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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Help Wanted: Website aims to match pros with students

Senior psychology major Steven Dell’Amore has built quite the personal online network, and he and his friends want to help other college students do the same.

The 20-year-old is one of the co-founders of a new student-run start-up site called Lend Experience, which seeks to connect students with alumni and professionals willing to share career advice, job training and shadowing opportunities.

“We want to empower students with our site,” Dell’Amore said. “We want to give students the tools [to succeed] that universities haven’t empowered them with yet.”

But the site aims to be more than just another LinkedIn or Monster.com clone in that Lend Experience is meant to foster real-life professional connections. The site has already been successful in helping several high school students gain shadowing opportunities, including one West Islip student who got the chance to shadow at NBC and another student who will be shadowing at MSG.

“I describe LinkedIn as a professional Rolodex,” Dell’Amore said. “You have all these contacts but what do you do with them?”

The site, which is currently in beta form, has used feedback from initial users to create a personalized user profile experience called MyStory, which turns the user’s resume and personal info into a unique presentation.

Dell’Amore met his fellow co-founders, Gettysburg College alumni Jim Myers, 22, and Fred Reimer, 27, at a benefit dinner held in West Islip at the beginning of the summer. Dell’Amore said he was instantly fascinated with the concept of creating a hub for professionals and student opportunity-seekers to talk and exchange ideas.

“I really was into in the whole idea of getting the community more connected,” he said.

According to Myers, Stony Brook University was the perfect place to continue testing the site because of the diverse student body and the breadth of clubs available. With a test site in place, the trio focused extensively on creating an environment where students would feel comfortable asking for career advice and  where professionals could help to mentor future workers.

What Dell’Amore and his friends think makes Lend Experience unique is its focus on open-access community groups. Unlike sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, there are no friend requests or page administrators. Anyone is welcome to join any community they are interested in, and all users have equal access to administrative permissions for their chosen communities.

By using a Wikipedia-like model for community pages and full Facebook and LinkedIn integration, the partners hope to attract as many users as possible to participate and share career opportunities with others.

“We want Lend Experience to be used as a place to be proactive to your career,” Myers said. “Everything you do on Lend Experience benefits you in real life.”

Dell’Amore presented the site to members of the Undergraduate Student Government at last week’s Senate meeting and encouraged them to spread the word about Lend Experience.

Myers and Dell’Amore plan to get student leaders established on the site and then build an audience through word of mouth and user recommendations.

While it’s still unclear how receptive students will be to yet another social media site, Dell’Amore, Myers and Reimer remain confident that Lend Experience will make a splash among users with its emphasis on creating a website built for students, by students.

“We’re really open to what Stony Brook students are interested in and how they want to use the site,” Myers said. “We want our site to be about communities.”

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