Syracuse University

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.

Mark Your Calendars for Spring Career Week!

Syracuse University Career Week will take place February 2-5.

As the fall semester winds down and you’re getting ready to head home, we just wanted to wish you a great, well-deserved break and let you know that it’s never too early to begin preparing for the spring recruiting season.

Mark these dates in your calendars!

Diversity in the Workplace: February 2, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Panasci Lounge, Schine
Syracuse University Spring Career Fair: February 3, 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Goldstein Auditorium, Schine
Engineering Career Connections Fair: February 4, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Panasci Lounge, Schine
Whitman Spring Career Fair: February 4, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., Goldstein Auditorium, Schine
iSchool iCareer Day: February 5, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Goldstein Auditorium, Schine
Environmental Career Fair: (time and location TBD)
Nonprofit & Government Career Fair: February 27, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Panasci Lounge, Schine

Enjoy your break and we look forward to seeing you back on campus in 2015!

From Modern Presidency to Providing Presidential Protection

By Kim Brown, Assistant Director for Alumni Programs

As a student at Syracuse University, Aaron Rittgers always looked forward to Modern Presidency class with Professor Margaret Susan Thompson. Little did he know that ten years later, he’d have a job that would give him a front row seat to the President of the United States, the Vice President, First Ladies, and other prominent world leaders.

Major Aaron Rittgers '03 speaks to Air Force ROTC cadets.
Major Aaron Rittgers ’03 speaks to Air Force ROTC cadets.

Rittgers is a Major in the United States Air Force. As a student at Syracuse University, he was in the Air Force ROTC. He graduated from SU in 2003 and is now Commander of the 811th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Andrews. What does that mean? His squadron is responsible for guarding Air Force One when it is on Andrews, for protecting Air Force Two all over the world, and for protecting the President, Vice President, First Lady, and other leaders while they are on Joint Base Andrews. That means Rittgers has some insider information on President Obama’s golf game! Andrews is one of the President’s favorite place to golf.

Major Rittgers visited campus at the end of October as part of the Alumni Speaker Series. He spoke to the Modern Presidency class, to the Air Force ROTC cadets, to a group of parents on campus for Family Weekend, and more. The timing of his trip also coincided with a visit from General Martin Dempsey, who awarded Major Rittgers with his Bronze Star Medal after a yearlong tour in Iraq. Rittgers has done seven tours and spent 1100 days in the Middle East!

Since Rittgers works so closely on protecting Air Force Two, he’s had several interactions with fellow Syracuse University alum Vice President Joe Biden. When asked about those interactions, Rittgers said that Biden is one of the most down-to-earth guys you could meet – and that the two enjoy chatting about ‘CUSE. Major Rittgers also told ROTC cadets how proud he is of them for choosing to join ROTC in a post-9/11 world.

It’s always an honor to welcome Syracuse University alumni back to campus to share their career stories, and we’re especially grateful to Major Rittgers for sharing so much of his time and talent with our students!

Meet Dan Olson-Bang, Associate Director, Graduate Student Services

Dan Olson-Bang
Meet Dan Olson-Bang!

Our new Associate Director just joined the office on Monday, November 3! We thought this would be a great time to introduce him to you, so we asked him to answer some questions about himself.

Slice of Advice: Tell us why you’re so excited to start working at Career Services/SU and/or why are you excited to be in Syracuse?
Dan Olson-Bang: One of the things that I look forward to in my role in Career Services is to meet with a wide variety of graduate students from across SU’s campus. I really like to hear about the kinds of projects that people are working on and to learn about different disciplines. My own interests run toward the eclectic (I really like to learn about the science of cooking and I enjoy biology, for instance), so I hope to learn some cool things from everyone! I also think I am going to learn quite a bit from everyone in the Career Services office, which is really exciting to me.

I also look forward to spending more time outdoors than I could where I used to live. Since I know about snowy Syracuse, I’m looking forward to learning how to ski. But I also like to camp and hike, which should be a bit easier than it was for me near New York City.

SOA: Tell us your favorite hobby.
DOB: Cycling. I love everything about bikes: I like to fix them, I like to have them, and I like to ride them. I particularly like old ones. I have a classic Italian racing bike from 1963 that I got at a garage sale that is my pride and joy (even if parts periodically fall off of it). I also follow professional racing like the Tour de France. My dream is to get a “snow bike” as they call them, which is a mountain bike with huge tires, to ride in Syracuse’s snowy winters!

SOA: Tell us an interesting fact or skill you have.
DOB: I was born in Germany. People always ask if I was an Army kid, since I came to America at 18 months, but my dad was an opera singer, singing in Germany and Austria. You could say that he is a recovering opera singer now. As for me, I play a few instruments myself (badly), and am a music lover like everyone else in my family.

SOA: I f you could have any superpower what would it be?
DOB: I can tell you what superpower I would like to have: speed! I love going fast on my bike, so it would always be great to go just a little faster. A more dubious superpower that I have been told that I have is an ability to spot grammatical errors at a hundred feet, a skill that I will hope to use with all those cover letters I’ll read in Career Services.

Sophomore Surge: Part 2!

By Christina Faulkner, Career Advisor, G’16

Checklist

Last month, we mentioned some options for gaining experience and exploring your interests to help prepare you for success. This month, we’ve got a few more tips to help you discover paths and lead you toward exciting experiences and post-graduate happiness:

Reflect on Strengths, Interests, Goals, and Values

Notice when you do particularly well in a class discussion, delegate tasks to team members, or any other natural talent you might have and write it down. Think about your goals and what type of environment you’d like to work in. This will help you be prepared to answer interview questions with confidence but will also make searching and deciding easier.

Job Shadowing

If you have a few different ideas about careers you’re interested in, consider job shadowing to learn more and to imagine yourself doing the job every day. Alumni can be great people to ask, or you can “virtually job shadow” an SU alum by following @workingorange on Twitter.

Career Conversations

Connect with family friends, alumni, or anyone who does something you have interest in. Ask them about their job and what they like and dislike about. The best perspectives usually come from someone who lives it. We can help you find people to chat with!

Establish Relationships with Faculty

Faculty are a great resource! Get to know them and their background, you can learn so much outside of the classroom from them too! Additionally, they might be willing to give you a reference or recommendation, proofread your resume, or refer you to a contact.

Attend Seminars on Campus

Keep an eye out for seminars, speakers, or events on campus where you can learn and network. Approach a speaker or presenter after to ask questions and learn more about your field. There are so many to choose from!

Mentor and be Mentored

Start mentoring freshman via fullCIRCLE or other mentoring programs and you can also be mentored by staff, faculty, alumni and employers in the area. Or find a mentor in the area after you connect with someone in a career conversation. Mentors can be caring and motivating and will tell us what we can improve on if they are a good match. Ask us how to develop a mentoring relationship organically.

Already doing all this? That’s awesome! Feel free to come in and chat with us for more ideas!

Starting your first-year career!

By Shannon Andre and Tracy Tillapaugh

Discover & Explore ... First-Year Career

Welcome to Syracuse University, class of 2018! We hope your transition to college has been fun, exciting, and full of new experiences so far. We know the term “career” may sound intimidating for some and it may be the last thing on your mind since you are just starting your college experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Essentially, exploring your future career starts now!  The decisions you make, the experiences you gain, and the people you connect with during your time here will all impact the next step in your journey after college…and Career Services is here to help!

At Career Services we want to help you early in your career development, and that can start as soon as you want it to.  If you are looking to discover more about yourself and your work style, explore options when choosing your academic major, build your first resume, or start your internship search, we encourage you to come visit us. We are also hosting the following events to help you explore your first-year career:

True Colors Workshop – Tuesday, Oct. 21 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – 115 Hall of Languages *RSVP in OrangeLink required; must be present for entire session

  • Why attend?  True Colors is a FUN workshop that offers insight into your personality and communication style. Learning this early on in your career can help you understand the differences between others’ ways of communicating; ultimately leading to more meaningful professional and personal relationships. Great for working in teams, building leadership skills, and identifying preferred work environments.
Major Mixer Panel & Discussion
Last year’s Major Mixer & Panel

Major Mixer & Panel Discussion – Tuesday, Oct. 28 – 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. – Career Services, 235 Schine *RSVP in OrangeLink appreciated as refreshments will be served

We hope to see you soon!

Orange Central: a phenomenal chance to meet alumni!

By Kim Brown ’06, Assistant Director for Alumni Programs

Have you heard? Orange Central is this week! Our Office of Alumni Relations welcomes everyone to celebrate their love of Orange – and with so many alumni visiting campus, it’s an incredible opportunity for students to make amazing career connections with alumni who want to help the next generation of Orange.

TwitterOC2014

So how can you take advantage of Orange Central as a student?

Check out the list of events – and sign up to attend them. Many Orange Central events are open to students. You’ll find the whole list here. Take some time to go through it. There is, without a doubt, something for everybody! You’ll even find some events, like Slice of Orange Days, Trivia Night, and Camp ‘Cuse, that are specifically for YOU!

Don’t be afraid to say hi. Most of our alumni will be checking in at the Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center, which is right next door to Bird Library. If you’re leaving the library and see alumni mingling around GAFC, say hello! You never know who you’ll meet, and our alumni are always thrilled to have conversations with current students. They miss SU, and you offer them a chance to live vicariously. Tell them what you love about this special place!

Listen to Ruth Ross. Ruth graduated from Syracuse University and, after a very successful career in HR for top companies like Estee Lauder, Wells Fargo, and Charles Schwab, she’s now an author and speaker on the topic of employee engagement. What does that mean? It means finding a career you love, a job you feel passionate about that makes you want to go to work every day. Ruth is amazing, and she’s speaking to students and signing copies of her book at 3 p.m. on Friday, October 10. You don’t want to miss the chance to hear her advice!

RuthRossPostcard

Offer help. For many of the alumni who come back for Orange Central, it’s been years since they were on the Syracuse University campus. Whitman is new. Ernie Davis is new. Dineen Hall is new. If you see folks looking lost, offer to help them find their way to a campus building. Again, you never know who you might meet!

Aspire to win an Arents Award. The George Arents Award is Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor, presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their chosen fields. Check out this year’s winners, who will be awarded at Orange Central 2014, and then chart your own path to becoming an Arents Award Winner!

Hope to see you at Orange Central 2014!

Achieving SUccess during #SUCareerWeek

By Tracy Tillapaugh

Image of students and employers at Career Fair @ the Dome

This fall, Career Services will bring in more than 90 employers to meet YOU at our Career Fair. We’ve already written about how to prepare for the fair, and posted a video telling you what to do after the Career Fair, but what do you do when you’re actually at the Career Fair? I’ve compiled some tips for making the most of your Career Week.

First, you will want to make sure you take a directory and map of employers at the fair. With more than 90 employers to meet with on Tuesday, September 30, it’s important to know where the employers you want to meet are set up. Take a few minutes when you first arrive to get acquainted with the setup and decide which employers you will visit first!

Second, you will want to greet each employer with a smile and a firm handshake. As you approach the employer, extend your hand, make eye contact, provide a firm handshake, and introduce yourself. One of the best things you can do as you speak with the employer is to tell him or her a few things about yourself that show that you are interested in and qualified for their opportunities (you’ll know about the opportunities since you’ve already done your research).

Third, ask for business cards! You will want to end the conversation by asking for a business card so you can then follow up to continue the conversation you started in person. It’s also helpful to find the person on LinkedIn and send a personalized connection request. Finally, send an email thanking them for their time at the Career Fair and attach an electronic copy of your resume to that email.

Following these tips will help to ensure that you have a SUccessful experience during our #SUCareerWeek events!

Summer's not quiet in Career Services!

By Magnolia Salas

Enjoy your summer Happy summer! Your dedication to your classwork, campus involvement, internship and work experiences, and long hours have paid off and now you get to enjoy a little relaxation. As you sink into the summer months, we wanted to reach out and let you know Career Services is still here. As you explore internships, co-ops, graduate school, and career possibilities, we are here to help you make sense of it all. We also wanted to let you know of a few events taking place this summer to keep on your radar.

Every summer, Syracuse University’s Alumni Association hosts SUccess in the City  networking events, which help current students, recent grads, and alumni to connect. They’re amazing opportunities to meet Syracuse University alumni who are established in their careers and are ready to help you meet your professional goals.

If you live in or near any of these cities, join us for conversation, new friends, and food:

Philadelphia: May 29
Boston: June 3
Washington, D.C.: June 4
NYC: June 23, 24, 25 (open to classes of 2012, 2013, 2014 due to space limitations)
Atlanta: July 23
Miami: July 24
San Francisco: July 31
Chicago: Date to be determined

If you are in NYC this summer, keep an eye out on the professional events hosted at Lubin House. From apartment hunting help to resume writing to networking opportunities, there is a little something for everyone.

Apartment Hunting Tips: Google+ Hangout, May 21, 12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Resume Writing: May 28, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Making the Most of Your Summer Internship: June 3, 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

In addition, it’s never too early to start thinking about participating in fall career week events from September 24 – October 2:

Local Internship Fair: Wednesday, September 24, Panasci Lounge
Resumania: Friday, September 26, 235 Schine
iCareer Day: Monday, September 29, iSchool
Syracuse University Career & Graduate School Fair: Tuesday, September 30, The Dome
Diversity in the Workplace: Tuesday, September 30, The Dome
Engineering Career Connections Fair:
Wednesday, October 1, Goldstein Auditorium
Whitman Career Fair: Wednesday, October 1, Goldstein Auditorium
Law School Information Fair: Thursday, October 2, Panasci Lounge

If the fall semester seems too far away, you can always reach out to us this summer to answer pressing questions or to prepare for next year. We are available all summer via phone, Skype, and in-person, both for our drop-in sessions and full hour-long appointments.

Have a great summer and we hope to see you in 235 Schine this fall!

If you’re a member of the Class of 2014, congratulations! If you have figured out your post-graduation plans, please share your good news with us by filling out this short survey.

A Syracuse Success Story at Success Academy

By Kate Hansen-Roxas, Class of 2001

Usually when I tell people what I do, I get blank stares.

“I’m the Associate Director of Network Operations at Success Academy Charter Schools!” I say.

“Come again?” they say.

Kate Hansen-Roxas '01. Success Academy
Kate Hansen-Roxas ’01. Success Academy

So then I explain: Success Academy is a network of 22 public charter schools in New York City that serves mostly underprivileged kids in struggling neighborhoods. There are so many unique and wonderful things about the organization, but one of the best things is that teachers and administrators at the schools focus solely on teaching and learning. Everything else — policies and procedures, health and safety, reporting and compliance, implementation of tech systems, enrollment, training (really, everything else) is handled by an operations team at each school. My job, with my department’s support, is to help those operations teams figure out what to do — and how best to do it.

I never imagined that I’d end up here. I started out protesting sweatshops on the ‘Cuse Quad. But, truly, it’s not such a leap from there to here. I was fighting injustice for kids and families then, and that’s what I’m still doing — because that’s another great thing about Success Academy. We don’t just operate high-performing schools; we also advocate for education reform so that all children everywhere will have access to high-quality schooling (we’re in NYC but we share our best practices far and wide). For me, the best part so far has been finding out that just because I didn’t study education, or know when I was 12 that ed reform would be my life’s work, here I am, smack in the middle of the education world, and I love what I do.

How did I get here? Well, it was roundabout, but a common thread runs through my experiences. At Syracuse, I earned my BA in International Relations (I also served on the student government, played ultimate Frisbee, and spent a semester in Italy). Afterward, I spent five years working for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. As a nonprofit working to empower people, the organization was connected to my core interests, and it got me started in program management, a big part of what I do now. I went on to earn a Master of Public Administration from NYU. For a brief interlude, during the worst of the recession, I was front desk manager at a spa. Then I worked for a public health insurance enrollment program. That led me to Success Academy, where I started out focusing on schools’ health and medical-form issues and ended up doing so much more.

Look, I can’t play cool about it — I really love what I do. I want all Syracuse grads to feel this way about the jobs they end up with. Here’s what I can tell you about building a career: Work hard. Lay your foundation; it’s not about moving up the ladder at first. Prove yourself solid and engaged, and opportunities will come. Also, one thing will lead to another. Your experience and knowledge, whatever they are, are transferable — maybe not to every job in every way, but what you have always means something.

As far as how to land a job, here are a couple simple interview tips (I should know, because I’m in the throes of hiring for dozens of positions): Start with a firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile. These are small things, but they mean a lot. Often you’ll find yourself in a round-robin interview situation or facing a panel. Be prepared to ask each person involved a question. If you run out of job-specific questions, ask for personal perspectives: What do you think the culture of the organization is? What’s your favorite part of the job? What are the top three characteristics for success at the organization?

From my experience, it comes down to pursuing what you love; believing that your path will come clear, even if you can’t see it right now; having a sense of humor but being serious too (professionalism requires both humor and seriousness, and learning which is appropriate when); and pushing yourself to improve continually. You can do it, ‘Cusers. And if Success Academy sounds interesting to you, please check out SuccessCareers.org!

Tomorrow, April 10, Kate Hansen-Roxas ’01 will take the helm of @WorkingOrange. Follow her day at Success Academy with us!