The Impact of Alumni Support on the Washington D.C. Program 

Desktop News | April 2023

Sarah Wilk standing in front of building

The Washington D.C. Professional Preparation Program provides an opportunity for students to explore careers and professional situations while gaining necessary skills and knowledge for success. The program gives students the opportunity to experience cultural activities and life in Washington D.C. during their Spring Break, while also facilitating introductions to various government agencies and organizations. However, what sets this program apart is its recognition of the vital role that alumni support plays in students’ professional journeys. Alumni involvement is actively cultivated and encouraged, with the program recognizing that they provide insights, connections and resources that are integral to students’ success. Alumni support is essential to the program’s mission of providing students with a comprehensive and well-rounded experience that prepares them for success in their respective fields.  

For instance, the collaboration between the program and Kathy Rondon, a College of Arts and Sciences Alumni and member of the College of Arts and Sciences Leadership Board, is a shining example of the positive impact that alumni involvement can have on students. In 2022 Rondon attended the alumni reception and provided valuable guidance and support to numerous students, including creating connections and offering advice to help them achieve their professional goals. 

Rondon’s dedication to the success of the program’s students goes beyond just attending the alumni reception. Her passion for helping students achieve their professional goals motivated her to take further action. In D.C. Rondon invited Sarah Wilk, a student who was eager to learn more about late-night television production, to attend the Shakespeare Theatre Company reception. 

“It was my hope that, as an undergrad student of creative media and theater, Sarah would get an up-close view of the complexities of how a theater the caliber of STC operates, both from a creative and a business perspective,” said Rondon. “And that these insights could help her focus her educational and career goals.” 

The event provided Wilk with a unique opportunity to learn about the production process of a different type of entertainment. She was able to network with industry professionals and gain valuable insights into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating a theatrical performance.  

“It was fascinating to hear from the artistic director and lead actor about the rehearsal process,” said Wilks. “My current theatre class focuses more on the design process of putting together costumes, scenery, lighting, and sound before opening night. So, I liked hearing a different perspective of the lead up to opening night.” 

Through Rondon’s guidance and connections, Wilk was able to make meaningful connections with professionals in her field of interest and gain first-hand knowledge that will benefit her future career. 

“It was so cool to see a concept I have read and discussed many times come to life,” said Wilk.  

Alumni support is not limited to the program’s duration but can continue to be fruitful long after graduation. The connections and relationships built during the program can be a crucial factor in students’ success as they transition into the workforce. 

“The event really opened Sarah’s eyes to all that she can do that is related to her interest in production,” said Pam Derrick, DC program lead. “Kathy introduced her to many people and gave her great advice.” 

The connections, advice and resources provided by alumni like Rondon can make a significant impact on the professional development of the program’s students. The program’s success is a testament to the power of alumni support and the role it plays in shaping the professional futures of students. 

The Washington D.C. Professional Preparation Program is an initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences ICUE Connector. For more information, see .  

Support the Washington D.C. Professional Preparation Program through Bama Blitz 2023. Bama Blitz is from noon Tuesday, April 18, 2023, to noon Thursday, April 20, 2023.