Thank You, CLA Volunteers!

A maroon backdrop with yellow confetti and the words thank you to our alumni volunteers

Last year, nearly 500 CLA alumni gave back as mentors, panelists, advocates, council members, ambassadors, interviewers, and more. This week, we celebrate these inspiring alumni volunteers and express our gratitude for their service. Feeling inspired? Submit our Alumni Volunteer Form and we'll connect you with an opportunity to give back, too!

What’s your why? For many of our CLA alumni volunteers, the answer is simple: preparing our students for purpose-filled lives.

Danette Scorza has silver hair and wears a coral colored top

“I have been volunteering for over 10 years. The reason that I like to volunteer is because I believe in giving back to the community and to other people. I enjoy volunteering my time by assisting students with their resumes, interview skills, and LinkedIn profiles. As a Talent Acquisition Manager, I know the importance of writing a good resume that gets recognized by recruiters and hiring managers. I know how intimidating it can be to interview for a job, so I like to put the students at ease by giving them interview tips like listening to their favorite song to pump themselves up before an interview. I hope that my recruiting advice assists CLA students in finding jobs at their dream job, which is the ultimate goal of why I volunteer.” – Danette Scorza (BA ‘01, Theatre Arts & Dance)

Giving back = a rewarding “gig”!

John Wetzel headshot

“I first began volunteering with CLA Career Services in 2012 when my wife and I were asked to be part of a group of alums charged with increasing both the number of CLA internships and funding for those students who took unpaid internships. That introduced me to the CLA Career Services Director, with whom I discussed my interest in volunteering. I have made friends with both colleagues and students and recently officiated at the wedding of a student I met in our respective first semesters on campus. I spend between 35-40 hours a week in this role, meeting with students and helping them plan their futures. I tell everyone that this is by far the "best gig" I have ever had, as I hope I am making a difference in people's lives.” – John T. Wetzel (PhD ‘73, Psychology)

Volunteering allows some of our alumni to pass on their expertise while learning from the next generation of CLA students.

Laura Schmidt headshot

“I had a great undergrad experience at the University of Minnesota – and I know that was due to some key experiences I had in the English Department, the Journalism department, and the MN Daily. I want all students to have as good of an experience as I had. There's a lot of different ways to give back and it's been rewarding to get to know current students through volunteering with HJSMC and with the MN Daily Alumni Association. This next generation is so bright, passionate, and driven. I've learned so much from these students.” – Laura Schmidt (BA '17, English, Journalism)


Mentoring is a mutually beneficial endeavor that can send a powerful message: we are stronger together.

Elena Falcettoni headshot

“Among my volunteering activities, being a mentor in the Women in Economics mentorship program is an activity very close to my heart. The program allows mentors to guide undergraduate female students in Economics that are evaluating what comes next in their career path. Economics has traditionally been a male-dominated profession (I would know, as a female economist!), and supporting women entering the field allows me to tell others about my experiences and help other women avoid mistakes that I have made. At the end, it is enriching for me, too: With every female student that enters the Economics profession, we are a little less alone, a little less an exception, and a lot stronger together.” – Elena Falcettoni (PhD ‘19, Economics)

If you have benefited from mentorship, consider paying it forward.

Alison Buckneberg headshot

“I began volunteering for the Alumni Board because I have seen firsthand how mentoring can make a difference in our community. I would not be where I am today without the mentorship of others and it's so important to pay that forward. For students who don't have a network of professionals within the Twin Cities or even beyond - it's imperative that they find a community of mentors, leaders and peers to help them - and the HSJMC Alumni Board can do just that. It makes the world a little smaller - and all of us succeed because of that.” – Alison Buckneberg (BA ‘07, Journalism)



Be the mentor you never had and watch those relationships flourish for years to come.

Riham Feshir headshot

“I didn’t have a lot of support while navigating college, so thinking of ways I can help students who are maybe experiencing the same thing I did was appealing to me. Mentoring students, especially BIPOC students, has been enriching. I love connecting with the staff, students and other professionals in the field of journalism and mass communication. Our Hubbard School of Journalism mentorship program provides unique opportunities for J-school students to connect with industry professionals who guide them as they prepare to graduate and move into the job market. The networking alone is so valuable at a crucial time when students are polishing their portfolios and applying for internships and jobs. One of the alumni board’s main responsibilities is to match mentees with mentors and it’s so rewarding to watch those relationships develop for years to come!” – Riham Feshir (BA ‘08, Journalism)

CLA Alumni Volunteers Make it Happen

Check out our Alumni Volunteer Form to see all of the ways in which you can lend a helping hand in the new year. We also welcome your feedback or thoughts on additional ways you can engage with students, departments, or the college. Send your ideas to Megan Mehl,, director of alumni experiences and college events.

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