Senior Aniya Stewart sharpened her skills before taking part in the Mock Interview Competition at the University of Mary Washington last month. She researched how to answer the toughest questions and reflected on her past performances when applying for jobs.

Still, she was surprised when she was declared the winner. “My shock wore off when the judges explained their reasoning and gave feedback,” said Stewart, a mathematics major at Mary Washington. “I was elated after that and called my mom to share the good news.”

Stewart, who is already looking for her first post-college position, said she feels more prepared than ever after participating twice in the competition, held every other year for UMW Student Alumni Ambassadors, or SAAs. The event equips students with strategies and techniques to nail any interview – and hopefully, the job.

Along with Network Mary Wash, it’s one of many initiatives organized by the Office of University Advancement and Alumni Engagement to introduce UMW students to the vast network of graduates whose guidance can help them launch their careers and lives after college. A recent Mary Talk held on Nov. 15 featured Associate Provost for Career and Workforce Kimberly Young discussing the key competencies the University has adopted to prepare students for Life After Mary Washington.