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Students can get professional connections, career advice during April 7 conference

ISSUED: 3 April 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University students will get career advice, learn about networking, and gain what could be valuable contacts in the business community during the fifth Professional Connections Day 2015 Developing Strategic Vision for Your Career on Tuesday, April 7, from 10:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the Student Center.

This year’s keynote speaker, Jessica Polidor Jackson, a 2007 graduate of Shepherd and associate vice president for human resources at the American Public University System, where she received her M.A. in Human Resource Management. Jackson oversees the recruiting, benefits, training and development, and employee relations functions for more than 3,000 employees in three office locations in the Washington, D.C., metro area and in remote locations across the country. Jackson has also served as a guest blogger and done podcast interviews giving career advice for

Alexis Reed, director of alumni affairs and event organizer, said students attending the event will gain experience going to a professional conference, get tips for job hunting, and be able to network with successful alumni. Registration is from 10:45-11:30 a.m., and then the event kicks off with a lunch from 11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. where students will sit with speakers and members of Shepherd’s Alumni Association Board of Directors. After lunch students can attend three sessions that will focus on some aspect of career readiness. The sessions are:

Presenters include T.J. Roccograndi, independent branch leader and financial consultant, Charles Schwab; Matt Kradel ’99, trust and investment officer, First United Bank and Trust; Lauren Winebrenner ’13, public affairs specialist, web and social media manager, Martinsburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Cindy Vance ’88, certified public accountant and Shepherd assistant professor of accounting; Lindy Ybarra ’11, senior international admissions representative, American Public University; Kelly Pannill ’05, academic advisor, Shepherd Center for Teaching and Learning; Amanda Runkles, financial planning director, HFI Wealth Management; Tricia (Bowers) Katebini ’07, manager CliftonLarsonAllen; Deanna Ammons ’89, chief financial officer, U.S. Department of Energy; Christopher Cobain, coordinator of career services, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College; Neile Martin, director of human resources, Yount, Hyde and Barbour; Robin Moses ’88, director of internal management modernization and information technology services applications development, Internal Revenue Service; and Beth Kennedy, recruiter, American Public University.

Reed hopes as many students as possible take part in Professional Connections Day because it offers lots of valuable information and the chance to network with professionals in various fields.

“A job very rarely is going to land in your lap. You have to take steps to find one,” Reed said. “At Professional Connections Day students get to meet, develop a relationship with, and listen to alumni who have successful careers. In the past students have made contacts at this event that resulted in internships or jobs when they graduated.”

Professional Connections Day traditionally attracts about 120 students. For more information, email

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