Alumni Speaker Series

All The World’s A Stage…And Teachers Are Players, Too

Guest post by Jaimie Salkovitch ’05

Jaimie Salkovitch '05 dancing with one of her students.
Jaimie Salkovitch ’05 dancing with one of her students.

As a musical theater major at Syracuse University, I never imagined that my audience would one day be a room full of first graders from Brooklyn.

After I graduated with my B.F.A., I worked nights and spent my days auditioning for shows in New York City. I loved the theater world, but eventually I began to crave a more stable position. A desk job wasn’t for me – I wanted a career that would throw me curve balls every day, one where I could make a difference in people’s lives. Recalling my transformative experience volunteering at an inner-city school as a high school student, I decided that teaching would be just that career.

In 2008, I began working toward a master’s degree in special education at Fordham University, and a friend recommended that I apply to work for Success Academy, a growing charter school network that at the time had four elementary schools in Harlem. I was hired as an assistant teacher, and today, I am a special education teacher at Success Academy Crown Heights.

At first glance, the voice and acting classes I took at Syracuse University seem unrelated to the math and English lessons I teach today. But after seven years of teaching, I’ve found that not a day goes by when I fail to apply the lessons I learned as a musical theater student in my classroom.

When I started at Success Academy, I quickly realized that the traits that make an actor great – preparation, quick thinking, the ability to accept feedback – are the same qualities that make a teacher successful in the classroom.

When I started at Success Academy, I quickly realized that the traits that make an actor great – preparation, quick thinking, the ability to accept feedback – are the same qualities that make a teacher successful in the classroom. During productions at Syracuse, I had to improvise if I forgot a line, or if a prop was missing from the stage. Today, if a student is disruptive in class, I have to think on my feet to resolve the issue immediately – while making sure I don’t lose the attention of my young audience.

My acting career also taught me to accept feedback — a critical skill for any teacher. In the same way that directors guide their performers, Success Academy principals offer in-the-moment feedback to teachers, allowing them to improve rapidly. The trick is learning how to accept constructive criticism and incorporate it into your next lesson. As an actress, I had a lot of experience doing just that.

Today, my colleagues and I work together to ensure our scholars are meeting Success Academy’s high expectations. We all care deeply about our students and work to create a school environment where children arrive eager to learn every day.  To achieve this in my classroom, I might ask scholars who have a hard time grasping a book passage to act out a scene, so they can better understand a character’s motivations or a certain plot point.

As I collaborate with my Success Academy colleagues to improve student learning, I am always reminded of the family-like atmosphere I discovered at Syracuse University, where players worked together to give the best possible performance.

At Success Academy, I have found the perfect position for me — no school day looks exactly like the one before.  Each morning, I have an opportunity to impart a new lesson to an eager young audience. That’s an exciting and sometimes scary responsibility — but one that the stage prepared me for.

Founded in 2006, Success Academy is a free public charter school network with the dual mission of building world-class public schools across New York City and advancing education reform across the country. Success Academy operates 32 schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Admission is open to all New York City families. Students are admitted by random lottery, held each April. Across the Success Academy network of K-12 schools, 76% of students are from low-income households; 8.5% are English Language Learners, and 12% are special needs students. About 94% of students are children of color. For more information about Success Academy, go to Successacademies.org

Jaimie Salkovitch is a K-2 special education teacher at Success Academy Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a B.F.A. in musical theater and received her masters degree in special education from Fordham University in 2010.

#BethAnnSpeaks: Valuable advice from an SU alumna

By Lindsey Silverman, Newhouse/iSchool ’15

Beth Ann Kaminkow ’89 speaks to students in Watson Theater

Last Wednesday evening, Beth Ann Kaminkow ’89 packed a large audience of ambitious students into Watson Theater as she discussed her journey to becoming successful in the advertising and marketing industries. She is now the President and Chief Executive Officer of TracyLocke, but she reminded everyone that she started out in the same position as many of us sitting in the crowd. As a Syracuse alumna, Beth Ann knows the ropes and is in the perfect position to give advice to students who are wondering how we can achieve the same level of success.

Be an Architect
This first point that Beth Ann really stressed is that you have the power to pick the direction of your career. She told the students to “think of yourself as the builder and architect of your career.” If you sit back and don’t do anything, nobody will magically create a successful career plan for you. You have to put in the work and create your own personal brand. This is where she pointed to the subject of social media, an area of interest for many Syracuse students. Beth Ann talked about taking the digital tools that we use everyday and transforming the way we use them in order to brand ourselves. All of our social media platforms together allow us to be the curator of our own brands. Beth Ann urged us to “start thinking about yourself as the agency of your own brand.” No matter what point in time, you can still design and change your brand. You are the architect.

Image courtesy of www.coachjohnwooden.com

“Pyramid of Success”
Beth Ann alluded many times to John Wooden as she talked about his “Pyramid to Success.” She continued to urge us to research advice given by Wooden and referred to one of his quotes that seemed to really resonate with us. The quote? “Nothing will work unless you do. “

 

Madonna

One of the last points that stood out to me was when Beth Ann discussed the concept of reinventing yourself. She referred to the prime example of Madonna and explained that if you plan to remain in your industry for a long time you must remain relevant. You need to always be on the lookout for a void in society and think of ways you can fill it. Life is constantly changing, so you must love the change and embrace it.

A Student Perspective

From our hashtracking.com report

I only decided to attend this event at the last minute, but I am so happy I took the time out of my midterm studying to hear Beth Ann speak. Her energy and story were inspiring and made me so excited to start a career in the advertising industry. Everything she said was relatable and valuable, plus it was great to hear her in such a relaxed setting. Students were given time to personally ask her any questions about her story and about the industry in general, and all throughout the event students and faculty were communicating through social media. The hashtag #BethAnnSpeaks on Twitter generated nearly 200 tweets and reached an audience of more than 11,000 people.

I encourage every student to take the time out to hear speakers who you are interested in because you never know what you could learn. Beth Ann made me confident in the fact that I just added a new major in the Newhouse school. With hard work, success is definitely in reach.

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The Alumni Speaker Series is a joint program by Career Services and the Office of Alumni Relations. Mark your calendars for Friday, November 9 when alumna Rachel Chang G’ 03, Editor-in-Chief of J-14 Magazine, will take part in a panel discussion with Newhouse professors Corey Takahashi and Aileen Gallagher on the future of the magazine industry. That takes place at 1:00 p.m. in Schine 304ABC. On Monday, February 11, 2013, we will welcome Jeff Connors ’98, Director of Global Marketing at The Rockport Company, as part of the Alumni Speaker Series. Stay tuned for additional speakers in Spring 2013! For details, contact Kim Brown (kmbrow04@syr.edu).

Alumni Speaker Series continues with exhibits, ESPN, and engineering!

By Kim Brown, Alumni Programs Coordinator

A former SU football player turned vice president of the company that designed the Melo Center’s Orange Basketball Hall of Fame…

An ESPNU host and play-by-play announcer who got his start at WAER and was a finalist on ESPN’s reality show Dream Job while studying at SU…

And a 2009 alumna who is now a reliability and maintainability engineer for Raytheon, with some great perspective to share!

We are thrilled to welcome three more alumni back to campus as our Alumni Speaker Series wraps up for the semester. Why attend these events? Because our alumni have career connections that can help you; they have advice on what you can expect when you’re coming out of SU and trying to land your first job; and they bleed orange like you wouldn’t believe and are anxious to help students with one of the most important parts of your life – your career!

Brian Tarrant
Wednesday, April 4th, 5:30PM
Tobin Lab, Melo Center
Brian Tarrant ’96 was recruited to SU to play football and studied sociology as a student here. He is now Division Vice President at MC2, a leading event and exhibit marketing company. His company designed the Orange Basketball Hall of Fame at the Melo Center. Brian will share his career path and offer advice/inspiration to students at 5:30 p.m. inside the Melo Center’s Tobin Lab, with a reception to follow in the Hall of Fame area.
**SPACE FOR THIS EVENT IS LIMITED AND STUDENTS MUST SIGN UP IN ORANGELINK. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND AND DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO ORANGELINK, PLEASE EMAIL KIM BROWN AT kmbrow04@syr.edu***

Anish Shroff
Friday, April 20th, 2:30PM
Herg Auditorium, Newhouse 3

Anish graduated from Newhouse with a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2004 and is now an ESPNU Host and play-by-play announcer for ESPNU Thursday night college football games. Shroff was featured on ESPN’s second season of the reality show Dream Job in 2004 and advanced to the final three contestants. He will share details of his career path with students, as well as offer advice on finding success in the competitive world of sports broadcasting. We look forward to welcoming him back to campus as part of our Alumni Speaker Series in partnership with Alumni Relations and the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month planning committee.

Jennifer Zhao
Monday, April 23rd, 7:00PM
Hall of Languages, Room 107
Jennifer Zhao graduated from LC Smith in 2009 and is now a Reliability and Maintainability Engineer for Raytheon. The students who are part of APA month planning are truly excited to welcome her back to share her career advice at this event. More details coming soon!

Hope to see you at one or more of these great events! Remember what we always tell you in our office: networking is a must. 🙂

Don’t forget – The Syracuse Downtown Tour is Friday April 13th from 10am-6pm. Visit companies in the Syracuse area and learn more about what it’s like to live in Syracuse as a young professional!  Check out OrangeLink for more information!

SU alumna Lan Luan shares her "Path of Detours" at SU

By Bonnie Kong, SU Senior

Lan Luan, who received her master’s degree from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science in 2004, spoke to students about her career path this past Tuesday as part of SU’s Alumni Speaker Series. Bonnie Kong was in the audience.

Lan Luan G'04

Growing up, Lan Luan had a straight career path in mind: go to America for college, major in business, and work in financial services. However, a few detours drove her off that track. Instead of going to school first in America, she attended a university in Singapore. Instead of majoring in business, she majored in computer science. Instead of working in financial services, she worked for Microsoft. Each detour, Lan told us, made her life more fulfilling. While in Singapore, she picked up international ballroom dancing, a hobby she still continues. She majored in computer science at SU because her scholarship was limited to STEM fields. At Microsoft, she is a senior product manager, responsible for the quality of ads on Bing. Thus, where she is now is far from her initial track, but she is not complaining. She has enjoyed every moment of it and made the best of every situation. At Microsoft, Lan manages a large team of employees, but still has time to go hiking and be enrolled in Wharton’s Executive MBA program.

Lan Luan speaking to students

Lan’s experiences have defined her as a person and have taught her to adapt quickly. Although Lan’s presentation attracted a large number of international and engineering students, she gave advice that is applicable to any student. In some instances, Lan felt disadvantaged because of her accent or as a woman in a male-dominated field. But she was able to see and act beyond that. In fact, being an international student played to her advantage because she understood international markets. Additionally, as an international student in America or working overseas, she adjusted to American life smoothly because of her willingness to interact with Americans. Lan’s ability to adapt appealed to employers.

What impressed me the most about Lan’s career path was that she was passionate about her work despite straying far from her original route. She encouraged students to show authenticity and passion, qualities that are not only key to being successful in any industry, but also to being happy in life. Lan’s career path proved that there are numerous paths and opportunities in life. The right one is the one that you choose to take.

The Alumni Speaker Series continues on March 27th, as we welcome Theo Moll back to Syracuse University. Theo represents professional and celebrity speakers as Vice President of Keppler Speakers’ College and University Division. On April 4th, we’ll welcome Brian Tarrant, who is a Vice President at MC2 Events, Exhibits and Environments. His company designed the Melo Center’s Hall of Fame. Hope to see you at these great events!

From Heroine to Human: my experience meeting Lindsay Adler

By Brian Brister, Graduate Student, Photography (Commercial Fashion)

As a child, every person dreams of meeting their hero, or in this case, heroine. This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to make my dream come true thanks to Career ServicesAlumni Speaker Series.

Although Lindsay Adler hasn’t held that place in my mind since childhood, I have followed her work very closely for the past two to three years. A friend sent me a link to her blog with a note that said “Check this photographer out. This is going to be you one day.” Immediately, I was hooked. She’s incredibly creative and brings intense emotion to every image she creates.  She’s also very personable in her blog posts.

When I began looking into schools to attend to procure my Master’s degree, I immediately added Newhouse to my list because I knew that Lindsay had graduated from there and I wanted the opportunity to learn from the same professors who taught her. I obviously had other schools on my list, but Newhouse was at the top. Lindsay and I have spoken several times via Twitter (@brianbrister @lindsayadler) but had never met in person.

Tuesday evening, I had the opportunity to have dinner with her and to attend her lecture where she spoke about her journey thus far in the fashion photography world. I made a list of nearly 70 questions that I wanted to ask her, but immediately realized that would have turned into somewhat of an interrogation, so I decided to just ask 8-10 questions during the course of the evening. At dinner, we discussed the places she had been, the things she worked on, what she enjoyed photographing most, how she made the decision that she was financially and mentally ready to move to New York City and what she had done as a student to better prepare herself for life after graduation.

Brian Brister with Lindsay Adler

Lindsay’s lecture in Watson Theater was one of the best lectures I have been to. She offered us so much important information and was completely relatable the entire evening. After her lecture, there was a time for questions. Lindsay was willing to answer any question presented by the students and community. There was a wonderful crowd present for the event, and many were live-tweeting using the hashtag #AdlerSU. At the end of the evening, I was able to take a photo with Lindsay (above) and also meet her parents who drove from their home near Binghamton to hear her speak.

Prior to the event, Lindsay was a photographer who I held in highest regard in the fashion industry, but simply a name who I admired. After spending time with her and experiencing her boisterous personality and seeing her determination and love for photography in every movement she makes, my heroine has become human.

Interested in meeting and networking with Syracuse University alumni through Career Services’ Alumni Speaker Series? The Series continues on February 21st!

Lan Luan G ’04
Tuesday, February 21st
Reception 7:00 p.m., Event 7:30 p.m. Life Sciences 011 (Auditorium)

Lan is Senior Product Manager focusing on International Marketing for Microsoft’s Bing. We’re welcoming her back to campus during National Engineers Week, which is very exciting. Lan was born and raised in China and received her Master’s Degree from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. She will share advice on working for one of the world’s most recognizable companies, and will offer a unique perspective for our international students interesting in following her career path.

Theo Moll ’90
Tuesday, March 27th
7:30 p.m. Hall of Languages Room 500

Theo is Vice President of Keppler Speakers’ College and University Diversion. Keppler’s exclusive roster of national and international celebrities and experts represents many of the most in-demand speakers on the lecture circuit today. Theo should really appeal to members of University Union and all students interested in representing professional and celebrity speakers.

Brian Tarrant ’96
Wednesday, April 4th
Time/Location TBA

Brian is a Vice President at MC2 Events, Exhibits and Environments. He started his career in sales. It was his company, MC2, that designed the Melo Center’s Hall of Fame that greets visitors. We are hoping to hold his event in the Melo Center, to give students a rare opportunity to see it. You can read more about Brian in this feature article from SU Magazine.

Network with SU alumni! Check out our Spring 2012 Alumni Speaker Series

By Kim Brown

I am SO excited about this semester’s line-up for the Alumni Speaker Series. Along with the Office of Alumni Relations, Career Services invites successful SU alumni to share their career stories with you and to offer you some incredible connections in the fields you’re interested in after you leave SU. After a fantastic fall, we are getting ready to kick off our spring edition of the Series. Our first event is Friday, January 27th! These events are free and open to all.

Next Friday, we’ll welcome Marco Forte, ’95 and Mitch Messinger, ’92 G ’93.

Marco Forte studied Consumer Studies, when it was a major in the college we now know as Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics. He’s now Vice President of Primetime Sales for ABC Television, handling national advertisers such as Apple, McDonald’s, J.C. Penney, Visa and PepsiCo.

Mitch Messinger is Publicity Director for ABC Daytime and Soapnet, overseeing national publicity campaigns including those for the multi-Emmy Award-winning drama “General Hospital.” Mitch’s undergrad major was in American Studies, then he went on to receive his Master’s Degree in TRF from Newhouse. Mitch bleeds orange; in fact, he was an Otto when he was a student here!

Meet Marco and Mitch at 1:30 p.m., January 27th, in Newhouse 3’s Hergenhan Auditorium. They will share their stories, offer advice for those of you seeking similar career paths, then leave plenty of time for Q-and-A. After the event, join us for an hors d’oeuvres reception in the lobby and a chance to network with Marco and Mitch one-on-one.

As for the rest of the Series, here’s who we have on tap!

Lindsay Adler, ’08
Tuesday, February 7th
7:30 p.m., Watson Theater

If you follow fashion photography, you know the name Lindsay Adler. We are THRILLED to welcome the very successful NYC fashion photographer back for this lecture on 2/7 and several class visits on 2/8. You can check out her website to learn more about her and to see some examples of her incredible work. Follow her on Twitter at @LindsayAdler!

Lan Luan, G ’04
Tuesday, February 21st
Time/Location TBA

Lan is Senior Product Manager focusing on International Marketing for Microsoft’s Bing. We’re welcoming her back to campus during National Engineers Week, which is very exciting. Lan was born and raised in China and received her Master’s Degree from the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science. She will share advice on working for one of the world’s most recognizable companies, and will offer a unique perspective for our international students interesting in following her career path.

Theo Moll, ’90
Tuesday, March 27th
Time/Location TBA

Theo is Vice President of Keppler Speakers’ College and University Diversion. Keppler’s exclusive roster of national and international celebrities and experts represents many of the most in-demand speakers on the lecture circuit today. Theo should really appeal to members of University Union and all students interested in representing professional and celebrity speakers.

Brian Tarrant, ’96
Wednesday, April 4th
Time/Location TBA

Brian is a Vice President at MC2 Events, Exhibits and Environments. He started his career in sales. It was his company, MC2, that designed the Melo Center’s Hall of Fame that greets visitors. We are hoping to hold his event in the Melo Center, to give students a rare opportunity to see it. You can read more about Brian in this feature article from SU Magazine.

Stay tuned as we finalize details on all of our alumni speakers. If you have any questions about these events, please don’t hesitate to ask! Hope to see you at some or all of them!