On Friday, August 10, 2018, students from the Teens in Print Summer Journalism Institute and local professionals gathered at the Federal Reserve Plaza for WriteBoston’s first ever Professional Networking Breakfast. The event was designed to connect teens with adults across a variety of professions and careers–from science writing and academia to finance and filmmaking.

After checking in and grabbing breakfast, attendees listened to opening remarks from Mariella Murillo, a tenth grader and Teens in Print student reporter, and Doug Banks, executive editor of the Boston Business Journal and WriteBoston board member. The two outlined the morning’s main activity: a networking version of speed dating!

Pairs of adults and pairs of students engaged in short conversations at their tables before rotating to the next table at the sound of a buzzer. In the weeks leading up the event, students in the summer program created their own custom business cards, which they exchanged with the adults. Conversations included recent article topics, career paths, college advice, and more.

Elie, a student in the Summer Journalism Institute, said, “The networking event is definitely a highlight of my summer. I’ve rarely ever been in such an open and welcoming environment.” Another student, Kelly, agreed that “the networking breakfast was riveting, educational, exciting, and full of passion.”

An incoming UMass Amherst freshman, Clinton expressed, “I often have looming thoughts in regards to what I will pursue in my near future.” Lisa, another SJI student, echoed his uncertainty, but discovered that “your set career path might not what you think in the future. Just go with the flow… Many of the adults were science writers and they didn’t even know that they’d be near science as a career.”

While most of the event focused on college and career, there was still plenty of fun and foolishness to go around. Eleventh grade student Jacob tells the story: “Went to hand a board member my business card. Instead, handed him a Pokémon card.”

WriteBoston would like to thank all of the professionals who volunteered at the event and shared their experiences with our students. We hope this event will become a future staple in our summer programming.