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W&L Students Network at Program for Junior Class The Class of 2023 was invited to the first annual Junior Program on Nov. 4, where they engaged in meaningful conversation and networking with campus community members.

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As the Class of 2023 approaches the midpoint of their third year at Washington and Lee University, they were invited to the first annual Junior Program on Nov. 4, where they engaged in meaningful conversation and networking with campus community members.

The Evans Hall event created a space where students could network with faculty and staff of specific academic areas, discuss their future plans, think critically about the remainder of their college career, and chat about resources on campus.

Some of the special guests of the event included campus leaders Matthew Loar, director of student fellowships; Haley Sigler, director of education studies; Paul Youngman, associate provost; and John Jensen, dean of Career and Professional Development.

Haley Huber ’23 took time to network with faculty from her area and came away from the experience knowing that W&L is a place where students are seen and heard.

“As soon as I walked through the door, I saw an economics professor I had a class with last year and went over to his table,” Huber said. “We caught up, talked about our class together, and laughed about current events. Next to him was another economics professor who was good friends with my advisor. She recognized my name and knew about my academic and extracurricular work, which made our introduction and conversation much more meaningful. I was surprised she knew who I was without actually having met me, but then I remembered where I was: I’m a W&L student, everybody knows everybody, and if you make someone proud, they’ll spread the word.”

Leah Beard, director of leadership development and student engagement, and Kelsey Goodwin, director of student activities, planned the event and were thrilled by the student response.

“I received very positive feedback from students and faculty about the informal tone of the program and how much they enjoyed just being able to have an organic conversation with each person they met throughout the evening,” said Goodwin.

Beard was also impressed by the level of future career planning that students focused on during the event. She is already looking forward to future programming for the junior class.

“The broader goal of the Junior Program is to empower third-year students to engage in meaningful conversations with faculty, staff and peers as they think about their next steps at W&L and beyond,” said Beard. “Many juniors are considering graduate school and others are preparing for a job search, and this event served as a catalyst for students to ask questions about these processes and their prospects as they make critical decisions in their journeys.”

Huber also took some time during the event to think about a summer internship that could help her land her dream job after graduation.

“Because W&L encourages its faculty and students to cultivate meaningful relationships with one another, I receive thoughtful, personal and beneficial career advice that isn’t always afforded to students at other institutions. I realize how lucky I am to say that,” Huber said. “During the semester, we don’t always get the chance to dive in and talk about our career goals and reconnect with past professors. The Junior Program allowed me to do both and put me on a path to potentially receive a prestigious summer internship. I also got to meet and have a down-to-earth conversation with one of the deans, which is always rewarding.”