The Water Cooler

May 2020

Campus Homepage News

For over a year now, we’ve been compiling career resources, news and info while also highlighting some of the Jayhawks who really rock their 9-to-5. The Water Cooler is a monthly email newsletter for alumni, students and friends of the University. If you’re interested, be sure to subscribe here.


May is traditionally filled with graduation memories and though the Class of 2020’s walk down the Hill was postponed, we congratulate and welcome our newest graduates to the proud ranks of KU Alumni.

In this issue of the Water Cooler you’ll find articles relevant to recent graduates and seasoned alumni alike, including the value of volunteering and mentoring, where to find virtual internships, professional development opportunities and, because we know many of you are considering furthering your education, we’ve featured an exciting new course the School of Business is offering in its online MBA program.


Howard Graham, g’08, PhD’19
Director of the Jayhawk Career Network


p.s. Even in tough times, Jayhawks flock together. See how you can make a difference for a 2020 graduate.

Career Talk

Why volunteering right now could be a smart thing to do

From the start of 2020, it feels as if we’ve ricocheted from one problem to an even worse situation—without any respite. Over 65 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the virus outbreak tore through the country.


Nevertheless, there’s hope on the horizon. Despite all of the doomsayers, America’s future is still bright and exciting. A large number of recruiters offered their firsthand experience of the current job market and predictions for what will happen in the last quarter of 2020 and beginning of 2021.

How to be a happy and productive remote worker

Whether you’ve been working remotely for a decade or are just getting started on your remote working journey, there are ways of making sure it’s a delight instead of a total drag.


In a recent survey, 77% of respondents reported greater productivity when working remotely compared to working in an office setting. In a different survey, 82% of respondents reported feeling happier when working remotely.


However, remote work is not all sunshine and yoga pants.

Suffering Zoom fatigue? How to fix that

Zoom fatigue is real and it’s hitting us quickly! This podcast discusses what Zoom fatigue is, why you are not crazy for getting exhausted just thinking about another video call and actionable ways to overcome this fatigue with Tracy Hooper, founder of The Confidence Project.

Summer internship canceled? Not at these companies embracing virtual versions

So far, 200 graduate and undergraduate students have signed up for a summer of online courses, long-distance social networking and remote teamwork at insurance giant, Humana.


But the company is still looking for more.


It has space for candidates who might be interested in learning about corporate strategy, marketing, health care delivery, analytics and operations.

Campus Connections

The online MBA’s capstone experience emphasizes leadership

This summer, the University of Kansas School of Business will add a new course to the online MBA program! The pilot capstone course promises to add energy and excitement to the curriculum, as well as emphasize leadership and decision-making in a data-centric business environment. Learn more from program director, Steve Leonard, during our June 9th live webinar.


*Sponsored content by our connections at the University of Kansas School of Business

Free and low-cost online learning and professional development from KU in KC

Working from home doesn’t have to mean forgoing professional development.


Developing clear communication styles within your team, learning to be an effective leader, or developing valuable skills you can bring to your team is just as important as it’s ever been.

Jayhawks launch podcast focused on marketing excellence in the New Midwest

CultivatED Marketer is a bi-weekly podcast focusing on the Midwest marketing communications community — and, more specifically, the professional development needs of that community.


The mission at CultivatED Marketer is to help grow brand YOU.

Professional & Continuing Education: TECH3060 – Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification

Organizations, both public and private, need to work faster, reduce costs, and maintain high standards of consistency and quality. They can achieve these goals through improvement programs such as Lean and Six Sigma.


The Lean process emphasizes waste reduction and improved processing speed, and Six Sigma stresses an analytical approach to the elimination of defects and the reduction of variation. When combined, they can solve organizational problems and improve performance, leading to a competitive edge.


This five-day program prepares new Green Belts to lead projects and contribute to improving services and manufacturing.

Distance master’s program creates new opportunities

KU’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology offers two ways for people to earn a Master’s of Science degree online without relocating or interrupting their careers.


The department’s literature-based and laboratory-based Distance Master’s Degree programs allow students to earn a Master of Science degree in a collaborative academic environment from anywhere in the world.

Jayhawks in the News

Mentoring programs help female economists secure tenure-track positions

There remains a dearth of women in economics, with far fewer females securing tenure-track jobs and publishing academic research than men. Past research points to several barriers contributing to this “leaky pipeline” including: access to mentoring, social networks, and implicit biases.


With some help from University of Kansas Economics professor, Donna Ginther, many groups, including the American Economic Association (AEA), are working to change this through workshops and other endeavors.

McNulty’s volunteer army joins COVID-19 battle

As William McNulty helped care for survivors of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, an insight guided him to co-found Team Rubicon: Military veterans—trained in crisis management, experienced at responding calmly under pressure and passionate about service—are ideally suited to fill a gap in disaster-relief efforts around the globe.


Ten years later, with more than 100,000 volunteers in five countries, McNulty, c’01, and Team Rubicon face a global health crisis that calls for different tactics.


How does a group known for putting armies of volunteers on the ground contribute to a pandemic response that counts lockdowns and social distancing among its most effective tactics?

Hawks to Watch: Alex Nichols, content producer & writer

Since graduating with a degree in English from KU nearly nine years ago, Alex Nichols, c’11, has applied his comedic talents and knack for storytelling to a wide range of creative endeavors, working both on-stage and behind-the-scenes in independent sketch comedy, short fiction, online marketing, television, and, most recently, educational content development.


But moving outside of his comfort zone didn’t always come naturally for Alex, and saying “yes” to new gigs often required him to confront self-doubt and fear of failure.


At the end of the day, he eventually realized, it’s all about perseverance, trial and error, and a willingness to move forward when things don’t go as planned. In his words, “just do stuff.”

Three alumni receive top award from KU Law

Three University of Kansas School of Law alumni will receive the law school’s highest alumni honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, this year.


The award celebrates graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to the legal field and service to their communities and the university.


Stinson LLP Managing Partner Mark Hinderks, c’79, l’82; Shook, Hardy & Bacon Chair Madeleine McDonough, l’90; and retired U.S. Army Major Gen. Clyde Tate II, c’79, l’82 will receive the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award.


Leadership Daily from KU

Treat yourself to free, “snackable” education to start your lunch hour with 15-minute, mid-day webcasts to enhance your professional skills


12:15-12:30 CDT
Every weekday

Rock Chalk Connect | Wichita Virtual Happy Hour

Join the Wichita Jayhawk Alumni Network for a virtual happy hour! One Jayhawk connection can change your world (even virtually.)


5-6 p.m. CDT
Thursday, May 21

Webinar: Taking your Voice Online: Designing a Digital Campaign

The Women’s Leadership Series empowers women to serve in leadership roles – both elected and appointed.


12 p.m. CST
Thursday, May 21

Welcome to the University
of Kansas Alumni Association

Your membership in the KU Alumni Association is the single most powerful way to make all of KU stronger, including the value of your own degree. Through your membership, the Association: