Gowns and Sounds: Alumni Lectures Visit YSU

Jason Monchief, an associate for the New World Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, participated in the alumni lecture series Gowns and Sounds. Photo courtesy of YSU

By Samantha Smith

Jason Monchief, an associate for the New World Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, participated in the alumni lecture series Gowns and Sounds. Photo courtesy of YSU

Youngstown State University’s Alumni Engagements hold virtual alumni lectures at least twice a month, providing alums the opportunity to talk about their journey in their career paths and fields.

Heather Belgin, associate director of alumni events, explained how this virtual lecture series came to be.

“The alumni lecture series came up because of the pandemic,” she said. “We had to switch to virtual alumni programming as opposed to what we were used to doing in person. We thought that this would be a way for alumni to connect with each other and alumni who are successful in a wide variety of fields.”

Each lecture has its own moderator to ask the alums questions the viewers may have.

Nov. 5, Angel Rivera, bridal gown designer and owner of Angel Rivera Couture, was the first alumnus for November to talk about his career in fashion and design. 

Rivera, during his lecture, talked about what it was like for him at YSU, how he first started his career and what he did to get where he is at now. 

“I remember moving to New York,” Rivera said during the lecture. “I was dressed in a complete suit because at that time for New York, you kind of had to walk around and drop off your resumes in the design and fashion district. Which was not the easiest thing to do when it was 90 degrees outside.”

On Nov. 12, Jason Monchief, an associate for the New World Symphony and the Chicago Civic Orchestra, spoke about his journey in the music industry.

Monchief discussed what it was like for him starting in the industry, making a career of it and giving advice for those just beginning.

“Music is hard,” Monchief said in the lecture. “You have to be dedicated to a level, your level of dedication just has to be very high. Especially being a performer out there. Especially with all the things going on right now.”

These lectures provide beneficial insight and information for students within the same majors as the alums. 

“[The lectures] benefit students because we showcase such a wide range of successful alumni,” Belgin said. “So when [students] tune in, if there’s an alum in their field who’s gone on to achieve career success, they might be able to pick up some tips.”

Students can watch the lectures for free on the YSU alumni engagement Facebook page. If they missed the live lecture, students can watch them at any time on the page.

For those who do not have Facebook, they can email Heather Belgin at habelgin@ysu.edu directly for the live webex link to watch.

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