Alumni department fosters connection throughout pandemic


Sujata Jaggi

On May 15, Masters held a virtual ‘Happy Hour’ for all alums to reconnect. Alums from the class of 1962 to 2015 attended. Prior to COVID, Masters would hold annual events, like the Sushi Soiree, where all alumni are encouraged to come back to Masters and reconnect, as well as grade-wide reunions, but since the start of the pandemic, the alumni department has been forced to grapple with maintaining connections through a screen.

Maia Barantsevitch, Features Editor

The number of Masters alumni climbs higher every June. Through community events, fundraisers and emails, Masters has been working hard to maintain connections with these alumni while working around pandemic restrictions that have limited outreach. 

Sujata Jaggi, director of Alumni Engagement and graduate from the Class of 2001, has been working at Masters for seven years. Jaggi has been seeking new and novel ways to continue Masters’ strong alumni engagement through COVID. 

“I think that we’d like to just think about our alumni population as a whole and then break it out by generation and decade and cater events to those different groups as well as events that would appeal to the broader group at large,” Jaggi said. 

This year, all events have been in-person with a virtual alternative for those unable to attend.

 One of Masters’ highly anticipated yearly events is the Sushi Soiree. This tradition includes the current senior class as well as the most recent class of alums. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the Sushi Soiree has been postponed since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Recent alum Carolyn Hohl ‘21 attended Masters for six years. She is currently a student at Wellesley College, Massachusetts and had looked forward to this event and her chance to connect with the class below her. “All the young alum and seniors would just eat sushi and talk about life after graduation and basically network for colleges,” she said. 

Hohl saw the event as a good way to connect and stay in touch with people from Masters. She added, “I feel like it would’ve been interesting to see how Masters is now. I feel like we [class of 2021] are more disconnected from the class of 2020. I haven’t been able to maintain the relationships that I had with the class of 2020 because of how sudden COVID was and how quickly everything was on zoom.” 

Aside from in-person or virtual events, Jaggi and the alumni/engagement department are in charge of distributing The Bulletin, the School’s print publication. Jaggi governs the section of The Bulletin that shares updates about various alumni and their lives. A part of her job as director of alumni engagement actually includes constant communication with these alumni to keep them informed and connected to Masters. 

“A big part of my job in general is engagement. I spend a lot of time on the phone; a lot of alums love to call me to hear what’s going on at school,” Jaggi said. 

 Amie Servino ‘95, Masters alumni and member of the advancement department has been working at Masters since 2012. Servino has been helping the alumni office and Jaggi stay connected to the school’s past while continuing into the future. 

“In particular, the alumni office is maintaining the knowledge and history [of Masters] and transmitting it to our students today,” Servino said. 

       COVID has restricted the newly graduated class of 2021’s ability to stay connected to the Masters campus, but some alumni have still had the ability to visit the school and remain in contact with former classmates. 

Jake Lerhman 21’ attended Masters for eight years and is now at Rice University in Houston, Texas. 

“COVID had more of an impact on my ability to stay connected with people and Masters while I was still there. But since I’ve left I feel like it has not really had any impact on my ability to stay connected, I’ve just been able to do so through text and online access,” Lerhman said. 

Although COVID has restricted access to certain engagements with the Masters community, the alumni and advancement department have been able to create a new course of action and continue to keep students and alumni connected. 

Jaggi said, “I feel like I’ve looked at COVID as an opportunity to engage with our alums. We keep a database on all our alums, their contact information, and that’s how we reach out to them. I feel like Covid has been a great opportunity for alums who want to stay engaged and hear what’s going on and reconnect through zooms. I think it re-engages them in a new way.”