Hajim Young Leadership Council
A tangible way to make a difference
Koji Muto ’15, now a project development engineer at ExxonMobil, wanted to stay involved with the University after graduating.
Tyler Kieft ’09 (’10 T5), a software engineer at Instagram, wanted to do whatever he could to give back to the Hajim School and its students in gratitude for the “continuing benefits of the education I received there.”
Both are doing so as members of the Hajim School Young Leadership Council. Now 21 members strong, the council was formed in 2015 to build positive relationships between recent alumni and the school’s current students and faculty.
Council members are encouraged to share their experience, time, and resources to help strengthen the quality of education, to promote alumni engagement and professional development, and to increase philanthropy as a way to make the Hajim School ever better.
It is an opportunity for young Hajim School alumni to find tangible ways to be involved and make a difference in the school.
'A perfect avenue to help students'
That was a strong motivation for both Muto and Kieft.
“There are so many things I wish I had known about how to build a career when I was in school,” says Kieft. “It’s daunting, being on the cusp of graduating, having the whole world in front of you, and being forced to choose a path. I feel like I have some good insight now to provide students facing the same situation. “
Adds Muto: “As a recent graduate, I am all too familiar with the transition from the last day of school to the first day of work and the challenges my peers and I faced. The Leadership Council is a perfect avenue to help students prepare for that transition and to encourage them to stay in touch with the University after graduation.”
The council gathers on campus during Meliora Weekend and also meets once a year via Skype.
“The council mirrors in many ways the evolution in how people do business,” says Jim Zavislan, associate dean for education and new initiatives, who updates the group on school programs and initiatives and on specific opportunities for engagement. “The idea is to try to do a flash mob of engagement, where we are reaching out to them in ways that are current. They’re excited to be part of the school and provide us reflections on how their educational experiences are being put into practice.”
The benefits flow both ways
There is a two-way flow of benefits. The input and support from recent alumni helps the school keep its educational programs relevant to the current workplace, connect with other recent graduates, and build mentoring and internship opportunities for current students.
Members, in turn, are kept abreast of what’s happening at the school and enjoy networking opportunities that can be useful for their own professional development.
“The biggest personal benefit so far has been to reconnect with classmates whom I lost track of,” says Kieft.
“It’s interesting to meet with other young alumni who all graduated from the same engineering school and hear about the different paths they took,” adds Muto.
To learn more about the council, contact Derek Swanson at email@example.com
Here's a list of current members: