Benjamin Kay, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, is currently a Government student entering his junior year at Regent Undergraduate School. With a long-term ambition to enter a political career, he is wisely developing a professional network to help him get there.
Ben particularly values the insights, advice, and connections he gets from his relationships with professors. When one professor encouraged him to consider a law degree, Ben started looking for an internship with a law firm that would help him better judge if law would fit him well. His efforts to be personable and professional in the classroom paid off when the relationship he'd built with History professor and local attorney David Dildy helped him hear about and secure a summer internship with Robert E. Long and Associates, where Professor Dildy practices.
Dr. Moreno, chair of the Government department, is another professor with whom Ben has developed a fruitful relationship. Benjamin had met him several times and went out of his way to talk with him when possible. This led to an invitation to attend a Political Science conference in Philadelphia, where Ben and a few other students were able to meet and learn from top political scientists from around the world. They were also given the opportunity to visit a conservative think tank in Delaware, leaving with close to $1500 in books as a gift from this organization.
"When I think of networking, I think of people, being genuine, and having a friendship with them." On his approach to networking, Benjamin says, "When I was in class, I had no idea that I would be interning with Professor Dildy. I simply tried to go out of my way to connect with professors and contact them when I had questions." Benjamin also mentioned how valuable it is to be willing to spend a few minutes after class to offer comments and show appreciation for anything particularly interesting or valuable from the class. "I don't think students realize how much teachers really do or the impact of a simple 'Thank you.'"
Benjamin's advice to other students is to step out and initiate new connections. "Be yourself. Find someone you admire in your field and see where that takes you."