Member Spotlights

April 2024

New Member Highlight

This month, NACRO is introducing our New Member Highlight, profiling one of NACRO's newest members. Our inaugural highlight is Lauren Cole, Director of Career Services for Troy University, a regional institution in South-Central Alabama.

My awareness and interest in NACRO began recently, as our institution is in the process of moving to an R2 status. As a result, we've been working toward a more holistic corporate engagement approach.

As the Director of Career Services, my role allows me to work often with corporate employers who wish to hire our students and graduates for internships and jobs, but I hope to assist our institution with widening those efforts through greater corporate relations work.
In addition to my day job, I am a doctoral candidate in TROY’s Global Leadership Ph.D. program and am interested in studying the intersection of higher education and corporate engagement.

My first NACRO event was the recent Corporate Engagement Bootcamp and it was immensely helpful to become introduced to the mission and values of the organization and to meet many of the members. The networking opportunities provided by NACRO seem to be one of its greatest assets and I look forward to becoming more involved in the months and years to come. Since that time I have also participated in my regional meetup and I enjoyed the convenience and camaraderie that event offered as well.

Member Spotlight

A conversation with Jason Lin, Managing Director, Data Science & AI Initiatives, Computer Science at Stanford University.

Tell us about yourself briefly (education, career arc, what lead you to Stanford).

I studied Computer Science at UCLA and business at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. The first 14 years of my career I spent with Northrop Grumman in engineering, program management, and strategy roles. I had the fortune to work with Stanford on behalf of my company and met lots of great people. When a position in Stanford Computer Science posted, someone there let me know and I applied. I’ve been at Stanford for over 5 years now and am enjoying working in academia connecting with industry from the other side.

How long have you been a NACRO member and why did you decide to become a member? 

I was a member back during my time at Northrop Grumman pre 2018 for a couple years but dropped off during my time at Stanford until reconnecting a few years ago from the Stanford side. I was thinking about organizations and looking outside our organization to get new ideas and see how others were doing the type of work we are doing. It also helped that my incoming manager at the time is a board member of NACRO.

What do you enjoy about developing and stewarding partnerships?

At a high level we are working to advance knowledge and the application of that knowledge. It’s a privilege that we get to steward partnerships at the intersection where everyone involved and ideally society are all beneficiaries. We get to help faculty, departments, students and companies and if all goes well create a lot of value for everyone. I appreciate that I have the wonderful opportunity to work in this space.

What do you find challenging about corporate work? 

We do a lot of expectation setting on all sides, and smooth out the interface friction points between academia and industry. There are differences in the way the organizations work and their cultures. Navigating the academic side is probably the most difficult part. 

What advice would you give to your fellow corporate relations professionals to be successful in this role?

Be a good community citizen and be helpful and giving to others of your knowledge, experience, and time. This goes a long way in forming relationships that just make the job and life better. On a more tactical level, get engaged with NACRO and meet peers. You’ll gain a lot from best practices and lessons learned. And then give back of your time and ideas to continually build the community.

What are the top 5 reasons why it’s important to you to be a member of NACRO?

Community, knowledge sharing, continuous improvement, opportunity, and fun. 

In addition to NACRO, what are other professional development tools you utilize?

I participate in UIDP and have participated in NACE. 

Can you share a fun fact, interest, or travel experience that stands out?

The most memorable trips I’ve taken include Great White Shark cage diving and safari in South Africa, backpacking through western Europe, trekking to Machu Pichu in Peru, and visiting national parks with my family. I went on a tour of the Korean Demilitarized zone which included going down into an infiltration tunnel – highly recommend this one. 

Who is someone that inspires you in your daily life?

My wife. She’s just a really good person.

2024 Member Spotlights