By Caroline OstermanIt was a cheerful winter night full of bear hugs, great food, and happy reunions. The Fung Institute’s 2018 Alumni Happy Hour brought MEng students and alumni alike together on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco, California. The space buzzed with conversations about past memories, present endeavors, and future aspirations. Over 90 alumni traveled from near and far to reunite at the happy hour, and an impressive 140 current students joined in the festivities as well. The event was an especially great opportunity for students to network — MEng alumni roamed the room with “I’m Hiring!” buttons as they struck up conversations with soon-to-be graduates, who used their time well to pick the brains of new members of the engineering industry. Apart from talks of engineering breakthroughs and hiring opportunities, the night was also full of cheerful chats and reunions. Old friends gathered at a table and reminisced their time together from Berkeley over drinks. Students roamed the room with wide eyes as they spotted alumni hailing from big names like Google, Tesla, Apple, Uber, and Facebook. A capstone group facilitated a room-wide singing of “Happy Birthday” for one of their team members. Returning alumni were especially enthusiastic to return to the Bay Area for a night of food and fun. “It was a bit funny and definitely fun being on the alumni side this time around — hard to believe it has been a full year already!” commented Justin Hong (BIOE ‘17). “I got to meet several enthusiastic and driven current students, and I got to catch up with some good friends from my cohort. Good people, good food, and good drinks always make for a great time at the MEng Alumni Happy Hour.” Others expressed their gratitude for the networking aspect of the event. “The best part of attending the Alumni Happy Hour is definitely catching up with old friends from the class of 2015,” said Andy Dun (ME ‘15). “But the networking is great too! Some of the students I met at last year’s alumni event actually ended up being my coworkers now. So you never know!”
“Some of the students I met at last year’s alumni event actually ended up being my coworkers now. So you never know!”Towards the end of the evening Julie McShane, the Fung Institute’s Associate Director of Career Services, presented awards to some notable alumni. Recipients included Ankit Dutta, MEng ’17 (IEOR) for his contribution to mentoring current MEng students this year, and David Kalinowski, MEng ’13 (IEOR) for being Fung’s most engaged alumni recruiter, from Apple. Chirag Mehta, MEng ’14 (IEOR) was also honored for his involvement in the new admit recruiting process, as well as Corey Long, MEng ’17 (BIOE) for traveling the farthest to Alumni Happy Hour — all the way from Santa Barbara! By the end of the night, valuable connections were made and endless memories were shared between students and alumni alike. Wine was finished and extra cheesecake bites were grabbed for later. Friends lingered to wrap up conversations about work and play and eventually shuffled out together to the brisk streets of San Francisco. The night was truly a success for the Berkeley MEng community, and its newly fostered connections between today and tomorrow’s engineering leaders.
MEng cohorts mingle at 6th annual Alumni Happy Hour was originally published in Berkeley Master of Engineering on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.