Graduation date: 2022
Major: International Studies (Latin America concentration); Political Science (Comparative Politics concentration)
Minor: Nonprofit Leadership
Current Position: Regional Events Coordinator at the American Red Cross of Western New York
What are your primary responsibilities in your current job?
Fundraise money for the Buffalo, Rochester, and Binghamton-based Red Cross Chapters by planning special events that generate revenue through corporate and individual sponsorships and ticket sales, along with the help of my volunteer committees. The money raised at these events goes directly back to the service programs we offer in those locations, including our Emergency Response, Service to Armed Forces, Blood Donor, and International Service programs.
What do you like best about your current job?
The ability to collaborate with so many people who donate their time and money to an organization that works to alleviate human suffering. 90% of the Red Cross’ workforce is volunteers and it’s super inspiring to work with so many volunteers who do this out of the kindness of their hearts.
How would you describe your career path after leaving UB?
I started with the Red Cross as an Events Volunteer when I was a junior in college and got a lot of practical experience in what I do now. My staff supervisor took another job in November of 2021, just a month before I was done with school. I was already familiar with the team I would be working with and some of the role's responsibilities, so I applied for her position and was hired.
Why did you choose to minor in Nonprofit Leadership? What did you like best about the minor?
I chose to minor in Nonprofit Leadership because I knew I wanted to work in a sector that prioritized making the world a better place over profit margins. What I enjoyed most about it was seeing all the unique ways nonprofits can exist and operate in our world. There is no one size fits all business model for these organizations and it’s cool to see how different organizations take creative approaches to struggles in different communities.
Were there any courses, experiences, or opportunities in the Nonprofit Leadership minor that you have found particularly useful or relevant to your current work?
SSC 452: Fundraising and Philanthropy! My job is fundraising so it’s exciting to see the things you learn in class play out in real life.
Is there anything that you wish you had known about your field / work in general when you were a student at UB?
I wish I knew how easy it is to find a volunteer opportunity sooner. A lot of students get hung up on the idea of an internship, but volunteering can have just as strong of an impact on your resume. And if you’re open to an unpaid internship, there really isn’t much difference in what you’re getting out of either experience. I would argue volunteering gives you more opportunities because you don’t just work with people in your field or company, you meet other volunteers and community stakeholders that can be valuable to your network that have professional/personal ties outside of the organization. Nonprofits also have fewer resources than for-profit organizations; because their workforce is spread thinner nonprofits will give you opportunities to work on projects that you may not have been able to touch at a for-profit business.
What advice would you give to current students at UB and/or in Nonprofit Leadership?
If you have even the slightest interest in something, see it through. Whether it’s a course, job, someone in your class who looks super cool, and you want to be your friend, see it through. Prime example, I had a small interest in law and was thinking about law school. I took LAW101 and hated it. Now I don’t have a doubt in my mind about searching for a career in nonprofits after college instead of signing up for the LSAT. I had a small interest in the nonprofit sector. I began volunteering at the Red Cross, took UB’s Introduction to Nonprofits class, and now I love where I am.
What is one random / fun fact about you?
I am working on building a funky/tacky/gaudy earring collection. Right now, my favorites are these double-decker disco-ball ones (does that make sense? LOL). I also have my eye on a pair that are “fall girl themed” and have a sweater, a maple leaf, and a Starbucks cup dangling off them.