storytime

MICHIGAN STUDENT ARTIST UNSURE HOW TO BEST NETWORK WITH SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS

By MAX LEISTEN

I often share the human connection between that early career professional (alum or student) and someone who’s eager to share her journey. Because that’s what we do. 

But it’s not the entire story truth be told. Why do universities care about what we do (and how)? Because volunteers are much more likely to donate. Current and future donors want to make an impact, want to feel good about giving their time (and money) to the institution. Which builds a foundation for future and more meaningful giving. 

I’ll share a bit more going forward the true impact of what we do – and the personalized experiences we’re delivering seamlessly to alumni and supporters who are frankly waiting for the right opportunity to engage.

Here’s an “active” story – only about two weeks old. But we’re already seeing amazing results that the institution can convert to more engagement and (eventual) giving. 

Happy Friday!

Max

 

The "ask"

Hello! My name is Amy. I’m a physics major at U of M and a visual artist. I love to merge the two topics and am very interested in positions and freelance work that allows me to do just that!

I am wondering how I can best network with scientists, engineers, labs, start-ups and companies who may be in need of artistic talent. Should I be cold-contacting them to see if they need anything? I find that as an artist, my classmates in STEM are pretty un-interested in art, much less my art if it gets brought up. How can I best promote myself as an artist to the people who are busy doing science so that I can help create awesome stuff?!

Thank you very much for any insights you can provide!

The "give"

Hi … thanks for asking for advice.

First hint: the best way to approach a possibility for networking etc — ask them for advice, what do they suggest for you to proceed.

Second, your writeup triggered some questions: what part of physics are you attracted to? atomic, nuclear, geophysics, optics, solid state, etc. How do you view the tradeoff between physics and art? Do you see yourself as inventing new machines / processes OR using your artistic talents to market other folks’ inventions? The basic question is where does your passion lie … best advice is always to follow one’s passion. If you can write back with some answers I could give some better honed advice.

In any event, the ecosystem is filled with all kinds of startups but its mostly invisible. the SPARK organization in A2 is still going strong; that’s a good place to start. There used to be a Michigan organization called AIM that I used to be part of … I was a volunteer business coach for several startups every year for about 10 years. [google Michigan innovation e.g.] There is also an ad hoc group called A2B3 which meets lunch time every Wednesday … a loose set of 8-25 folks from different backgrounds so a good place to network. UM has several entrepreneurship centers and I know several folks around those if you would like. It would help me to have a better sense of what you would like to accomplish over the next 5-10 years of your life.

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