By Barbara Sieck ’05
In search of a perfect match, William Boysen ’07, like a lot of people these days, decided to look online—not for romance, but for career advice. He turned to the Alumni Career Network on the Amherst Website, where he searched for alumni working in healthcare.
Boysen quickly found Peter Shearer ’89, an emergency-room physician at Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York City. Boysen e-mailed Shearer, who as an Amherst student had shadowed two doctors. Shearer invited Boysen, along with Carla Kim ’07 and Khaula Tauqeer ’07, to watch him in action. In 2006, the three students shadowed Shearer during Interterm. “There’s nothing I can learn from any book,” Kim says, “that can so concisely and efficiently express to me what it means to be a physician in the ER.” Shearer expects to have a few more Amherst students work with him this summer.
The Alumni Career Network is intended as a helping hand, not as a job-search tool. It supplements the career information already listed in each alum’s online biographical record (which is visible by default to fellow alumni and students). Through the network, alumni can describe in detail their current job and career history. They can volunteer to give advice on issues relating to career and family. Or they can sign up for various interest groups, such as the Not-for-Profit Network and the Black Alumni Network.
The more information alumni add, the more useful the Career Network will be. Students can search for alumni based on geography and job title, among other things. A student who hopes to shadow a lawyer in California, for example, can choose options such as shadow for a day, law and California in the search box. One of the names the search will produce is San Francisco commercial-litigation attorney Jiyoun Chung ’99, who signed up for the Women’s Network and the International Career Network, and who also volunteered to provide guidance on informational interviewing. She added another detail to her network profile, too: “Am very interested in staying active in the public interest community through pro bono work. Would be willing to talk about related issues.”
To participate more fully in the Career Network, go to www.amherst.edu/alumni. Once logged in, click on “My Information,” then “Edit,” then “Professional Information,” where you will have the chance to describe your current job and to choose whether or not to offer an internship, a shadowing opportunity or career guidance. Alumni can specify internship and shadowing time-frames and the precise type of guidance they can give. For help logging in, call the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs at (413) 542-2313.