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Social justice employers reach out at industry night

By Emily Sorkin Smith

Section: News

March 6, 2015

The Hassenfeld Conference Center was filled with students and industry representatives on Tuesday night, March 3 for the Hiatt Career Center’s Brandeis Industry Night: SoJust. The event, cosponsored by the Heller School, began with a case challenge, which gave students an opportunity to develop solutions and present them to a panel of industry representatives. Represented in the panel were Ben and Jerry’s, Lawrence Public Schools and OXFAM America. Following the case challenge was a brief talk by Hiatt staff about networking, and then open networking in various rooms of the conference center.

The event highlighted careers in social justice, including social services, education, health and human rights and community organizing. Many of the companies and organizations represented at the industry night do work internationally as well as domestically. Students attended the event from both the undergraduate and graduate levels and with a diverse array of interests. This industry night was originally scheduled for February as part of ’DEIS Impact, but had to be rescheduled due to weather. Despite the rescheduling, many employers and students were still able to attend the event.

Students, whom Hiatt staff encouraged to dress professionally, were allowed to explore the different rooms of the conference center, which were divided up based on field. Each room had several tables where representatives waited with pamphlets and business cards. Students networked and listened for information about potential job opportunities. Many of the representatives were also Brandeis alumni.

To prepare students for the night, the Hiatt Career Center posted a spreadsheet with the names of employers and the industries they represent, as well as topics that they might be available to discuss with interested students. Links to company websites as well as LinkedIn accounts were provided.

Susan Lit ’86, chief operating officer of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, was one of many industry representatives that came to the Industry Night. Lit’s background is in business, as she received an M.B.A. from Northeastern’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business. Her unique experience allowed her to advise students with interests related to finance and business in the social justice field.

Lit talked about the importance of Hiatt’s networking events. “I’ve always volunteered to help Hiatt events ever since I graduated from Brandeis,” Lit said. “I was a student. I had a work-study job at Hiatt and really appreciated what Hiatt provides students and alumni. I like to keep up my connections to Brandeis students. I met a number of students who had great questions and aspirations.”

Some of the students attending the event came looking for summer internships and jobs, while others were interested in full-time employment opportunities after graduation. One of these students was David Altman ’15. Altman is studying philosophy and politics and came to the industry night “in search for a job next year … ideally something in government or law or nonprofit.”

Jose Martinez, a first-year graduate student at the International Business School, attended the event in hopes of finding an internship. Martinez said he wants a job where he can “play off his skills toward economic development and do research for developing countries, for programs that can help alleviate some poverty.”

Also attending the event were industry representatives from City Year Inc., Teach for India, CMI International Group and many others.

To follow up on the event, the Hiatt Career Center sent out emails to participants urging them to contact the industry representatives they met, take advantage of LinkedIn and social media, and apply for jobs and internships through their B.Hired service. The center will continue to host industry nights, workshops and coaching sessions to aid students in their search for employment.

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