When Nefretiti Nassar ’10, MS ’12 completed her studies at the University of Maryland in Electrical Engineering and Systems Engineering, she saw a need for pre-professional mentorship. As she was beginning to amass valuable career opportunities, she found students coming to her for consultation and support in professional development.

“A number of students came to me seeking my advice on how to get internships, how to build their resume, how to prepare for a job interview and how to negotiate salary offers,” Nassar recalls. “I became this source of strategies on how to navigate the transition from being a student at Maryland to starting their professional career equipped with the insight and tactics to spearhead their professional development.”

When a University of Maryland Alumni Association staff liaison approached her about joining an alumni network, she discovered it was the perfect platform to stay involved with the university and create structure for the pre-professional mentoring students were seeking. Without hesitation, Nassar joined the Engineering Alumni Network Board.

“Through my relationship with the Alumni Association, specifically with the Engineering Alumni Network, I am able to help create events and activities to support the students’ successful transition from the University of Maryland into corporate America,” she describes.

Earlier this year, she helped execute The Journey: Women of the Clark School Brunch, a Women in Engineering event that connected current students with alumnae for panel discussions and table talks focused on professional development. It was important, she says, to provide students with the opportunity to interact one-on-one with alumnae, so students can ask questions and discuss concerns as they prepare to become working professionals. This event also created an opportunity for alumnae to visit their alma mater and impart wisdom on the next generation of engineers.

“I want students to feel confident as women in engineering while here at Maryland,” she says. “And I want them to feel empowered as they transition into professional roles after graduation.”

This, Nassar says, is her way of paying it forward. She encourages other alumni to identify a way they can give. She explains, “a great way to do that is through the Alumni Association.”

In addition to academic networks like the Engineering Alumni Network that Nassar is a part of, the Alumni Association hosts affinity networks, regional networks and mentorship opportunities.

“You become a part of an expansive fearless community, where each person continues to carry on the school spirit of Maryland,” Nassar says. “It’s a platform where you are a part of something that is bigger than yourself.”