.
While some alumni represented common career paths in the arts and entertainment world, others expanded students’ perceptions of what they can do with their undergraduate degrees. Tim Lemire, a former reporter for The Heights and BC ’89, discussed his current position as a content strategist for Fidelity Investments with students who were particularly interested in writing.
“I thought my options were teaching and book publishing,” Lemire said of graduating as an English major.
As a small crowd congregated around the alumnus, Lemire encouraged students to “think in terms of [their] skills,” rather than in terms of the words on their diploma.
Featured Image Courtesy of Arts Council