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Meet the T&M Alumni Association

By Anna Steinbrenner (Class XXV), Grace Levita (Class XXVI), Himani Suthar (Class XXV), Ian Flueck (Class XXVI), Priya Bharath (Class XXIV), and Tommy Carver (Class XXVI)

In preparation for the upcoming Alumni Networking Event, a committee of current T&M students interviewed the five T&M Alumni Association (TMAA) board members to learn all about ways students can stay engaged with them. Especially in our new “virtual reality”, it is as important as ever to build and sustain networks or communication, and TMAA is here to help with just that. 

So what is TMAA exactly? Approximately ten years ago, two T&M alums, Gary Weber and Anna Oldani, created the association as a way for past T&M students to continue to connect. What started primarily as a group of class champions (representatives from each graduating class) has grown into a vast network, spanning nearly one thousand alums over the twenty-five year history of the Hoeft Technology and Management Program. Today, TMAA mainly serves as a resource for both students and alumni to connect with each other: to create long-lasting and sustaining relationships in an ever-growing network for individuals as they advance through their careers. In the words of board member Rob Lovato, “[TMAA] is a great outlet post-T&M and post-college where you are able to connect with folks that are, in their own right, successful.” 

TMAA is spearheaded by five individuals that serve as the TMAA board: Dirk Maloney (board president), Samantha Knoll, Eujin Kwak, Rob Lovato, and Michael Richards. As leaders for the group, they help to initiate and encourage alumni involvement within the rest of the organization, allowing others to build sub-committees of their own. In the upcoming year, TMAA has plans to promote engagement, both from students and alumni. “Things never move as fast as you want: it’s about finding streamlined/easy ways to connect with each other” states board president Dirk Maloney about their continued initiatives in the realm of online communication. Upcoming initiatives and events include establishing a class champion program, working on creating an annual retreat for the alums, and driving participation with the 25th Anniversary celebration.

So how can students and new alums get involved with TMAA? “First and foremost, reach out to the board and express interest and then be open about what you want to get out of it; how you want to contribute. I think it’s really open to being defined on an individual basis” explains board member Samantha Knoll. Particularly for students post-graduation, the best way to get involved is to provide a non-Illinois email address to the board at Current students are also encouraged to reach out, to try and get involved in any areas they wish. The board has been working really hard to identify and develop new channels and topics that are interesting to students, to increase participation and facilitate new ways for students and alums to network. The network is there for students to tap into, they just need to be willing to reach out.

Anyone who joins the T&M Program understands the value of networking. What many students do not realize, however, is the vast connections they have available at the tips of their fingers. The T&M Alumni Association has created a platform to allow for greater student-alumni and alumni-alumni communication in the hopes of maintaining the connections between individuals that are, in the words of Professor Steven Michael, “the leaders of the innovation economy”. 

Meet the Board!

Dirk Maloney: President

Senior Associate Advisory at PWC

Advice for students: “Take a deep breath, you are more privileged than you realize: things will work out. Every year after college, you start to realize how long life is. Struggles seem smaller. You will move past everything.”

Samantha Knoll

Global Product Lead, Intelligence and Analytics at the Climate Corporation

Advice for students: “It’s ok to make mistakes because being uncomfortable is where the most amazing things happen. It’s difficult to explain, but I’ve found that that’s where the most progress and the most transformative results end up coming out.”

Eujin Kwak

Career Consultant at Hire Camp

Advice for students: “Don’t worry about what job/career path you start but rather where you can pivot to and end up. T&M students have less to worry about than most, they should be concerned about mostly doing what they like!”

Rob Lovato

Territory Sales Executive at Beckman Coulter

Advice for students: “Don’t be afraid to take a risk with your first job out of school!”

Michael Richards

Facilities Planner at ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery

Advice for students: “Stay curious. Have fun learning a lot of random things. As a student, you have access to dozens of amazing resources. Join clubs and take advantage of learning from students and others.” 

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