Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Welcome Back!

On Behalf of DIMA,

Welcome Back and Best Wishes for the Spring 2007 Semester!

We’re Under New Management.
The above statement is something I usually see associated with bad restaurants, like Red Lobster, that have been flipped in order to encourage patrons to return. DIMA isn’t exactly Red Lobster and things were never badly managed. However, the statement is true. As many of you may be aware, DIMA President Pam Abastillas completed the program at the end of the fall semester. Congratulations Pam!

Pam’s graduation created an opening that needed to be filled. The majority of the current DIMA officers declined to be the poster child for the group. Since I was already part of the group (running the blog and listserv) I was asked by the rest of the officers to fill the opening and I accepted. However, SCPS required a democratic transition. To make a long story short, we called an election, nobody else ran – poster child.

What Now?
The semester is about 15 weeks long. Depending on how your semester turns out 15 weeks is either too long or too short. In any case, there is only so much a student group is able to do in that period of time. Last semester we ran a few social events and launched the DIMAblog. The blog is meant to connect students at different points in the program. Feedback about the blog has been extremely positive so look to it to keep you informed throughout the semester.

This semester we have two (2) big items on the agenda. The first (1) is filling all the DIMA officer posts. Julie Lee, Mandie Lee (no relation) and Michelle Hemerka are all in Capstone and will graduate at the end of the semester. I have capstone in the fall and would prefer to concentrate on that. Lastly, Ann Bilanski is on the 10-year plan…I won’t speak for Ann (nobody puts baby in the corner!) but most likely Ann will take a break after serving for a year.

There it is…we’re all pretty much done after this semester.

In order to keep DIMA going we’ll need to have some leaders step forward to pick up where we’re leaving off. How difficult is being an officer? Not difficult at all. You’ll put a little time into it about once a month but, for the most part, it’s simple. What do you get out of it? Other than that feeling that comes from altruism…you’ll add to your resume, meet alumni and students that you may never had the opportunity to meet, practice your leadership skills, get to know the administration, have industry leaders seek you out, and much more. In fact the whole enterprise is open to your creativity. If you’re interested please let us know. Depending on the response we may or may not need to have an election. Please give the idea some thought.

Second (2), were looking to have an alumni networking event. The gist of the event is to have a dozen or more alumni join current students for a casual town hall style Q&A session about life after the program, the job market, salaries, etc…This event has the potential to be really good. I sent a “feeler” email to some of the alumni recently and received a half dozen responses indicating they would take part in the event. I expect more responses as we begin to finalize everything. The event will be RSVP and we will get those details to you once they are available.

What Else?
So we have two big things to accomplish this semester – establishing next year’s leadership and putting on a first-class alumni networking event. In addition to these two big things we have a couple of smaller things planned.

DIMA will be hosting a “Welcome Back” event within the next few weeks. Details are in the works and will be sent once finalized. DIMA will also host an “End of Semester” event which may include an election. As with all events food will be provided. Plus depending on the budget, we may have a few random Friday night student/alumni happy hours….where maybe some of our filthy rich alumni could pick up a check or two (Abastillas?).

Lastly, were trying to capture information about our program to pass on to others. We’ve created an online PowerPoint with a few things some of us know and others don’t. You can view the PowerPoint here: Student Resources PPT

The idea here is to collect the tips, tricks, and other stuff that can make going through the program just a little bit easier. If you’d like to add something please send your comments to we’ll notify you of any updates.

That’s All Folk’s
I think we have a pretty ambitious agenda for Spring 2007. We’d like to have as much input from you as possible. You can leave your comments below or email them to us. Ann, Julie, Mandie, Michelle, and I are just volunteering to make the graduate experience more rewarding. We can put things together but it takes you to make them successful.

Thanks for the read! Best of luck!

Matt Harris – DIMA President