Get Expert Advice over Coffee with an Alum

What is the Coffee with an Alum program?

OCPD and Alumni Relations have teamed up to help UCSF students and postdocs connect with alumni who are willing to share their valuable insight and experience. We're giving gift cards to the first 25 students or postdocs who meets up with an alum using UCSF Connect, an online networking platform exclusively for the UCSF community.

The first 5 students or postdocs who participate in the program will get a $25 gift card! The remaining 20 will receive a $10 gift card!

What would I talk about with an alum?

UCSF alumni have valuable insight both about where you are right now, and where you want to go. You can talk to an alum who is on a career path of interest to you, get advice about making the most of your time at UCSF, ask them what they wish they had known, or have them tell you how they got to where they are today (also known as an informational interview). There are so many options!

This sounds great! I'd like to chat with an alum? How does it work?

All you need to do is join UCSF Connect. Find an alum through the UCSF Connect directory and request to meet up (and include this link about Coffee with an Alum in your request). Have a great conversation, post the alum's name and one piece of advice that they gave you on Facebook or Twitter (or both!), and tag us (Facebook and Twitter handles below)! If you want, you can even include a selfie with the alum! Be sure the social media post is public. Also, before taking and posting their name/photo/advice on social media, make sure you receive the alum's permission to do so! In return, we will give you a gift card. To encourage other students and postdocs to meet with alums, OCPD and Alumni Relations will then share your post (e.g., social media channels, websites, email correspondence) along with your name and the name of the alum!


  • Facebook: @UCSFOCPD
  • Twitter: @UCSFOCPD
  • Instagram: @UCSFOCPD 

​Alumni Relations:

  • Facebook:  @alumniUCSF
  • Twitter: @UCSF_Alumni

I have never used UCSF Connect, and I am not sure the best way to approach them. Any pointers?

You could also check out our online resources on how to find alumni on UCSF Connect, approach them professionally, and prepare for your conversation. Or, make an appointment with the Office of Career and Professional Development here.  Here is sample text for approaching an alum: 

Dear Dr. Hughes:

I am a biochemist completing my postdoctoral training at UCSF. I am currently exploring career paths in academia, including academic administration. I was very excited to find you on UCSF Connect. Would you be willing to meet with me for 30 minutes in the next couple of weeks to discuss your transition into this area? I would value the opportunity to learn about your current role, and your career path since your postdoc position at UCSF.

I am also participating in UCSF Connect’s Coffee with an Alum program, an opportunity to meet with an alum based on my professional interests and share this experience on social media. More information can be found here. Please let me know if you are interested. Also, I would be happy to discuss the Coffee with an Alum program in more detail if we connect. Thank you for considering!

Warm regards,

Jane Smith

Does the meeting have to be over coffee?

Not at all! If you would like to meet for coffee (or tea, or juice), go for it! If you can't, no worriesl! Find a convenient place to meet--we just want you have a great conversation and make a connection!

What if the alum isn't able to meet in person?

That's okay! There are so many other ways to meet including phone, Skype, Google Hangout, and Zoom!


Questions? Contact Sara Ayazi, OCPD Program Manager/Career Counselor at [email protected]