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ECSU grads tout value of networking to current students

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Wendy Pierce, development adviser at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center (left), and A.L. Fleming, vice president for institutional advancement at Albany State University in Albany, Ga., discuss the importance of networking during during the Emerging Leaders Forum at the Ridley Student Center at Elizabeth City State University, Thursday. Both Pierce and Fleming are ECSU graduates.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, October 18, 2019

Two successful professionals who graduated from Elizabeth City State University within the past two decades encouraged a group of current Vikings Thursday to make the most of networking opportunities that become available to them.

A.L. Fleming, vice president for institutional advancement at Albany State University in Albany, Ga., and Wendy Pierce, development adviser at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center, were the panelists at the Emerging Leaders Forum Thursday afternoon. The forum was held in the Ridley Student Center as part of this week’s ECSU homecoming activities.

Fleming encouraged students at the forum to continually be aware of networking opportunities.

“Collect more people,” said Fleming, a 2006 ECSU graduate. “Everybody you meet you should be putting in your tool kit.”

Pierce, a 2001 ECSU graduate, agreed, adding that students should make the most of opportunities to build positive relationships with faculty.

Fleming and Pierce are both Albemarle natives. Fleming is from Edenton and Pierce graduated from Perquimans County High School.

“Everybody I knew had a relationship with Elizabeth City State University,” Fleming said of his experience growing up in Edenton.

Pierce said she chose to attend ECSU largely because she could stay in her hometown and still have the opportunity to study what she wanted and prepare for the career she wanted. There was a lot of expansion going on in the biology department at that time, which was exciting, she said.

Fleming said Viking alumni helped him see the value of attending ECSU. He said he would put his degree up against a degree from any other college or university, noting his time at ECSU prepared him for every challenge he’s faced in his career.

Pierce said new programs at the university offer great opportunities for students, including opportunities for graduate study.

Fleming said students also should attend campus activities and take advantage of internship opportunities.

“I would say it’s all what you make it,” Fleming said, referring to the overall college experience. He said he counts his four years at ECSU as the best time of his life.

Pierce said she found a lot of activities to participate in when she was a student.

“There were a wealth of campus activities and extracurricular activities you could be involved in,” she said.

Enoch Bond, ECSU’s director of alumni relations and host of Thursday’s forum, explained that there are 16,000 living ECSU alumni. He encouraged students at Thursday’s forum to take advantage of the mentoring, encouragement and networking opportunities that alumni can provide.

“The university is always looking for opportunities to connect students with alumni,” Bond said.

Both panelists said they treasure relationships with classmates and alumni.

“I loved being a part of Viking family,” Fleming said when asked what he enjoyed most about attending the university.

Pierce said she has stayed in touch with classmates from her biology major.

“We were close,” she said.

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