Alumni Science Conference provides outlet, networking


On the snowy and icy morning of Dec. 23, 2022, Freedom Area High School held its first ever Alumni-Only STEM Conference. The goal of this conference was to provide an outlet for alumni to network with each other, share their career paths and projects they are working on. All the while, they were able to catch up with their peers and find out what everyone has been up to. 

Starting off the morning with coffee and conversation, the alumni gathered in the high school auditorium. They began with short introductions to catch everyone up on where they are in their lives, and then they got into the individual presentations.

“When the alumni come back, they spend almost all of their time dedicated to our current students, and they just don’t get any time to network, find out what other alumni are doing or even meet other alumni. And so it has been suggested year after year that we should have an alumni-only science conference and after last year, everyone was very forceful and said we just need to do it, so that’s what we did,” Dr. Brian Wargo said. 

There were several individual presentations like alumni Andrew Baker on Adhesion at the Nanoscale, Jacob Beckey on Quantum Information Science and Josiah Dubovi on the Electron Microscope. Each presentation gave the group of alumni a better understanding of each person’s career paths and allowed them to make connections amongst themselves to future their careers and/or education. 

“The networking is beneficial with the ability to contact those who are older in certain fields you want to go into. With that you can get help with learning how to go about getting a job, paying off loans or even getting paid more to go to school if you’re still in school,” alumni Alexis Surenda said,  “It was nice to get to talk to older graduating classes being as though I was the youngest graduated class there and to see what different people have accomplished or the different paths they took since leaving Freedom.”

Looking towards the future, the alumni and Dr. Wargo look forward to the science conference in the spring. This will be the seventh annual high school science conference, and many alumni choose to come back to watch student presentations, give their own and help students in any way they can. Being available to talk to or network with the alumni during the science conference provides students with connections and support for their futures. 

“The one thing that we know is that the alumni love to help our students, turns out the alumni also love to help other alumni, and it’s been absolutely synergistic. Everyone’s excited [for the upcoming conference],” Wargo said.