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We were so glad to have GAC graduates back “home” on campus for the day on Friday, March 22. Our Alumni Speaker Series event, hosted by the Alumni Relations Office, provides current GAC juniors and seniors with a unique opportunity to hear from fellow Spartans about life after graduation, college experiences, and their chosen careers. We hosted alumni from a broad variety of professions: engineer, doctor, nurse, law professor, lawyer, art professor, interior designer, accountant, IT sales professional, military pilot, cybersecurity expert, human resources expert, and more. GAC students were matched with alumni whose careers matched their current interests.
Alumni Relations Officer Kaleigh Hartley (Class of ’09), said, “It’s an honor to connect distinguished GAC alumni with upper-classmen to cultivate honest discussions about life beyond high school. The purpose of the Alumni Speaker Series is to engage juniors and seniors with professional alumni from specific industries to inspire fulfilling career paths and build networking relationships.”
Students were pre-selected to participate in four sessions based on their top career interests indicated in a survey last fall. The intentional student placement process allows for current students to learn more about the industries they are interested in, fostering active engagement and discussions during the sessions. Insightful questions, rich discussion, hugs from former teachers, fond memories were shared on campus all day.
Alumni Dr. Courtney Middleton (Class of ’94), offered students the opportunity to shadow her for the day in her office as she works in obstetrics and gynecology. She shared the “peaks and valleys” of her life after graduation from GAC, which included both professional and personal accounts of her life in service and medicine and graduate school. “I think it’s important that you learn how to fail in high school. Failures can ultimately lead to success. It’s an important part of your journey,” she said.
Keynote speaker Jeff Fambrough (Class of ‘02), a national account manager for Indeed.com, kicked off the day with advice for interviewing, networking, and writing an effective resume. Spartans were surprised to learn that on average resumes are only glanced at for 5-15 seconds each. Fambrough shared tips with students to ensure that their resumes would not go unnoticed.
Accountant and M.B.A. candidate at the University of Georgia, DaSean Daniels (Class of ’12) provided Spartans with practical advice on personal finance, avoiding debt, investing in stocks, and ensuring a solid financial future after college. “One of the best decisions of my life was buying Apple stock at a young age…Don’t start your life off in a hole. Start investing and saving now,” he urged. Daniels shared his experiences playing football at both GAC and the Citadel before he was sidelined by injury.
Scotty Smith (Class of ‘11) is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is currently studying in Paris, France as a Chateaubriand Fellow. He encouraged current Spartans, “Don’t expect people to understand your life as a researcher. Begin with curiosity. Begin with your convictions. Commit to mastery and service.”