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Staying Connected Pays Off

April 18, 2014 9:44 AM

Staying Connected Pays Off

Rohnert Park, CA- Staying connected with the School of Business and Economics Career Center paid off for five Sonoma State students, who learned in a unique hands-on experience, managing an event with an all- expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C.

This past fall, a representative from Precision Meetings and Events contacted Sarah Dove, Director of the Career Center, about event planning opportunities for students.  Dove relayed the information to students through the Career Center Listserv.

The initial opportunity took place in Napa at a high-security, political event that required a multi-tier interview process including a screening from Sarah Dove, an interview with Precision Events and a background check.  Heather Delman, Sam Sasser and three other students were chosen for the National Summit of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

The students helped with the three-day event in Napa, last October, managing activities such as décor, registration and crowd control.  The Precision Events staff treated the event as a learning experience for the students, mentoring them throughout the weekend.

Pleased with the students' work ethic and management skills, Precision and AIPAC invited the students to work the AIPAC Policy Conference held in Washington, D.C. on March 1st - 3rd, 2014, hosting more than 14,000 attendees, including 2,200 students, two-thirds of congress, Senator John McCain, Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"I was honored by how much responsibility they gave me. Towards the end of my time at the event, I was the one going in the back to call vendors and caterers," said Delman, a management concentration.

Heather Delman and Sam Sasser, titled as Session Managers, each ran a social pavilion that hosted four to five seminars and meals per day, serving anywhere from 75-300 attendees at a time.  Before each seminar, they were given instructions on how many people would attend, the meal to be served and how to organize the room. The role of the Session Managers is to transform the pavilion in the appropriate time and manner.

"This experience was such an adventure - something I normally wouldn't do. It taught me things like what kind of leader I want to be," Sasser explained. "Students need to take advantage of these opportunities."

"I did get a stipend, but that's not why I was there; the hands-on experience was worth so much more. I am so glad I opened that email from Sarah," said Delman.

The Career Center offers many of these opportunities that can add to leadership development and act as great resume builders through the Mentor Program, Internship Program and Listserv.

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