Engaging Graduates: Penn GSE Launches Alumni Leadership Board

May 17, 2021
A digital world map lit up by several points of light against a navy blue background. Icons symbolizing people are linked by beams across the map and beyond. A headline reads, “Engaging Graduates.”

by Jane L. Lindahl, GED’18, associate director, development and alumni relations

Penn GSE is benefiting from a new source of alumni perspectives and feedback thanks to thirteen graduates who have served as the inaugural members of the School’s Alumni Leadership Board (ALB) during the past year. Launched in January of 2020, the ALB works closely with Penn GSE’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations to help inform, shape, and promote engagement opportunities that speak to the interests and ever-changing needs of alumni.

“The goal of our work has always been to find pathways for alumni to stay involved with GSE and Penn in ways that are both meaningful and relevant to their lives and professional growth,” says Vice Dean for Development and Alumni Relations Melissa Calvert, GED’00. “By creating the ALB, we are fostering a space for an open, two-way dialogue that better ensures our ability to meet that goal quickly and in a way that resonates.” 

Representing a range of regions, academic programs, back- grounds, career levels, and graduation years, members draw upon their professional expertise to serve as advocates for and ambassadors to Penn GSE’s robust alumni community. They are invited to attend two substantive annual retreats, as well as periodic update calls and learning opportunities, all designed to keep them well versed on the scope and reach of the School. Virtual retreats in October and May brought members together to learn from faculty and students and develop the board’s priorities and strategy.

Icons symbolizing people are lit up against a red background and linked by criscrossing lines.

“The educational landscape has always asked practitioners to grow and adapt continually to meet the needs of learners,” says Marsha Comegno, GED’98, GRD’04, inaugural chair of the ALB. “Similarly, we are working with the School to meet the needs of alumni, through professional development, network building, access to resources, and more.”

Initiatives of the ALB have included plans to increase alumni participation on Penn GSE Connects, the exclusive new professional platform for Penn GSE students and alumni, and to collaborate with the School’s new Center for Professional Learning.

Dr. Comegno, who was instrumental in developing the ALB and shaping its vision, brings significant experience as a volunteer leader at Penn GSE and other organizations.

“Serving on the ALB has already been an incredibly rewarding experience,” she says. “I am excited to see what our second year brings and how the board grows and develops alongside the needs of Penn GSE alumni.”

Penn GSE Alumni Leadership Board Members
Jeanne Arnold, SW’80, GRD’06
Marsha H. Comegno, GED’98, GRD’04
Theo L. Cramer, GRD’16
Ted Domers, GED’07, GRD’15
Barbara L. Hewitt, GRD’02
Abdul-Qadir Dade Islam, GED’17
Marjie G. Katz, GED’90
Gail R. Foster Lewis, GED’92, GED’95
Amanda Luo, GED’11
Wendy R. McCulley, WG’91, GED’16
Shawn Milheim, GRD’14
Matthew Vincent O’Malley, GED’95, WAM’19
Michelle Leone Riley, C’95, GED’96

Join Penn GSE Connects

Register at https://penngseconnects.gse.upenn.edu today and start forming meaningful professional connections with Penn GSE alumni and students.

Stay Connected

Visit www.gse.upenn.edu/alumni to find alumni events, resources, and more.

Images by istock.com/dem10 


This article appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.