Potash Hill

Branch Out Makes Vital Connections

Krystal Graybeal helps a spotted salamander avoid road traffic on a dark and stormy night, one of many Marlboro Moments shared on Branch Out. Photo by John Marinelli ’19When admissions counselor Krystal Graybeal ’17 returned to Marlboro from a college fair last April, during the first warm, spring evening rain, she was too late to join biology professor Jaime Tanner and students who had been helping spotted salamanders cross South Road to their breeding sites. “I decided to do a late-night stroll with a friend, and ran into President KQ and his wife,” she wrote in the Branch Out “Marlboro Moments” group. “We all crept along South Road in a misty rain, ferrying the occasional critter to safety and out of the path of oncoming cars. It was my friend’s first time, though I’m pretty sure it will become a tradition!”

If you have not heard of Marlboro College Branch Out by now, you either have your head in the sand or you are rendered senseless by the phrases “online platform” or “virtual community.” Branch Out is the quintessential site for students, alumni, faculty, and friends to connect, engage, and support other members of the community. Since it was officially launched on May 1, with a festive presentation during the annual party for graduating students and alumni at the Marina Restaurant, there have been more than 400 new users and countless posts, groups started, and professional relationships kindled.

“If members use Branch Out to its potential, we get to find what others can offer to us in our personal or career pursuits; we could even get a lead on a sweet new job,” says Maia Segura ’91, director of alumni engagement, who helped Marlboro choose and implement the platform. “Ultimately, we get a better picture of what our community looks like, and we can build this rare community through stories about the truly life-changing nature of Marlboro College.”

Dubbed “Branch Out” by student focus group member Amelia Fanelli ’18, the new platform provides real-time opportunities for alumni to both benefit and give back through engagement opportunities, mentoring, events, and fundraising efforts. Similar platforms have been adopted at many colleges and universities worldwide over the last few years, and have been highly successful at increasing alumni engagement during particularly challenging times for institutions of higher education.

Students celebrate with President Kevin at the May 1 launch of Branch Out. Photo by Richard Smith“I am particularly excited about the real potential for current students to be able to find mentors, internships, even jobs through this exclusive Marlboro online community,” says Kate Trzaskos, director of experiential learning and career development. “Branch Out provides a medium for us to connect with the rich, unique resources that we all bring to the table, to strengthen the community and help it to grow.” Learn more and log in at marlboro.edu/branch-out.

Who’s Who on Branch Out: Wouldn’t one of these make a nice connection?

  • Corrin Meise-Munns ’09, land use planner at Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
  • Alexander Hunter ’10, producer at CNN
  • Nicole Hammond ’11, attorney advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review
  • Will Timpson ’09, front-end software engineer at Google
  • Laura Frank ’92, producer and multiscreen technology specialist at Luminous FX n Dustin Pawlow ’15, field epidemiologist at Connecticut Department of Public Health
  • Tom Good ’86, research biologist at NOAA Fisheries