Tara Warming joined the iSchool in November as alumni coordinator. She grew up in Seattle, is a lifelong Mariners fan, and is a proud UW alumna (Sociology). Learn more about Tara’s new role and her goals for alumni engagement at the iSchool.
What will you be focused on as the new iSchool alumni coordinator?
I like getting to know people and connecting them to their passions, and that is my overarching goal with the iSchool’s alumni program: I want to create a framework that allows our alumni to create lasting legacies by growing their relationships with mentors, advisors, peers and the next generation.
In the past, we had different individuals and teams that were responsible for alumni relations, which is a testament to how many people at the iSchool are passionate about working and staying connected with alumni. Adding this new position allows us to have a central person who can help coordinate and amplify the various activities under way while also creating new engagement opportunities for alumni.
Two specific areas of focus have emerged in my first few months:
- Mentorship: Many alumni are deeply invested in helping students move forward, but what does this look like? For example: How can we better connect people outside of their immediate sphere? We are hearing some amazing stories from our alumni about how they benefited from networking with fellow iSchool cohorts outside of their degree program—how can we support these connections through our mentorship program?
- Transitions: In addition to making the transition from being a student to being in the workforce, there’s a growing need to support mid-career transitions for alumni who graduated 5-10 years ago. How can the iSchool and alumni network help alumni maneuver and grow in their careers, regardless of their graduation year?
What are some highlights from your first few months?
My first few months have been a whirlwind! I’ve met with faculty, staff, program chairs, and alumni to get feedback on what everyone would like to see so we can develop a larger plan that represents all of our stakeholders. I’ll be hosting more alumni forums in the weeks and months to come, so I hope to incorporate more alumni feedback into this process.
The alumni reception at ALA Midwinter was my first big alumni opportunity and was a wonderful and welcoming experience. Thank you to everyone who attended! I had the opportunity to speak with many alumni about where they are, what they’re looking forward to, and the faculty and peer connections that have been meaningful to them. I was struck by the camaraderie in the room and look forward to developing more events that can help foster this atmosphere among the broader alumni community.
How can alumni engage with what you’re doing?
I’ll be reaching out to invite alumni to attend forums and share their feedback. For those unable to attend a forum in person, we can set up video conference calls or meet one-on-one. Please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com to share your story or provide feedback.
How is your experience as a UW alumna informing your approach to this position?
The relationships I gained at school have been helpful to me as an alumna. As a UW student, my immediate mindset was that my faculty wouldn’t have time for me, but this proved very untrue. They always made time for me, even after I graduated. Relationships take time and effort to develop and I benefited from these relationships long-term because I invested in building and maintaining them. My role will help create these opportunities for all iSchool students and alumni.