Networking in Chicago’s premier companies and cultural organizations

50 students headed into Chicago in April for Career Trek, an opportunity to network with alumni and learn more about potential careers with cultural institutions and businesses focusing on design and the arts.

Career Trek kicked off with a trip to the renowned Art Institute of Chicago. Career Trek kicked off with a trip to the renowned Art Institute of Chicago.Beloit’s Career Channels Program sponsored Career Trek on April 7, an inaugural daylong trip to Chicago created to connect students with alumni in their careers. Fifty students left campus by bus at about 8 a.m. after hearing about the opportunity through their professors and three of the college’s Career Channels: Arts, Curating & Communicating, and Worldbuilding.

Students visited four locations throughout the city to get a glimpse into arts and design careers at work in the real world.

Professionals at The Art Institute of Chicago speak to students about their work and what they lo... Professionals at The Art Institute of Chicago speak to students about their work and what they look for when they are hiring.
Credit: Nicolas Doret’24

Their first stop was The Art Institute of Chicago, where panelists from across the institute’s departments shared how they incorporate their passions into their work and talked about what they look for in the resumes of job applicants.

Lunch took place across the street at The Cliff Dwellers Club, a private social club for professionals working in the arts or members who support the arts. John Notz, a former College Trustee, was gracious enough to invite the students to dine on the 22nd floor and share a bit about the club’s connections to the Art Institute and The Newberry Library, of which his wife, Janice Notz, is a trustee.

Alissa Anderson, Principal, Publications & Exhibitions for Studio Gang Architects, talks to B...Alissa Anderson, Principal, Publications & Exhibitions for Studio Gang Architects, talks to Beloit students at the company's studio in Chicago.
Credit: Nicolas Doret’24

At 2 p.m., four separate groups of students set out for their next destinations by taxi, Uber, and by foot. They spent the next couple of hours learning about the inner workings of some of Chicago’s premier organizations, which included The Field Museum of Natural History, The Newberry Library, Studio Gang Architects, and The Art Institute of Chicago. Students got the chance to see exhibitions as a work in progress, learned about the services available at The Newberry, and saw displays of architectural projects built by Studio Gang, including the college’s Powerhouse.

The program was modeled after Beloit’s annual Econ Day, which also takes place in Chicago, and is sponsored by the department of economics to encourage networking and career exploration among economics and business majors. Similarly, the students on the Career Trek trip were able to connect with Beloit alumni Tom Skwerski’87 and Jamie Kelly’96 in collections and exhibitions at The Field Museum, among others, and Andi Altenbach’13, Studio Gang’s librarian and archivist.

Students left overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding the Career Trek trip, leaving ratings of 5 out of 5 in a post-event survey and making it entirely possible that the trip will happen again in the near future. The trek has also paved the way for future trips that might explore careers in other Career Channels programs, including Sports, Fitness, and Recreation and Health and Healing.

Grayson Jensen’25
April 28, 2022

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