Hailing from California, Anna Perry (A11) and Ben Osborn joined the college in early 2014 with a shared purpose: to serve the St. John’s young alumni community. Perry, coordinator of Young Alumni Programs at the Annapolis campus, and Osborn, program coordinator of Student Cultivation at the Santa Fe campus, share insight into their roles at the college and discuss the resources available to recent St. John’s alumni and students, such as webinars, job fairs, and more.
How does St. John’s define “young alumni?"
Perry: Young alumni are graduates who are one to 10 years out after graduation. It’s important to note that the term has nothing to do with age, and alumni can be from either the undergraduate or graduate program.
Are the needs of young alumni different from other alumni?
Perry: Young alumni are transitioning from academics to professional lives. This means they benefit from informative conversations about beginning careers and graduate school programs. Young alumni are also all over the country/world and probably going to move at least once within the 10 years after graduation. Because of this, online resources like the St. John’s Online Community and Facebook affinity groups are extremely helpful—and local alumni chapters provide invaluable face-to-face time with fellow alumni.
Osborn: As young graduates of the liberal arts, [Anna and I] share a perspective on where we can take our programming to be most beneficial. I look to be a resource to students and recent alumni in every way I can, from connecting alumni with similar interests, to job placement and preparation, to collaborating with other departments to create more useful programming for students.
How can young alumni stay connected with the college?
Perry: Staying connected to the college is done in a number of ways—continuing the friendships you made, keeping correspondences with your tutors, attending events and chapters, or adding to the online conversations on Facebook. Young alumni should stay connected with the college to take advantage of its resources. I think the easiest way to stay involved in the happenings of the college is to follow the St. John’s College Alumni Facebook page and register for the SJC Online Community.
Osborn: In 2014-2015, Anna and I are working on a listening project to gather insight and perspective from recent graduates in order to maximize the utility of the programming we’re developing. As a Johnnie, Anna has some fantastic insight that I think will prove extremely valuable.
Perry: In Annapolis, we recently presented a webinar with Career Services for students and alumni on the question, “How do you explain your St. John’s College degree to your advantage in an interview setting?” This is a puzzling question, but we have two alumni human resources professionals who gave insight. In that way, these webinars are different than traditional St. John’s seminars in which, realistically, you don’t expect solutions to fundamental questions.
Note: The next webinar on the theme “Where do you begin when considering graduate school?” will be held on September 30 at 7:30 p.m. EST. To attend, contact Jaime Dunn, director of Career Services in Annapolis, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is something about yourself that people might be surprised to know?
Osborn: I once spent six months in Cuba researching political culture across different generations. And when I was 16, I traveled to East Africa by myself to work at a half dozen orphanages in Kenya and Tanzania.
Perry: I confess that I prefer reading pictures to reading text. My taste in reading goes more towards art books and comic books than literature.