Discovery Initiative continues a second year

Drea Weiner

The NMU Foundation’s Discovery Initiative Program is accepting applications for those who wish to participate during this summer’s break.

Applicants are hired as student representatives for the NMU Foundation.

During school breaks, students will interview alumni in person within a given area about their time at NMU.

This program was designed to build and maintain relationships.

It is NMU Foundation’s way of getting the alumni involved and back into contact with Northern, said Andrew Hill, program manager of the Discovery Initiative. Students begin with their hometown area.

“My area is Metro Detroit, Grosse Pointe,” said Brendan Franklin, a junior nursing major. “NMU Foundation gives you a list of alumni to contact that they’ve chosen.

“They provide phone numbers, addresses, what they do and what they majored in.”

Students involved aren’t limited to their hometowns. If they’re going to another area of the country, they will receive a list of alumni within the area that they can interview.

“It’s nice because NMU Foundation tries to set you up with alumni in your major,” Franklin said.

Approximately 200 interviews have been completed thus far in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Texas.

“The reason this program is successful is that it’s an opportunity for students to learn real life skills,” Hill said. “Be able to interview someone. Be able to carry on an organic conversation.

“It helps them make connections with alumni who have been there and done that.”

Students undergo training sessions to interview the alumni.

“One of the hard things is once they hear you’re from NMU, they think that NMU wants money,” Franklin said. “They’re always skeptical when you sit down with them.”

The information gathered is used to reconnect with alumni. They do not ask for donations.

“We want to hear their stories,” Hill said. “Through their stories, we learn what do they want from NMU. We can help provide information through this program.

“Alumni are really excited to talk about their time here.”

The student’s are paid $50 per completed interview and submitted contact report.

“It’s like getting paid to network with people that could be my future employer,” Franklin said. “It provides opportunities that otherwise would’ve gone unnoticed.”

To apply, students must send a cover letter, resume and three professional or educational references to Andrew Hill at [email protected] Any student is welcome to apply.

In the cover letter, students should answer the following questions: why you want to serve as a Student Representative for the Discovery Initiative, why did you select NMU and what is special about their NMU experience so far.

“The main thing (we are looking for) is someone who is curious, who wants to learn more about NMU, has personal drive to learn from others, able to work independent, be able to manage their personal time and interview schedule,” Hill said.

Applications are accepted year round but in order to participate in the program this summer, students must apply by Monday, April 9.

“It’s crazy for students not to be a part of it,” Franklin said. “You get to meet new people, network, resume building, good communication skills and there’s always the opportunity to interview someone else.

“It’s nice to be on the other side of the shoes.”