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Friday, Aug 01, 2014

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Dinner with 12 Strangers

DW12S student organizer Kaija Nealon (foreground left) chats with OHIO students prior to dinner.

Photographer: Sarah Barclay

Dinner with 12 Strangers

Hostess Sushila Gawande (standing) enjoys her guests around the table.

Photographer: Sarah Barclay

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Alumni Association successful with A Dinner with 12 Strangers


Students gathered on Feb. 9 to discuss their host’s past and the students’ future. A Dinner With 12 Strangers, a reoccurring event sponsored by the Ohio University Alumni Association (OUAA), is an opportunity for students to strengthen their ties with alumni, learn about the possibilities after their time at Ohio University, and network with these professionals to help make their transition into the “real world” a bit easier.

The Feb. 9 dinner, hosted by Sushila Gawande and alumna Cita Strauss, gave students the opportunity to hear about Gawande’s and Strauss’ diverse professional experiences. Gawande, a retired pediatrician after more than 30 years of pediatric practice in Nelsonville, Ohio, and Athens gave valuable insight about the ever-changing world of healthcare and offered advice for students hoping to make their way into the industry.

Cita Strauss graduated from the School of Dance in 1977 and founded Factory Street Studio, a recreational and pre-professional dance studio in Athens, celebrating its 35th year in 2014. Strauss provided insight on the adventure of starting a business and creating educational opportunities for students through her own experience.

Student Alumni Board’s Vice President of Student Outreach Kaija Nealon, also an OUAA employee, led the planning of the dinner.

“We were very pleased with how successful the February Dinner With 12 Strangers event was,” Nealon said. “Sushila and Cita are both very worldly women and it was so interesting to listen to their stories and experiences. From cultural backgrounds to campus involvement, the attendees were very diverse and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know each other. Our night was full of delicious food, engaging conversation and new friendships.”

A Dinner with 12 Strangers was launched by OUAA in 2010. It is a tradition that is growing throughout colleges and universities across the U.S. The idea is simple: attend a dinner with students, faculty and alumni to share a good meal, good conversation and a good time.

For more information about A Dinner With 12 Strangers and upcoming dates and times, please visit ohioalumni.org/dinner