My academic and extracurricular experiences at Hamilton taught me to never stop learning. This has helped me in every job I’ve had — from manually unboxing and sorting CDs, to taking care of animals in a zoo, to helping develop the Google self-driving car. You never know where your career will take you and what opportunities will appear. Hamilton equipped me with the skill set to adapt and to succeed in any setting.
After the 2008 market downturn, I was torn between going back to business school or continuing my work at Goldman Sachs, so I reached out to a former partner of Goldman Sachs and a fellow Hamilton graduate. After our discussion, I felt more motivated than ever before to pursue a career in sales. Six months later, I joined the growing asset management sales business at the company. Given the new regulatory environment, banks were focused on recapitalizing, and they needed to grow their asset and wealth management businesses. It was a key turning point for my career in financial services.
When you’re covering the Supreme Court one day and the United Nations the next, there’s no better background knowledge than a liberal arts education. A day doesn’t go by in my career as a journalist when I don’t rely on the skills I learned at Hamilton. My experience as news editor at Hamilton’s student-run newspaper, The Spectator, taught me more about writing and editing than any summer internship. The writing-intensive curriculum at Hamilton isn’t just for English majors — professors in every discipline emphasize the same high standards for all their students, molding effective communicators and brilliant writers.
I gave my first oral presentation as a freshman in Introductory Chemistry. Over the next three-and-a-half years, I took a range of classes in different departments, including Monetary Policy in Economics; American Sign Language and Media Theory, both in the Communication department; and Biophysical Chemistry in the Chemistry department. Each of these classes had an oral presentation component, and I learned to adapt my presentation to the audience.
Today, as part of my training as a doctor, I give oral presentations to fellow student doctors, to seasoned medical personnel and to other scientists in the medical field. With each speech I deliver, I always rely on the fundamentals I learned at Hamilton College.
The nonlinear nature of my education and, most importantly, the open-form structure of the campus and student body helped me believe in myself and others enough to step beyond the traditional career path. I helped create an industry that did not exist when I was a student at Hamilton College. There really is no single experience that shapes you; it is the aggregate of all the good and bad experiences. Hamilton allowed me to learn from both.
Every day, I think about everything Hamilton taught me about writing. My outstanding creative writing classes and the Writing Center taught me to think critically about my craft, while my classes in other departments expanded my horizons and gave me ideas to write about. When I was a sophomore, a Hamilton alum helped me secure my first internship in publishing. That summer was a vital foot in the door for me; it set me up for another internship the following year, my job at Scholastic and my book deal with Penguin. I marvel at how Hamilton gave me the academic tools to succeed, then gave me the practical experience I needed to make my ambitions a reality.
As an educator, I am responsible for shaping future leaders: I help children learn to read to grow, speak to be heard and write to be understood, which are the fundamental attributes of a Hamilton experience. Critical thinking is an essential trait for leadership, and as I take on the role of school leadership, I am excited to use the skills I acquired during my Hamilton experiences to develop enrichment programs, collaborate with community members, and compete on and off the field.
Rather than just learning formulas and memorizing theorems from a textbook, Hamilton taught me to analyze problems that aren’t straightforward or that don’t always have a “right” solution. This skill has proved invaluable in the ever-evolving financial services industry. As markets and regulations constantly change, processes need to be both dynamic and transparent. Not only did Hamilton teach me how to think about problems, but also how to effectively communicate complex material. More importantly, Hamilton fueled my desire to keep learning. I believe this is a common motivation of all Hamiltonians and will help drive success in any career we pursue.
My experience as a HAVOC volunteer was one of the most enjoyable and important things I did at Hamilton. Nearly every week I had the opportunity to mentor Utica children both on campus and at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School. I learned about the local community by forming strong relationships with Utica children and their families, and many of the same lessons apply to my job today as a community organizer-urban planner in my hometown of Baltimore. Every person, whether living in Utica or Baltimore, deserves a community that is safe, healthy and beautiful, and my job is to help neighbors build places that reflect that shared vision.
When I graduated, there were very few job openings, so I reached out to Hamilton alumni for informational interviews. I landed my first job with the help of a Hamilton alumna who met with me to discuss her experiences at GREY New York. I came to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations in the same way. When I started to consider graduate school, I consulted with alumni who had already gone through the process. In all of my career moves, the Hamilton network — helpful, open and strong — has served as an indispensable resource.