Pioneer Connect ignites the Pioneer Network

Sam Bloomfield

Undergraduate business student Sam Bloomfield will graduate in June with a BSBA in marketing and minors in accounting and leadership studies. While nearly 70 percent of DU alumni remain in the Front Range after graduation, Sam hopes to move back to Minneapolis to be close to family and friends.

After winter break, DU career advisor Tyler Till introduced Bloomfield to Pioneer Connect, an online community for DU alumni and students who want to grow the value of their professional networks. Alumnifire is a versatile digital tool that connects alumni, students and families and helps job seekers expand their professional networks, receive career advice, set up job shadowing and informational interviews, share job leads, get feedback on their resumés and more.


“We want every student to speak with at least five alumni before graduation,” says Brandon Buzbee, associate vice-chancellor of global networks and chief alumni officer. “Pioneer Connect supports this goal and enables our alumni to be successful far beyond their first job after graduation.”

Bloomfield set up his Pioneer Connect profile and within days was speaking to Minneapolis-based alumnus Bob Horwitz (BSBA ’75, marketing), who founded the Idea Workshop, a small creative agency. Horwitz joined Pioneer Connect, he says, because he saw it as “a way to interact with alumni outside of Minneapolis. I thought it would be great to share my experience and that it would be valuable to me and to students.”

Bob Horwitz

Horwitz has connected with a handful of DU alumni since Pioneer Connect launched in 2015, but he says his interaction with Bloomfield really stood out. From the first email, Horwitz knew that the DU student had done his research. Horwitz shared advice about how he got started, how to build a company, networking, and even information about specific marketing firms in Minneapolis.

“Everyone on Pioneer Connect has signed up to participate; they are committed and willing to help,” Bloomfield says. “I like that. They don’t know me, so I know they’ll be honest and share an unbiased opinion. It can be intimidating to reach out to someone you don’t know, but it’s definitely good to build connections early.”

Horwitz and Bloomfield say Pioneer Connect fostered a real DU connection—a sense of belonging and familiarity that doesn’t exist on platforms like LinkedIn. “It provides a nice connection back to DU and makes me think about being an alum,” Horwitz says. “It’s a good feeling to be a mentor or advisor.”

>>Visit Pioneer Connect to learn more and create a profile.

—Maria Kuntz

By Maria Kuntz
Maria Kuntz Assistant Director, Advancement Marketing Maria Kuntz