It was a homecoming of sorts for high-achieving alumni from Touro College Graduate School of Technology, who shared helpful advice and valuable insights into building a rewarding career in Multimedia Design, Instructional Technology (IT), and Information Systems.
In his introduction to the open forum, Dr. Issac Herskowitz, Dean of the GST, said, “We want you to be successful in your careers. That’s our #1 goal.”
Of the panelists, moderator Robert Grosberg, Director of Career Services at GST, told the graduate students to “listen to their stories, because that’s going to be you in a few years.”
The panelists were: Mailen Nunez, an award-winning web content specialist for the City of New York; Samantha Samaroo, a front-end Web Developer and Designer specializing in product planning, demos, and social media outreach; Samantha Small, a Logistical/Technical Consultant for the National Mathematics and Science Initiative; Zenia Duran, a Programming and Data Specialist working in the NYC Dept. of Education; Nancy Shaw, a late-career Technology Integration Specialist working at Riverside High School in Yonkers; Nick Rubinfier, Computer Instructor and Technology Coordinator for the NYC Board of Education; and Gabriel Rivera, an Information Systems Specialist working as a Fiscal and Human Resource Manager for Global Kids, Inc.
Questions were presented to the seven-member panel, whose answers were as varied as their careers. Here are a few highlights:
How can GST graduates maximize their education?
Samantha S: Keep track of the work you do in class and gather things you’ve already done, because it all can contribute to your portfolio.
Zenia: Build relationships with your classmates, who can be helpful in business.
Nancy: Be specific with yourself. Make short, medium and long-term goals, and take all the classes you can. If you have a degree in technology, chances are you’ll be hired.”
Nick: Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. Find your passion and build on that.
What are some challenges you’ve faced and what did you learn for them?
Mailen: I have had to ‘manage upwards’ and I have been the only woman working with 20 guys. Be confident. Try not to feel intimidated. Prove your point and make a difference.
Gabriel: It’s a challenge sometimes fitting in at an organization. Ask yourself, “How do they make their money? What is their corporate communication style and culture?” Be open to different things and figure out how they use IT to make money and reduce costs.
Nancy: Expect the unexpected!
What would you change if you could go back?
Most of the graduates did not want to change the course of their college careers, but offered some final words of advice.
Zenia: Put yourself out there.
Mailen: Understand that learning doesn’t stop here.
Gabriel: Focus on being well rounded and versatile.
Students from GST found the experience helpful. Tzivia Adler, a grad student in the Instructional Technology program, appreciated advice that came from Shaw, a career professional who found her dream job after she re-entered the workforce. “Nancy Shaw is significantly older than anyone else, and her long-term view was much appreciated.” She added, “I also learned that it is important to speak up and not be afraid as ‘the new person’ to say what should be done.”
“If you have any questions or need advice, Touro is always there,” said Mark Reinhold, a student in the Web and Multimedia Design program. “They keep thinking of better ways to show us how we can use our Touro degrees and how to better approach joining the workforce.”