On-the-Job Training

LionLink Projects pairs students with alumni to provide real-world experience and connections.

Deanna Figurito courtesy

When Deanna Figurito ’06 Com heard of LionLink Projects last year, she jumped at the chance to participate. The new feature of the Alumni Career Services’ professional networking program matches students and recent grads with experiential learning opportunities offered by fellow Penn Staters. “I needed interns and employees and was having a hard time filling the positions,” says Figurito (right), owner of DFig Connects, an executive coaching business. Alumni post the details of a professional project they’re looking for someone to complete—examples include creating a logo, supporting a fundraising event, analyzing data, and designing a website—along with the parameters for the work. Projects can stretch from 10 to 40 hours over two to eight weeks.

Figurito has hired students through LionLink Projects to perform copywriting duties, sales lead acquisitions, and social media marketing. “I think the Penn State interns are fantastic, so ambitious and intrinsically motivated,” she says. “They’re willing to work, and flexible.”

Second-year psychology student Haley Parker saw Figurito’s project offer for sales and lead acquisition practice, and responded immediately. “It really interested me because the company was run by women, and I had read a book that talked about how being in sales is good experience to have because you’re going to need to know how to sell yourself in life,” Parker says. She liked the fact that it was a short-term, work-from-home job that would boost her résumé but allow her to remain a full-time student.

After a phone interview, Figurito hired Parker and the two worked out the details of their agreement. While a project can be unpaid, Figurito chose to offer the maximum amount—$600 for 40 hours, or $15/hour. The project with Parker went so well that when it was completed, Figurito hired her as a part-time employee. “LionLink was the intro I needed,” Parker says. “It’s really nice because Deanna is an alum ... so she’s like another mentor for me as well.”


For more information, go to alumni.psu.edu/lionlinkprojects.