Expanding the University's career network online

Toppel Career Center peer advisor Pasqualina Sagarese helps sophomore Maia Hunter register for Cane2Cane, an online platform that can help Hunter search for alumni, faculty and staff mentors in the industry where she would like to work. Photo: Evan Garcia/University of Miami.
By Janette Neuwahl Tannen

Toppel Career Center peer advisor Pasqualina Sagarese helps sophomore Maia Hunter register for Cane2Cane, an online platform that can help Hunter search for alumni, faculty and staff mentors in the industry where she would like to work. Photo: Evan Garcia/University of Miami.

Expanding the University's career network online

By Janette Neuwahl Tannen
Toppel Career Center’s new platform Cane2Cane is actively connecting students with alumni in their industry of choice.

Emmanuel Soto is just one semester away from graduation and is actively interviewing for jobs. So when he saw an email this fall about a new way to network with University of Miami alumni, Soto logged in and quickly connected with ’Canes in his desired field — international business. 

Through this new platform, called Cane2Cane, Soto was able to meet and connect with alumna Marian Hasty, a lawyer with a previous career in global marketing who talked with him about starting out in the field.   

“I really enjoyed being able to connect with an alum who has more experience than I do,” said Soto, an international studies major. “Marian helped me to recognize that I could be flexible with my career and realize that there are many opportunities that will come up through time.”

Launched in August, Cane2Cane is a way for students to connect with UM alumni, faculty, and staff who share similar industry interests to get more personalized guidance than University career advisors may be able to offer, said Carly Smith, associate director of career readiness at the Toppel Career Center.

Soto
Soto

“One of the most influential and impactful experiences that a student can have when they are in college is some sort of mentor to guide them and we know that from research,” Smith said. “Our goal with Cane2Cane is to expand access to our students to a wide range of people with good advice and specialized knowledge of their fields.”

Through Cane2Cane, students can either search or be matched with mentors in their field of choice, but they can also create posts that are shared on the platform for advice about job searches, interviews, or offers. Then, any registered alumni, faculty, and staff can respond through the platform. Students can also sign up to shadow a mentors for the day through UShadow, a program Toppel has had for a few years, but recently added to Cane2Cane so students can schedule these experiences online.

Stephen Archer, who is finishing his master’s degree in finance at the Miami Herbert Business School, recently used Cane2Cane to connect with an alumnus who is a banker in New York and shared the reality of working in that field. At the time, Archer was trying to decide on whether to pursue banking or finance. Ultimately, Archer said that the alum gave him some great advice that helped him land a job.

“It’s an amazing platform, so I plan on using it more,” Archer said.  “Alumni really want to help.”

Since the website launched in August, 614 alumni have registered, 56 faculty and staff are on the platform, and 956 students have registered, Smith said. She has also noticed that students are messaging alumni quite a bit because more than 1,000 individual notes have already been sent. Although the website only allows students to search for mentors right now, Smith said Toppel plans to broaden Cane2Cane so that alumni will be able to search for other alumni and network in their fields as well.

“We have users across the world—in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia—so it’s allowing us to connect the UM community in a way we haven’t been able to in the past,” Smith added.

Alumna Priyanka Surio, who works as director of data analytics and public health informatics for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials in Washington D.C., said she jumped at the chance to advise other ’Canes because she was fortunate to have several strong mentors at UM, including associate professor Scott Brown in public health sciences, and former University President Donna Shalala.

Surio said she understands the difficulty of choosing a career path. Although Surio started at UM planning to go to medical school and majored in biology, she later added a political science major, and ended up going into the public health field as a data analyst.

Surio
Surio

“I’m a big believer in mentors because I have had a lot of mentors in my career,” said Surio. “UM helped my trajectory, so that’s why I wanted to give back.”

Since she registered with Cane2Cane, Surio has messaged with five students, and talked to one of them on the phone. She said getting involved with the platform may also help her recruit students to work with her.

“Being a mentor will help me to provide that assistance to others, and to build a pipeline for future data analysts and data scientists within the public health and health care space,” she said.

Alumna Denna Harmon feels lucky that she connected with a mentor through the Miami Herbert Business School during her undergraduate years. So Harmon, now a finance project manager at Facebook, joined Cane2Cane to offer students mentoring, as well as internship opportunities outside of Miami.

“In Miami, we have opportunities that are very focused on what’s nearby, but since I am out here in Silicon Valley, I would like to make sure that UM students are aware of the opportunities here,” she said.

 To register for Cane2Cane visit the website