Neag graduate student Jessica Cydylo’s internship at E.B. Kennelly School in Hartford provided her with not just much-needed professional experience, but help with job hunting, networking and career development. This invaluable extra support was provided by Kennelly instructional coach June Cahill, a Neag graduate (MA in Education ’94) and a site coordinator of the UConn Alumni Association’s Workplace Ambassadors Program.
Led by Cahill, Kennelly is the first school to participate in the Workplace Ambassadors Program, which was launched in 2012 to provide UConn students with an alumni mentor at their internship site.
“Having a mentor at the school has provided me with a sense of calm,” said Cydylo, who is majoring in elementary education as part of the Neag School’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s program. “Knowing she has gone to UConn, can understand the mental place I’m in, and can answer my questions about my career plans has been great.”
Cydylo is one of seven interns and six student teachers from the Neag School matched with UConn alumni working at Kennelly. They met and were paired in February at a welcome breakfast.
“In order for new teachers to be successful, we need to have a good support system in place,” said Cahill, who in 2013 received the Neag Alumni Society Outstanding School Educator Award. “The program is a great way to provide an additional layer of support, and our goal is for all of the UConn students who come here to feel valued and supported. We also want them to leave Kennelly with solid professional connections.”
Elementary Education graduate student Danielle Cecco said she believes she’s received all that and more: “I’ve learned how to be a teacher leader and how to improve my teaching and professional presence in a school.”
Adding the Neag School to UConn’s alumni Workplace Ambassadors Program was a “natural fit,” said Neag Director of Alumni Relations Robyn Wilgis, as many seasoned UConn graduates work at the schools where students in the IB/M program are assigned.
“It is great to see our alumni and current students connect, and to see our Neag alumni re-connect and engage with UConn,” Wilgis added. “We are thrilled to embark on this collaboration with E.B. Kennelly School and hope to form additional partnerships with other school districts in the near future.”
Non-schools participating in this alumni program include Webster Bank, Altria, Prudential, General Electric, Northwestern Mutual, Group, The Hartford, State Street Bank and the Connecticut General Assembly.
“One of our goals is to allow the alumni in the participating location to assist in developing a stronger UConn intern,” said Husky Alumni Network Director Joshua R. Proulx. “In many instances, it leads to the student matriculating into a full-time hire within the participating company,”
Click here to view a photo album from the Breakfast.