By Terrence Donahue
On a rainy Wednesday, huddled in a private room at Trader Vic’s, Portland’s own uniquely Hawaiian lounge, a collection of unique world travelers had gathered. Despite the rush hour traffic and intermediary rain, a hearty bunch of Portland State’s own MIMs had rallied strong. This night marked the second happening of MIM’s newly resurrected Alumni Networking Series. The evening was extra special because it featured special Asia Trip presentations from our very own MIM class of 2014. The culmination of months of language preparations, cultural etiquette training, and pre-trip logistical meetings had prepared us, but the magnitude of the experience was something we all didn’t fully comprehend until we arrived. After four weeks of mind stretching, sensory testing, physically challenging experiences in Asia, we had returned back home to Portland—the stories still fresh in our minds.
Current full-time students Jon Ruff (2014) and Anna-Lia Barragan (2014) lead the foray into our MIM Asia trip, highlighting the unexpected surprises and touching on their main takeaways. Having just experienced the trip myself, I was just as eager to hear a thorough, insightful recollection from my classmates as to discuss my own. Thankfully with our special audience of fellow classmates and alumni, the reception could not have been more appropriate or well received. I hope that many of the alumni hearing the presentations were able to reflect back on their experiences on the MIM trip. As the pictures and stories from the trip circulated the audience, conversations and questions broke out. It was really rewarding to experience this with our MIM Networking friends and to see that level of curiosity between the different years of MIM alumni.
Several months had passed since our first Networking event at Rogue, and we wanted to keep the momentum going. Current full-time and part-time students joined a warm gathering of MIM alumni from over the last ten years. Eagerly awaiting the insights and recollections from the Asia trip experience, we restated our essential goal for the MIM Networking Series. The MIM Networking Series represents the opportunity to celebrate our program’s unique talent base and culture—the opportunity to connect once again and to provide the greatest resource available, ourselves and our own unique experiences.
One of the main lessons I have learned from the MIM program is that power comes from community. And without our MIM community, events like this could never happen. The night’s events were made extra special due to the efforts of our MIM Networking Series co-founders, Kim Morrison, Joshua Thorpe, and William Cohen. Thanks to these MIM networking “trailblazers” and our MIM networking community, we enjoyed an evening filled with raffle gifts, mai tais, business cards, laughter, and handshakes. Building from the evening’s successes, we of course still see room to grow and always appreciate more participation. We’ll keep searching for ways to bring the power of our MIM community forward, and we hope that you come to join us next time as well!