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Alumni Volunteers: Valued Partners Serve as University Ambassadors

As always, alumni are pitching in for the 2012-13 academic year by helping YU across numerous departments including Admissions, Career Development Center (CDC), and, of course, Alumni Affairs.

The Admissions department is utilizing alumni more than ever this year by inviting those living in different communities across the country to speak about their YU experiences at Admissions receptions and presentations for parents and high school students.

Rebecca Barnett ’08S, assistant director of Undergraduate Admissions, says she immediately thought to harness the power of local alumni in the communities to which the Admissions office travels during recruiting season (late August-early January), including Memphis, TN, Dallas, TX, Columbus, OH, Los Angeles, CA, and Miami, FL.

“It’s an obvious choice to engage alumni as we travel to different cities to speak with prospective students and parents,” says Barnett. “Who better to give them an overview of YU and an insider’s look into everything from the academic to the social than our own alumni? Moreover, every graduate I have spoken with about this new initiative has been extremely enthusiastic and immediately said yes – there’s such a sense of allegiance to YU from alumni and a real love for Yeshiva. It’s exciting to share that energy with incoming and future students.”

Richard Lewis ’07SB, who lives in Memphis and currently works as a manager of business development at ServiceMaster, says he immediately said yes when Admissions invited him to speak to parents and students later this year. “Living in a small community hundreds of miles away from New York, our high school students don’t get to experience YU first hand,” Lewis says. “Hearing from alumni who they know from the neighborhood and who have been in their shoes makes YU more relevant to local teens, and gets them to think seriously about all of the things YU has to offer.”

In addition to supporting admissions, alumni provide a major source of advice, support, and internship and job leads for current students through the Career Development Center. An Accounting and Finance Prep Night on September 4th featured 16 alumni who taught students about workplace professionalism and provided interview tips and networking advice prior to upcoming career fairs, such as the Finance Career and Information Fair on September 12th and Careers in Media on October 16th. Panelist Sigurd Neubauer ’05YC, who worked for Bulletin News, a D.C.-based firm where he prepared customized news briefings for top-level corporate and government decision makers, has even volunteered to meet with a small group of students over lunch about careers in foreign affairs, with an emphasis on the Middle East. He said, “As a student at Yeshiva College and subsequently at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish studies, I not only developed the necessary academic research skills but my Hebrew and Jewish studies background eventually helped me land a position at a leading U.S. defense consulting firm, where I supported a Department of Defense organization on issues related to Israeli security. I am grateful to Yeshiva University for having given me the necessary tools to succeed in professional life, and I’d like to share my experience with students who may be interested in exploring an international affairs career.”

Joel Strauss ’85YC, ’92C will spearhead the second annual “Being Orthodox in an Unorthodox World” on October 24th, at which alumni from various professional fields will speak honestly and openly with students about several issues that observant Jews face in the workplace.

Strauss said, “Last year’s event highlighted for me how much we, as alumni, can offer the students from our experience. As chair of the newly created Career Guidance & Placement Committee of the YU Undergraduate Alumni Council, I look forward to continuing to help the CDC and the students and encourage fellow alumni to serve as an additional resource for the CDC and its programs, as well as use their contacts to help create new internship and job opportunities for our students. It’s a great feeling when you know you helped a student make a career choice or find a job.”

Career fairs and information panels are held throughout the year, and there is always room for additional volunteers, including for the media panel in October and the actuarial field at another October event. To volunteer, contact Laurie Davis, Director of Counseling and Programming at the CDC.

All alumni can be ambassadors by joining the Yeshiva University Ambassador Network.
Barbara Birch, Senior Director of Alumni Affairs and Annual Giving, recently said “Alumni are the future of this University, and the more they partner with us, the more successful YU will be.”