Show+Tell to feature ModCloth, DeepLocal, among others

Every year, as students graduate from Carnegie Mellon, the question arises as to where they will go next. The new lecture series Show+Tell, sponsored by Alumni Relations, is providing that answer. Andrea Shockling, the assistant director of on-campus programs, has been working to develop the series, which will consist of four programs throughout the academic year.

“We talked about ways to engage specifically with young alumni and the fact that there are really fantastic things being done by alumni .... What if we put together a series of stories and made those available to the campus community?” said Shockling.

Designed to target alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years, the goal of the program is to bring alumni back to the campus while exposing undergraduates and graduate students to the possibilities awaiting them after graduation.

All lectures will be free to the Carnegie Mellon community. The speakers for this year hail from a variety of academic disciplines within Carnegie Mellon, and their dreams and career paths are equally diverse.
“Hearing their stories, being able to ask questions, and to interact one-on-one gives students the opportunity to see where they could be within the next 10 years, even if they choose to take a non-traditional route, as some of our speakers have,” said Dan Barnett, the director of on-campus programs with Alumni Relations.
Pittsburgh-based company ModCloth is the source of the first alumni to present on campus. Allen Lu (H&SS ’01), Jay Palat (HNZ ’04), and Evan Tahler (CIT ’06, CMU ’08) will represent ModCloth at the first Show+Tell lecture, “From Dorm Room to Board Room,” on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in the University Center. Although the founders, Eric and Susan Koger, both of the Tepper School of Business, have previously spoken on campus, this lecture will provide a fresh view of the company.

“It is such an exciting company that a lot of students recognize and identify with that we thought it was an excellent choice to start the series. That was a particular choice to take something had some name recognition but do new twists,” said Shockling.

Literally created “From Dorm Room to Board Room,” Susan Koger’s interest in vintage clothing sparked the company that has now grown to include over 200 employees in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The speakers have an engaging presentation prepared that will include audience interaction.

Jay Palat, a senior software architect for Modcloth, offered some advice. “Don’t be afraid to step forward and volunteer to try something new. In any environment there is always more work than people — if it interests you, ask how you can help. Interest and a willingness to learn can take you a long way,” he said.

The three remaining lectures are “Mobile Technology and Design” with DeepLocal, Inc. founder and CEO Nathan Martin (CFA ’99); “Sustainability in Government” with Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak (HNZ ’06) and Washington D.C. Sustainability Specialist Mark Chambers (CFA ’01, HNZ ’02); and “The Means to an End” with Frank Janesh (CFA ’01) from The Scenic Route in Los Angeles and Nitya Venkataraman Chambers (H&SS ’01) from in Washington, D.C.

Both Shockling and Barnett hope this lecture series will encourage alumni to keep in touch with the campus, and Shockling has already received more contact from young alumni as a result of the publicity of Show+Tell. “We hope this will motivate the young alumni to share their stories within their companies, social circles, and networks and inspire them to stay connected and involved with CMU,” said Barnett.