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Education & Nonprofit

Education and Non-profit includes fields such as teaching, advocacy, library and information services, environmental and social work.  Hamiltonians in this industry work at places such as the NYC Department of Education, Global Communities, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the The Nature Conservancy.

Scroll through the blog posts and stories below to learn more about Hamilton student and alumni experiences in this industry, and then use our career resources such as Facts on File and O*Net to learn more. Finally, meet with your career advisor and explore the Career Center curriculum to learn how to network with alumni to discuss your interests and learn more about their work.

May Highlights

6 Nonprofits Concerning Immigration


National Immigration Law Center 


“Established in 1979, the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of immigrants with low income.

At NILC, we believe that all people who live in the U.S. should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Over the years, we’ve been at the forefront of many of the country’s greatest challenges when it comes to immigration issues, and we play a major leadership role in addressing the real-life impact of policies that affect the ability of low-income immigrants to prosper and thrive.”

Website: https://www.nilc.org 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nilc/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NILC

International Rescue Committee

About: “The International Rescue Committee helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control on their future.”

Website: https://www.rescue.org 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/RESCUEorg/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RESCUEorg 

Upwardly Global 

About: “There are 2 million immigrants and refugees currently in the United States who have college degrees from their home countries but are unemployed or working in transition jobs. Upwardly Global is the first and longest-serving organization that helps these men and women integrate into the professional American workforce.

Upwardly Global’s mission is to eliminate employment barriers for immigrant and refugee professionals, and advance the inclusion of their skills into the U.S. economy.”

Website: https://www.upwardlyglobal.org 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/upwardly.global/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UpwardlyGlobal 

Immigrant Defense Project

About: The Immigrant Defense Project was founded 20 years ago to combat an emerging human rights crisis: the targeting of immigrants for mass imprisonment and deportation. As this crisis has continued to escalate, IDP has remained steadfast in fighting for fairness and justice for all immigrants caught at the intersection of the racially biased U.S. criminal and immigration systems. IDP fights to end the current era of unprecedented mass criminalization, detention and deportation through a multipronged strategy including advocacy, litigation, legal advice and training, community defense, grassroots alliances, and strategic communications.

Website: https://www.immigrantdefenseproject.org/about/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/immdefense/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ImmDefense?s=20 

Families for Freedom

About: Founded in September 2002, Families for Freedom is a New York-based multi-ethnic human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation. We are immigrant prisoners (detainees), former immigrant prisoners, their loved ones, or individuals at risk of deportation. We come from dozens of countries, across continents. FFF seeks to repeal the laws that are tearing apart our homes and neighborhoods; and to build the power of immigrant communities as communities of color, to provide a guiding voice in the growing movement for immigrant rights as human rights.

Website: https://familiesforfreedom.org/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/families4freedom/?hl=en 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FamiliesSyria?s=20 

American Immigration Council

About: The American Immigration Council works to strengthen America by shaping how America thinks about and acts towards immigrants and immigration and by working toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring.

Website: https://www.americanimmigrationcouncil.org/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/immcouncil/?hl=en 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/immcouncil?s=20 

Advice for Future Teachers

“Never stop learning! I enjoy taking classes to keep up with technology and all the latest teaching trends. It energizes me to be in a group of adults, talking about the things we do every day. I always learn a new tip or strategy for my ‘little bag of tricks.’ ” — Kim Howe, educational technician 


“Work to maintain work/life balance. Teaching can be exhausting, overwhelming and difficult, but spending too much time at school and too much time at home doing schoolwork can make it worse. You’ll be a better teacher if you keep that balance.” — Amy Verner, fourth-grade teacher 


“The most important thing to remember is to be flexible. Planning is important, but a teacher needs to be able to quickly modify plans when new situations arise. Also, it’s important to give all you can to your job, but you need to take care of yourself mentally and physically as well!” — Patricia Swiatek, inclusion teacher

"That there will be hard years and harder years, but none of them last forever! Each year is a fresh start and a chance to continually learn and do/feel better!" —probstrachel

"That the first couple years are the most difficult. That it feels a bit easier when you find teacher friends. That you should take a day off when you start to feel overwhelmed so that you can relax and take care of yourself before you actually get really sick. That some kids’ lives will tear your heart apart." —teachesthemiddles_2.0 

"Write down why you teach and always refer back to it whenever times get tough. It has helped me to never forget that I started everything with the determination to make a difference." —nal3n3




Nonprofit Related Books

The Networked Nonprofit by Beth Kanter and Allison Fine

About: This groundbreaking book shows nonprofits a new way of operating in our increasingly connected world: a networked approach enabled by social technologies, where connections are leveraged to increase impact in effective ways that drive change for the betterment of our society and planet.

Dare to Lead  by Brene Brown

About: Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.


When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.

But daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.

Four-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying the emotions and experiences that give meaning to our lives, and the past seven years working with transformative leaders and teams spanning the globe. She found that leaders in organizations ranging from small entrepreneurial startups and family-owned businesses to nonprofits, civic organizations, and Fortune 50 companies all ask the same question: 

How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture? 

In this new book, Brown uses research, stories, and examples to answer these questions in the no-BS style that millions of readers have come to expect and love.

Brown writes, “One of the most important findings of my career is that daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart. Easy? No -- Because choosing courage over comfort is not always our default. Worth it? Always. We want to be brave with our lives and our work. It’s why we’re here.”

The Blue Sweater by Jacqueline Novogratz

About: The Blue Sweater is the inspiring story of a woman who left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and find powerful new ways of tackling it. It all started back home in Virginia, with the blue sweater, a gift that quickly became her prized possession—until the day she outgrew it and gave it away to Goodwill. Eleven years later in Africa, she spotted a young boy wearing that very sweater, with her name still on the tag inside. That the sweater had made its trek all the way to Rwanda was ample evidence, she thought, of how we are all connected, how our actions—and inaction—touch people every day across the globe, people we may never know or meet.

From her first stumbling efforts as a young idealist venturing forth in Africa to the creation of the trailblazing organization she runs today, Novogratz tells gripping stories with unforgettable characters—women dancing in a Nairobi slum, unwed mothers starting a bakery, courageous survivors of the Rwandan genocide, entrepreneurs building services for the poor against impossible odds.  She shows, in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking, how traditional charity often fails, but how a new form of philanthropic investing called "patient capital" can help make people self-sufficient and can change millions of lives. More than just an autobiography or a how-to guide to addressing poverty, The Blue Sweater is a call to action that challenges us to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink our engagement with the world.

Event recap: Connect to Careers in Non-Profit: Virtual Tour and Visit to Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

On March 2nd, employees at the Central Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI), led Hamilton students through a virtual tour of their state-of-the-art facilities. CABVI is a non-profit organization based in Utica, serving approximately 1,800 individuals per year. The company categorizes itself as a “social enterprise,” making money off of products that they manufacture and giving the majority of profits to programs that support blind/visually impaired individuals. The agency, which has been around since 1929, has a mission to employ as many blind/visually impaired people as possible and provide them with services. For people who were born with or have developed visual impairments, having a job is extraordinarily important, allowing them to have a sense of independence and opening up opportunities.

As CABVI employees “walked” students through their buildings, students were able to sneak a peek at a number of their facilities, including a multipurpose room, tech center, therapy pool, studio housing, a wheelchair-accessible kitchen, and a fitness center. Throughout the building, features are designed to accommodate blind/visually impaired employees and customers. For example, the “Wall of Honor,” commemorating those who have donated money, allowing CABVI to be successful, is written in giant braille lettering. There is also tape and various textures on the floors throughout the building, serving as a navigational tool.

Click here to get a look at CABVI’s low vision rooms, color-coded floors, and therapy pool!

Event Highlight: Women Leaders in Non-Profit Alumni Panel

Are you interested in working in the nonprofit world? Want to hear advice from powerful women working in this sector? Keep reading to hear about the experiences of Hamilton alumni Yully Cha ‘97, Elisabeth O’Bryon ‘06, kecia hayes* ‘89, and Amanda Smithson ‘00!

Yully Cha is an independent consultant and self-proclaimed “evangelist for educational equity”

Dr. kecia hayes PhD is the Executive Director at The Roger Lehecka Double Discovery Center at Columbia University

Elisabeth O’Bryon is the co-founder and Chief Impact Officer at Family Engagement Lab

Amanda Smithson serves as Director for State Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children US

Why nonprofit?

For Yully, growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn and as part of a first-generation immigrant family, she quickly understood the power of education to lift people out of poverty. As a result, she knew that she wanted to help expand access to education and to college in any way she could.

kecia was raised in a low-income environment by parents who heavily emphasized the need for their children to get a good education. Like Yully, kecia understood that education had the power to open up doors, and wanted this mentality to translate to a career.

Elisabeth wanted to pursue a career that was mission-driven, and one that would create powerful change.

Amanda talked about wanting to do something that felt rewarding, that would allow her to make an impact, and that would make her feel good about her work. The nonprofit sector fit all of these criteria.

Challenges of being a woman in nonprofit:

  • While the education/nonprofit sector is female-dominated, the leadership roles are still predominantly dominated by men.
  • As you continue up the food chain, as a woman, people (mostly men) will doubt you.
  • Business school, on the other hand, is more male dominated and so as a woman, you learn to be more vocal and assertive.
  • Being conscious of how you communicate in what setting and to what audience. You must be intentional and not apologize in a work setting.
  • Especially if you are a woman of color, people will try to leverage both your race and gender against you.
    • Dr. hayes talked about leveraging her title depending on who she is speaking with -- this is code switching
    • When she is working with families, principals, and teachers, she does not introduce herself as dr. kecia hayes - this is about lessening the power dynamic
    • In instances when there is an assumption that she isn’t qualified, she leverages her title
    • Leveraging her credentials to amplify the voices of parents/the people she is working with
  • Trying to find a work life balance -- it will definitely affect your career
    • Particularly if you want to have a family


  • Take any job you can right after graduation. After that, you will move quickly and opportunities will open up!
  • Take any opportunity you can to make a connection -- think of it as meeting people authentically, one connection at a time.
    • Connect on LinkedIn and reach out to people!
    • You never know when something will materialize

*Panelist's name is lower-case per the request of the panelist.

Featured Blog Post

Making Time: Balancing Different Career InterestsAmanda Berman ’13

Amanda Berman ’13 is the curatorial assistant for the Department of Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She graduated from Hamilton with a history major and French minor and received her M.A. in museum studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program for Museum Studies in 2018. Her museum interests include 18th-century furniture, historic preservation and architectural history, and issues of accessibility and inclusion in curatorial practice. Check out her Instagram Reels series, “Furniture Facts with Amanda,” on Getty’s Instagram (@gettymuseum).

She also has a background in college career development, working in the career development offices at Cornell University and Hartwick College. Her interests include setting student learning outcomes and coaching students on professional correspondence.

Read AMANDA's Advice


2020 career outcomes charts
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Class of 2019 Outcomes Report

Each year, the Career Center surveys recent graduates to track their progress during their first year after Hamilton. The resulting report includes data about career fields and employers, where graduates are pursuing advanced degrees and postgraduate fellowships, as well as outcome information for each concentration.

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