A Supportive Space for Networking

Students and new graduates don't always feel confident reaching out to established alumni for help—even when those alumni are eager to help.

Switchboard provides students and alumni with a friendly space to connect.

When Caroline '14 started using Switchboard as a sophomore at Reed College, she got nothing but support. Thanks to the help of her community, Caroline was able to turn around and offer the same to students and alumni in return.

Why did you start using the Reed Switchboard?

I started using Switchboard the summer after my sophomore year.

Initially I reached out an alumna to talk about film, which was really interesting and motivated me to pursue internships in production. It started off as an informal conversation about internships I might consider and her experience as a freelance producer in LA.

When I actually started looking for summer internships, she put me in touch with several other Reedies in film and was super supportive and willing to listen to me and offer advice. That experience really sold me on Switchboard. 

You posted your first offer after contacting another alumna. How did that go?

I actually contacted her because I realized that she had produced one of my favorite episodes of Planet Money, and I just wanted to say hello and that I loved her piece. She suggested that I offer some advice since both I and another alum were interns at NPR headquarters.

I was really pleased with the response. Unsurprisingly, Reedies love public radio and a number of current students reached out and told us about their plans to get into news and radio.  

Would you recommend Switchboard to your friends?

I absolutely recommend Switchboard, especially for current students.

Networking after college is both awkward and important, at least in my experience, and I like that with Switchboard you can practice and hone some of those skills in a safer and more forgiving space.

All of the people I've connected with on Switchboard have been excited to help in whatever way they can. It has made me so much more comfortable reaching out to people I admire and want to learn from.

I show Switchboard off to friends from other schools and usually get a kind of jealous response like, "I wish my school had that."

 Caroline's NPR intern class. Caroline,  at right, is  standing on the one and only Tiny Desk.

Caroline's NPR intern class. Caroline, at right, is standing on the one and only Tiny Desk.