Graduate Students Connect

At this annual event, graduate students are given the chance to network and find community with graduate alumni. 

Nov 21 2022
Columbia Engineering graduate students and alumni around a table at Graduate Students Connect

Current and former students gathered in Carleton Commons on November 2 to network and share their experiences of being graduate students at Columbia Engineering.

Graduate Students Connect–an annual event hosted by the Engineering Graduate Student Council, as well as the Office of Engineering Student Affairs and the Office of Alumni & Development–provides a space for MS and PhD students to create a community with alumni and gain insight on where their degrees from Columbia Engineering can take them. The event consisted of 50 alumni representing all nine departments of the school, currently in diverse industries from research and business to real estate development.

“Our graduate students pursue a variety of Careers after Columbia, from entering academia at prestigious schools to working for major corporations and innovative companies, to starting their own businesses and launching products,” Dean Shih-Fu Chang noted in his remarks to the student body. “They truly embody the spirit of Columbia Engineering for Humanity.” 

Columbia Engineering Board of Visitors Officer Georgia Papathomas speaks at the podium at Graduate Students Connect

Georgia Papathomas

This year's keynote speaker was Georgia Papathomas BS’73 MS’74 PhD’78, an officer on Columbia Engineering’s Board of Visitors and former vice president and chief information officer of J&J Pharmaceuticals. Prior to this position, she was senior vice president-chief information office and corporate officer at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, as well as being a member of their executive leadership team. With a passion for helping women succeed, Papathomas also sits on the board of the National Center for Women in Information. 

In her remarks, Papathomas reflected on her time as a Columbia Engineering student and the valuable lessons she learned while pursuing her career: to dream big and let your vision guide you, believe in yourself, never stop learning, become a champion of diversity, and most importantly: to never underestimate the value of a great advisor or mentor. 

“Speaking from my experience, I can tell you that staying connected to our engineering school is one of the best decisions I made for myself and my career,” she remarked. “Find opportunities to partner, support, and strengthen the work and diversity of the school’s students, faculty and administration.”