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Students gain ‘real-world’ perspective (and experience) having Dinner and Conversation

One night each year, LU offers Dinner and Conversation, a unique event that brings together current Lamar students, alumni and LU faculty for networking and career exploration. The popular event, which is by reservation only, provides an opportunity for students to meet with professionals in their career fields in a relaxed setting.
Dinner and Conversation
Daniel Chavez and Marcus Rogers

For junior mechanical engineering major Marcus Rogers, the event led to an internship at NASA. “Just by meeting a NASA employee here two years ago, I was able to get an internship, a co-op there,” said Rogers. “Hopefully, I might have a job at NASA whenever I graduate.”

According to Shannon Figueroa, director of Alumni Affairs, Dinner and Conversation is designed to offer students one-on-one contact with alumni to help them make decisions for their paths going forward.

“Lamar University has a unique opportunity to work closely with our students and to pair them with not only faculty members but with successful alumni,” said Figueroa. “During this event, seven professionals who have worked in the students’ fields of study sat and shared experiences and asked questions about the day-to-day realities of a career in their disciplines.”

This year, Rogers, along with 73 other Lamar University students, gathered for the event on March 4 in the University Event Center.  

Seven professionals returned to their alma mater to participate and connect with students. They included:

·       Medicine – Dr. Andrew Victores, 2006 TALH Graduate, Otolaryngologist at Southeast Texas Ear, Nose, and Throat

·       Law – Paul Scheurich ‘82, assistant general counsel, Entergy Services, LLC

·       Psychology – Cindy Dinkins Partin ’97, ’99, Psychotherapist at Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas Behavioral Health Center

·       Chemical Engineering – Chad Anderson, ’96 site director, Huntsman

·       Engineering – Julie Rodriguez, ’09 global marketing advisor, ExxonMobil

·       Business – Alaric Harrell, ’99 CPA, director of process integration & optimization, American Midstream Partners, LP

·       Communication – Nakisha Myles Burns, ’02, ’04 director of community and media relations, Beaumont ISD

Six faculty members and one staff member were paired with the alumni. This year’s participating faculty and staff included:

·       Medicine – Randall Terry, interim chair and assistant professor, Biology

·       Law – Craig Tahaney, instructor, political science, Pre-Law Society Advisor

·       Psychology – Elizabeth Aronson, associate professor, Psychology

·       Chemical Engineering – T.C. Ho, chair and professor, chemical engineering

·       Engineering – Hsing-Wei Chu, chair and professor, mechanical engineering

·       Business – Ricardo Colon, chair and professor, accounting and business law

·       Communication – JT Robertson, marketing communications coordinator, College of Fine Arts

Events like, Dinner and Conversation, is one of the reason Rogers choose to attend Lamar University. “I had scholarships from both Baylor and Lamar but when I asked Baylor about co-op opportunities, I found out they don’t want you to do co-ops; they want you to do four and out,” said Rogers. “ Here at Lamar, I’ll take six years to get a degree but I’ve taken two years just to work. I’ve worked at the papermill in Evadale, a chemical company and spent a whole year at NASA. I’ve had tons of experiences and that’s all through Lamar.”

 For more information, about Dinner and Conversation, contact the Office of Alumni Affairs at 409-880-8921.