UVA has a long history of graduating successful students who end up pursuing careers in a wide variety of disciplines and industries. Their work is impactful in so many ways, and they are known to be generous and loyal alumni, often giving back their time and expertise to students and the University community. The UVA Alumni Association currently reports more than 230K alumni and supports more than a 100 alumni chapters and clubs worldwide.
University Career Services actively seeks to leverage the alumni clubs in major metropolitan hubs as a means of connecting with target industries and companies. “One of the trends we’ve historically seen with UVA graduates and where they end up post-graduation is a gravitation toward larger hubs like Washington, D.C. and New York City metropolitan areas,” said Reggie Leonard, Associate Director for Career Connections and Community Engagement at the School of Data Science. “These regional hubs, among a few others, also tend to be hubs for certain industries, which makes UVA’s alumni network particularly strong in certain geographic locations.”
This realization prompted career administrators across Grounds to form an interdisciplinary group that sought to expand those networks through a series of summer networking receptions. “The goal is to bring together students and alumni and build industry connections,” said Leonard. “This summer’s series focused on Boston.”
While Boston is known for its historical significance in the American Revolution, for lobster rolls and a plethora of higher education institutions (among many other things), the city is also an emerging hub for healthcare, biotechnology, fintech, and education technology. These industries are of particular interest to Leonard who supports career advising and connections for the School of Data Science.
“Our M.S. in Data Science students have increasingly expressed interest in pursuing a career in these areas,” said Leonard, “as have students across Grounds at UVA.” Weeks before the start of the fall term, Leonard joined colleagues from the UVA Career Center, Commerce Career Services, Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, and the Center for Engineering Career Development, for a series of meetings and a student-alumni networking reception.
Leonard recounts the meetings he had while in Boston that specifically targeted data science connections. “I caught up with several of our data science alumni and current students who were interning in Boston for the summer and began building relationships with recruiting contacts and various connectors to help expand our network here at the School of Data Science.” Organizations he met with included Kalviyo, Chewy, Wayfair, Protocol Labs, Biogen, LEK Consulting, EY, and Google, among others.
His efforts paid off. “Several of these organizations have registered to attend fall recruiting events as a direct result of the visit and are interested in becoming recruiting partners,” said Leonard. “The next step is ensuring students take advantage of opportunities to recruit with these organizations. The more Hoos we have in Boston, the more they’ll be able to help the next generation of UVA graduates have a direct on-ramp to the myriad of opportunities that exist in the Boston ecosystem.”
Alumni in the Boston area talk highly of the city and its many opportunities. Leonard recounts, “During a conversation with one of our alums, they shared that Boston should be on your radar if you are interested in life sciences or biotech. This same alum cited the Kendall Square area—where Facebook has a large office—as a budding community of exciting start-up activity.” Leonard lists other organizations in the Boston ecosystem to watch out for, including TripAdvisor, Amgen, CVS Health, Medtronic, Amazon, Aetna, Humana, MassMutual, Audible, and Kensho Technologies (acquired by Charlottesville-based S&P Global Market Intelligence).
With data scientists working in Boston at Wayfair, Amazon, Nike, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and MITRE, among dozens of additional organizations, the UVA alumni network in Boston is strong and is eager to welcome more Hoos to the area and grow the UVA Club of Boston.