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Welcome to the Working Week(end)

By Nisma Elias '12 on February 10, 2012 01:07 PM

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The campus pulsed with energy Feb 3-5 as scores of alumni traveled across the country to participate in Reed's first ever Working Weekend, a giant career-focused event that featured speakers, panels, and synergy designed to help students and newer alumni get a jump-start on internships, contacts, and careers.

Alumni organized, led, and participated in a day of panels in ten different subject areas on Saturday. One panel was Non-Profits: Changing Lives, where alumni doled out expert guidance and advice on working in the non-profit sector. The panel was lead by Jan Liss '74, Emily Corso '10, Sarah Costello '95, Nell Edgington '95, Craig Mosbaek '83, and Jeremy Stone '99. Together the panel debated and discussed a range of issues, such as the merit of having a law or an MBA degree in the non-profit sector, and how to make yourself the most viable candidate for a coveted job or internship.

Alumni also served as entrepreneurs during a three day StartUp lab, which led teams of students through the birth of an idea, to the presentation of those ideas, to how to market them to investors. The winners of the StartUp Lab were Emotitron, a team of two Oregon Episcopal School inventors, Matt Fernandez and Akash Krishnan, and three Reedies - Finn Terdal '13, Clemmie Wotherspoon '12 and Gabriel Forsythe Koszeniewicz '12. Emotitron is an algorithm that determines the emotion of a speaker by measuring 57 different features of an audio signal against a prerecorded signal that's already been defined by a human listener as "angry," "sad," or "happy." It may be a solution for helping autistic children and adults recognize and interpret emotion using voice recognition technology; it is currently pending a patent. Its high school inventors have already won the prestigious 2010 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology and have been featured in the New York Times.

Most of the Working Weekend panelists were also available for 1:1 sessions, which allowed students to connect with specific alum to gain more sage advice on the roads that lead from Reed.

The first Working Weekend was attended by almost 200 students, including 66 seniors (22% of the senior class), 43 juniors, 44 sophomores, and 30 freshlings. It was successfully organized by nearly 80 brilliant and passionate alumni volunteers, including the Life Beyond Reed committee of the alumni board, and the offices of alumni & parent relations and career services. Here's to recreating 2012's success in the years to come. (And a special shout out to ringleader Adam Riggs '95 -- Ed.)