Published: March 1, 2009

student worker

Alumni and students gather at the first networking session sponsored by the CU-Boulder Alumni Association, the Senior Class Council and Career Services.

Students tend to think their college years are “crazy” and that the “real world” starts after graduation, but Erlinda Kiefel Stafford (ChemEngr’84) says the adventure continues long after you receive your diploma.

She was among 25 CU alumni at the first annual “Night of Networking” on Tuesday, Dec. 2, who spoke to the class of 2009 about life in the workforce. Stafford says she fulfilled her “wanderlust,” pursuing her dreams as an engineer, a keyboardist in a traveling rock-and-roll band, a bike racer in Australia and a mom.

“I am interested in telling students there are many opportunities after college and they should follow their dreams,” Stafford says. “There is still time for the pursuit of passion. The future after graduation is not just filled with working, paying bills and ‘settling down.’ ”

Senior Class Council events chair Jessica Metzler says the council planned the event with Career Services and the Alumni Association because it is important for CU to offer support and vital services that help students and alumni stay connected to the university.

“It was neat to see how much the alumni participated and enjoyed being engaged with students and to see them giving back to the university,” says Ron Stump, interim executive director of the Alumni Association. “Students really took advantage of the situation and realized there’s assistance from Buffs beyond the classroom in terms of landing internships and employment.”

The event supported the association’s new Forever Buffs program that fosters lifelong relationships with CU that begin the moment students set foot on campus. Alum Erik Estrada (Chem, PolSci’02, MPubAff’06), who has worked in the nonprofit sector, encouraged students to take advantage of the strong alumni family to refine their professional skills.

“CU is an outstanding higher education institution because of its current and former students who have always been willing to learn above and beyond the classroom setting,” Estrada says.