The Young Alum Connection

Barnard women in graduation gowns stride across a city crosswalk

The first few months — and even years — after Barnard graduation are often full of unexpected twists and turns as individuals find their footing among the complex dynamics of work, continuing education, community commitments, and personal responsibilities. For those who graduated in the past 10 years, the transition from student to alum has been especially challenging as you deal with converging health and political crises that could be defined as, in a word, unique.
    
In a world where change can sometimes feel like the only constant, the Barnard community provides a reliable foundation for recent graduates seeking guidance and support as they navigate their post-collegiate journey. And while Barnard bonds have always been remarkably strong, thanks to technological innovation it’s now easier than ever for the most recent generation of Barnard graduates to keep connected to — and continue to flourish with — the College community.

Beyond Academic Advising

Launched in 2018, Beyond Barnard provides guidance through the simultaneously stressful and beautiful experience of defining, pursuing, and achieving success within one’s career and community. Even after graduation, Beyond Barnard Advising provides lifetime support virtually through an array of programs and mentoring opportunities.

“I have a very unconventional career path,” says Cinneah El-Amin ’16, who pursued Africana studies at Barnard and now works as a product manager in financial services while educating peers through @fly.nanced, her digital brand. “Being able to touch more students and show them they have all the tools they need to be successful no matter what path they choose has been really rewarding.”

As a mentor for Beyond Barnard and chair of the Young Alumnae Committee, Cinneah uses virtual volunteering opportunities to connect with students and help them navigate their own professional journeys while working with the Young Alumnae Committee to develop programming that supports a seamless transition into the greater alumnae community.

Supporting the Next Generation

There’s something extremely empowering about receiving advice from someone who’s recently been through an experience you’re currently struggling with. At Barnard, efforts to foster deeper connections between students and recent graduates have proven beneficial for those on both sides of the relationship.
    
As volunteer Barnard Alumnae Admissions Representatives (BAARs), young alums who serve as ambassadors for the Office of Admissions play a crucial role in increasing Barnard’s visibility and spreading the word about the College to exceptional students worldwide. Since they are not that far removed from the student experience, recent graduates can offer particularly relatable insights when interacting with prospective students, admitted students, and their families — and in doing so, they can help identify future generations of outstanding scholars.
    
“I started as a senior interviewer for the Admissions Office and have continued interviewing prospective students each fall since then, from coffee shops in Boston and Sacramento to virtual interviews in the last few years,” says Rachel Silvern ’14. “Every year I am blown away by the incredible applicants, and having the opportunity to reflect on and share my experiences at Barnard has been a rewarding way to stay connected to the community over the past eight years.”
    
Young alums who participate as Class Agents have the ability to do so with a distinctive perspective like no other cohort. Recent graduates are keenly aware of the ways in which financial support for Barnard at any level not only equips students with the resources they need to succeed at the individual level but also serves as a vote of confidence in the College as a whole, enhancing the value of their degree in the workforce and around the world.

Keeping Connected From Anywhere

In addition to career and community guidance, access to enriching social connections within our increasingly global community remains an important part of alumnae programming. That’s why — even when many other institutions are returning entirely to in-person events — the Office of Development and Alumnae Relations continues to work with volunteer leaders at the College to create hybrid and virtual experiences that bridge geographic boundaries. This ensures that no matter how far you get from Barnard’s campus, you can always find a way to learn, connect, and “B together.”
    
For young graduates who are unable to return to campus frequently regardless of the reason, social media provides a way to bring Barnard into their homes, both at their convenience and in real time. The @BarnardAlumnae accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide opportunities to remain connected to the College and interact with content that’s curated specifically for those in their post-student years. Especially during large-scale initiatives like Giving Day and Reunion, where hybrid components are in place, social media conversations can enhance the experience and even spark new connections across generations. And Barnard’s recently launched TikTok account (barnard.college) can give you an insight into the current student experience, while also giving you the opportunity to share a day in your professional life with the next generation of Barnard graduates.

No matter how far out from graduation they are, Barnard alums remain nimble and creative when it comes to fostering relationships with each other and with the College, adapting programming to changing times and finding fresh ways to support future generations. It’s an important reminder that, even when the journey of life gets busy and overwhelming, there is forever a robust community from which to draw counsel.
    
One might say that’s surprising, but truthfully, would you expect anything less from Barnard grads?

 

Fast Facts About Barnard’s Young Alums

19,000 advising engagements have been made with Beyond Barnard since 2018

20+ member Young Alumnae Committee hosts multiple events each year

22% of people who attended events in FY21 were young alums, despite making up only 18% of the overall alum population

Young alums make up 23% of the overall alumnae volunteer base

47% of young alums live outside of the tristate area, with 7.5% living abroad

12.1% of Annual Fund donors in FY21 were young alumnae

Latest IssueFall 2022