Alumni weekend shows current marist students their potential futures

Marist College played host to all of its graduates recently, as the annual alumni weekend commenced in Poughkeepsie.

Along with a football game tailgate that did not seem to end until well after the actual game ended, there were many activities and events that were put on for the former Red Foxes. The Marist College Dance Ensemble performed a routine with alumni, while the Marist College Ultimate Frisbee team had an alumni game. On top of that, many alumni ventured to their old favorite spots, such as the waterfront, walking bridge, and even their academic buildings that are still left standing. No matter what each alumni did during their visit to Marist, they all agreed on one thing: it was good to be back on campus.

Current Marist students were able to have a different perspective of alumni weekend. On top of being able to reunite with old friends that have moved on from college already, Red Foxes were able to get a short preview of how their life could be after graduation.

Year by year, it seems like college student’s vision of their future becomes more and more narrow depending on how close they are to having to graduate. Therefore, by the time they are in the midst of their senior year, students focus, along with their anxiety, excitement, and stress turns almost exclusively to what they hope to be doing directly after receiving their diploma from Dennis J. Murray.

Some graduates opt to continue their education career and head to graduate school, where they can enhance their skillset even further before applying for the job that will become their profession. Recent Marist graduate Gillian Foss is one of these students. Foss is now attending graduate school at Iona College after graduating from Marist in the class of 2015 with Magna Cum Laude honors.

“The graduation application process was similar in some ways, and completely different in other ways from an undergraduate college,” Foss said. “Depending on the school and the program, you’ll need to take the GRE’s, which are like any standardized test only to a higher degree.” Foss advised students that “forming relationships and making good

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate Gillian Foss enjoys her graduation day in May of 2015.

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate Gillian Foss enjoys her graduation day in May of 2015.

impressions with faculty members is extremely important, especially in a larger college setting. You’ll need two-to-four professors that you feel know you well enough to write a recommendation for you, so those relationships should develop throughout your undergraduate experience!”

Foss explained that she has been enjoying her new life at graduate school very much thus far, partially because she gets to focus on the academic study of her choosing. “There are no more core or interdisciplinary courses,” Foss said. “Just classes that are entirely centered around your field. I’ll be getting my M.A. in Public Relations, and so far I’m planning for my thesis to focus on international and non-profit P.R. and development.” One scary thing about graduate school, however, is that there are no more easy courses. “Doing well in every graduate course is essential because the whole purpose is to attain a degree of better comprehension in that academic field,” Foss said. “That keeps me doing homework almost constantly.”

Foss now lives just outside of New York City with two other Marist graduates, one of which is also attending graduate school at Iona College. The three of them made the trip up to Marist for alumni weekend together. “Not too much had changed for me because I graduated so recently” Foss said. “But I think that is almost what I liked best about the weekend. It felt like coming home.” Foss later added that “seeing the new science building’s process was really neat. That is going to be an incredible building once it is done.” Despite loving her time at graduate school and being in New York City, Foss loved her visit to Marist College.

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate John Herman on graduation day.

Marist College Class of 2015 graduate John Herman on graduation day.

The other option that graduates have is to launch themselves directly into the industry of their choosing and start their career right away. Marist College class of 2015 graduate John Herman has taken this route. “I accepted my job as a Program Manager at Lockheed Martin in March of my senior year,” Herman said. “The job search for me went a little different than most because I worked with many members of my current team during an internship. Around January or senior year, my now manager reached out to me and informed me of an opening on his team.”

Herman was able to secure the job well before graduation, which definitely relieved most of the stress that comes with graduating. Now, Herman is several months into his new life as a working man. “As a Program Manager, I oversee an initiative to lower energy demand on Long Island and make residential homes more efficient. The job is challenging, but knowing the positive impact it has on both the environment and people’s lives is incredibly rewarding,” Herman said.

Herman also made the trip up to Marist for Alumni Weekend. “Even though it has only been a few months since I had been on campus, there was still a very different feel,” Herman said. This is “mostly because of the new building, which already looks close to completion, as well as the new outdoor basketball courts, which I am extremely envious of.”

Seeing how well Foss and Herman are doing so shortly after graduating, graduation definitely seems like it could be easier to handle than it currently seems for Marist seniors. However, the big picture still looms above every action that a college student makes. Marist College Class of ’95 graduate Jennifer Daly is a great example of not only where current students could be in twenty years, but also how a career change is never out of the question.

Graduating from Marist with a degree in Communication, Daly began her career in Boston with an internship at WHDH, a news station close to her home. About a year later, Daly moved to Charlotte, North Carolina upon being hired as both a satellite producer and field producer by NBC News Channel, which is NBC’s affiliate feed service. “I worked for them for about eight years in various capacities,” Daly said. She worked for NBC News Channel “in both Charlotte and New York, and then also Washington D.C.”

Clearly a very mobile person, Daly also traveled extensively while working in all three of those cities. “I did lots of big events over the years, such as political conventions and the Olympics,” Daly said. “I went to three Olympics: Athens, Beijing, and Torino.”

Daly would move again soon enough. “In 2003 I left NBC News Channel to go back into local news,” Daly said. “That’s when I came to Hartford and the Hartford NBC station. I was executive producer of special projects, which meant doing investigative stories that would promote health and consumer things that were mostly aimed at sweeps periods, so I’d build a sweeps calendar and all that sort of stuff.”

During her career as a producer, Daly did a variety of different things. On top of covering three Olympics

Jennifer Daly at Gray Media Group.

Jennifer Daly at Gray Media Group.

Games, Daly served as Executive Producer for the NBC owned and operated stations in Rome when Pope John Paul II passed away, lead the coverage of debate and election night for the Northeast, and was pool producer for the resignation of Connecticut Governor John Rowland. Perhaps her biggest achievement, however, was receiving a regional Emmy award while serving as Executive Producer of “Destination Education,” which was a children’s program. All in just over a decade, Daly certainly procured a loaded resume.

Daly eventually became tired of the hectic life that is being a producer and decided that it was time for a change. In 2009, Daly left the news life and turned towards Public Affairs. It was “a big decision to finally get out of the business,” Daly said. Switching fields twelve years into her professional life, Daly shows that one never has to be stuck doing something that they no longer want to be doing.

“I had an opportunity to start working at Gray Media, which is a Public Affairs firm,” Daly said. “We support state lobbying efforts with media support, so if a client is trying to get a bill passed or trying to raise an issue, we help them do that with media, so it’s my job to turn that topic into something interesting for a television report or a print reporter.”

Marist College has changed drastically since she graduated from the school in 1995. Considering the new additions of the Rotunda, Hancock, Lowell Thomas, the Music building, and everything else, the campus looks completely different. Most of the dorms were built after her graduation as well. According to Daly, when she was in school the best dorm that a senior could score was a Gartland Townhouse. Considering that Gartland is now being torn down to be replaced by the Marist’s soon-to-be newest dorm building, it is easy to see how things have changed.

All in all, Marist alumni are making strides in the professional world. On top of the campus’ immense change in the past twenty years, Marist is becoming a much more intriguing school with many exciting opportunities. This makes the diploma Marist students get that much more valuable. Soon, current Marist students could be sharing stories that are similar to these!

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