Q&A with Maris Jacobs ’19

Students at the early orientation sponsored by the University's Native Students Program.
Students at the early orientation sponsored by the University’s Native Students Program.

Did you know that Syracuse University’s picturesque campus sits on over 720 acres of ancestral Onondaga land? The Onondaga Nation are the Firekeepers of the Haudenosanuee Confederacy, which is made up of six Indigenous nations: the Mohawk, Oneida, Tuscarora, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca.

In addition to the land acknowledgement read at the start of official University events, Syracuse also pays tribute to the Onondaga Nation and the Haudenosaunee people through the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship, Native Students Program (NSP), and Native American and Indigenous Studies minor. Learn more about these programs and more from Maris Jacobs ’19, below!

Meet Maris Jacobs ‘19
Hometown: Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory (just outside of Montreal, Quebec)
Major: Communication and Rhetorical Studies with a minor in Nutrition

Maris Jacobs '19. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs.
Maris Jacobs ’19. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs.

Why did you choose to attend Syracuse?
I knew very little about Syracuse before I was admitted! I knew of two other girls from my hometown studying at Syracuse who applied after learning about the Haudenosaunee Promise Scholarship. Looking back, the Native Student Program (NSP), Indigenous Living Learning Community (ILLC), and Indigenous Students at Syracuse organization (ISAS) were what made my time at Syracuse meaningful. In them I found a community of people I could depend on when I needed help and also felt like I had found a place I was meant to be!

What was your transition to life at Syracuse like?
I was anticipating a slow start to making connections and friends, but the ILLC and NSP made it much easier on myself and my family. It’s very easy to feel alone in a place you don’t know surrounded by thousands of strangers. I’m thankful that SU had programs that helped me find a living situation that I was comfortable with.

I also attended NSP’s early orientation program along with all the other freshmen who were staying on the ILLC floor in Haven Hall. I got to know everyone I’d be living with as well as some of the staff. By the end of orientation, I felt like we had been friends our whole lives. It was exactly what I needed.

What were you involved with on campus?
Throughout my time at Syracuse I was actively involved in NSP and ISAS! I also studied abroad in Florence, Italy during a six-week summer program.

ISAS is a way for students to become more involved on campus through a community that recognizes the importance of maintaining an Indigenous presence at Syracuse. We plan and organize events for Indigenous Peoples Day, Native Heritage Month, and host speakers and special guests that the entire University community can enjoy, as well.

Students tabling on the quad in recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Students tabling on the quad in recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The longer I participated in ISAS, the more I felt I could contribute, and I eventually held the role of president. Some of my responsibilities were to organize meetings, execute ideas and ensure that we got as many people involved in our programs and events as possible. I started to take on more responsibility in my junior year because I loved being a part of planning and brainstorming activities. I just wanted to see things keep improving and my role as president was all about how I could turn the input of others into something we could all share together.

What was a typical day like for you on campus?
In between classes, you could almost always find me at 113 Euclid Avenue, home of the NSP. The shared office and lounge space for the NSP is where lots of students would stop to take a breather during the day. It became my home base for most of my time spent at Syracuse. If I wasn’t taking a nap or catching up on homework, I was eating PB&J sandwiches and telling stories with friends!

So much of our ISAS’ programming is run out of 113 Euclid and it is important that it’s a place we can use to feel ourselves. NSP and ISAS’ Fall Connections, Identity Series, beading club, planning committees, guest speakers, and meeting are all held here, and it is also where the office of Regina Jones, advisor/director of NSP is located. Regina, along with Tammy Bluewolf-Kennedy, our Native liaison in the Office of Admissions, are two great members of the Indigenous faculty and staff on campus who are continuously enhancing our programs! They have been amazing resources and really helped me be successful at Syracuse.

What advice would you give to prospective Indigenous students regarding attending Syracuse?

Students celebrating at the Native Students' Program/Haudenosaunee Promise graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs '19.
Students celebrating at the Native Students’ Program/Haudenosaunee Promise graduation ceremony. Photo courtesy of Maris Jacobs ’19.

I would encourage all students to stop by 113 Euclid for a visit with Regina and a chance to meet other Indigenous students. When I started my journey at SU, I had no intention of becoming president of anything. My involvement in ISAS was something that grew out of friendship and a desire to feel like part of a community. You won’t regret the bonds you will make with other students like you. By the end of your time at Syracuse, you will have a whole network of people behind you whether they are students, faculty, or staff.

A Day in the Life of a Falk College Senior

T’airrah Contee ’20, a graduate of David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, shares a typical day in her life as a Syracuse University senior! Read on to get a sense of her schedule and how she balances school, work, and fun.

Meet T’airrah Contee ‘20
Washington, D.C.
Human Development and Family Science

South Campus Apartments Interiors Winding Ridge Interior and Exterior 2018

8:00 a.m.
Time to wake up, start my day, and grab the shuttle to main campus. As a freshman I lived in Ernie Davis Hall, but since sophomore year, I’ve lived apartment-style on South Campus. “South” is only a five minute drive from main campus, and free shuttles run back and forth all day long! I share my apartment with one other friend and it’s nice to have our own space and kitchen to cook. I also keep a small meal plan so that I’m able to grab food on campus during busy days, as well!

9:00 a.m.
I grab a bagel or smoothie, and then head to class or my work-study job, depending on the day of the week. As a Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) major I typically have 2-3 classes per day ranging from 50-90 minutes each. One of my favorite classes was Mindfulness in Children and Youth with Dr. Rachel Razza. Since I know I want to work with youth in the future, it was really useful in terms of not only learning the research behind mindfulness but how to employ mindfulness techniques with kids. Another class I enjoyed was Lust, Love, and Relationships with Dr. Joseph Fanelli – it’s always full, even with non-HDFS majors!

The Barnes Center at the Arch is an integrated health, wellness, and recreation services center.
The Barnes Center at the Arch is an integrated health, wellness, and recreation services center.

If I don’t have a morning class, I work a shift at the brand-new Barnes Center at the Arch for 2-4 hours. The Barnes Center is home to our health center, counseling services, gyms, workout classes, an e-sports room, and more. At the Barnes Center, I’m responsible for checking people in to the fitness center, issuing equipment, and giving tours!

11:00 a.m.
I tend to stay on campus all day until I get my work done, so after class or work I head to Bird Library or the Schine Student Center (it’s currently undergoing a full renovation!) to get some homework and studying in. Sometimes I stop to say hello to staff and students in the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), where I am part of the Dimensions mentoring program or pop in to a campus event like the 11+ career fairs held throughout the year!

I also love to grab lunch with friends on Marshall Street before heading to my afternoon classes – I love the pizza at Varsity, plus Chipotle and Starbucks are favorite stand-bys.

3:00 p.m.
After my classes are done for the day, I head to my internship at the downtown Syracuse YWCA. I started working at the YWCA as part of my required 90-hour HDFS internship course, but I stayed on after I completed my hours because I enjoyed the experience so much. At the YWCA, I assist with after-school programs for girls ages 5-18. I help students with their homework, create and deliver lessons on anti-bullying and self-esteem, and organize fun activities like movie nights.

Not only is my internship fun, but it helped me gain experience in my field, and ultimately, helped me land my first full-time job as a kindergarten teacher and Capital Teaching Resident at KIPP DC! As a former KIPP student myself, it is exciting to be returning to my hometown to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am today!

The Dome is home to Syracuse’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, as well as men’s football and lacrosse games.

6:00 p.m.
In the evenings you can find me studying in the library, making dinner at home with my roommate, meeting up with my Dimensions mentee, or having fun at a Syracuse basketball game or Orange After Dark activity. Even if you aren’t a huge sports fan, I recommend going to games– the school spirit at Syracuse is amazing and it’s a great way to have fun with your friends or meet new people. There are also so many free or low-cost events going on all the time, it’s not hard to find something to do!

Biotechnology and the Power of Choosing to be “Decisively Indecisive”

The Life Sciences Complex is home to the Biotechnology department at Syracuse University.
The Life Sciences Complex is home to the Biotechnology department at Syracuse University.

Syracuse University’s Biotechnology major, housed within the College of Arts and Sciences, boasts an interdisciplinary curriculum and connects students to a vast array of up-and-coming career paths. With core courses similar to a traditional Biology major, the B.S. in Biotechnology or the 5-year B.S./M.S. offer students the chance to choose from diverse electives, including specialized courses that focus on topics ranging from pharmaceuticals and the microbiome, to the creation of a business plan that pitches a new biotech product.

With an undergraduate degree in Biotechnology, students pursue careers in medicine, research, business, and science public policy. Others still go on to pursue Syracuse’s M.S. in Biotechnology or other advanced study.

Learn more about the Biotechnology major from senior Dana Immerso ’20, below!

Dana Immerso '20
Dana Immerso ’20

Meet Dana Immerso ‘20
Public Health, Psychology

How did you choose Biotechnology?
Growing up I was always interested in a variety of different fields. I never wanted to just stick to biology or chemistry, or business, I wanted to be able to understand all of them. I applied directly to the Biotechnology program at Syracuse. It was actually what initially helped me discover the University. I loved that Syracuse had a great combination of a well-established undergraduate Biotech program and a really promising Master’s program.

Studying Biotechnology allows me to be what I call “decisively indecisive.” I can take courses that range from traditional life sciences courses in biology and chemistry, as well as business, entrepreneurship, engineering, law, public policy, and cutting-edge electives. Biotechnology allows me to explore the paths that interest me most. Personally, I’ve loved being able to adapt my passion for life sciences and business with my deep interest in public policy through the addition of my minors in Public Health and Psychology.

What are your favorite Biotechnology classes?

Students collaborate in Dr. Ranesh Raina's classroom.
Students collaborate in Dr. Ranesh Raina’s classroom.

My favorite classes have been the ones that are directly related to the field of Biotechnology. Applied and Molecular Biotechnology with Dr. Raina was a great way to be introduced to the vast world of biotechnology and I was really able to diversify my knowledge and utilize my other studies in classes such as Professor Phillips’ Advances in Biotechnology course and our capstone program with Professor Coleman.

I think the main strength of our program is the diversity of it. As a biotech student you’re exposed to so many amazing and crucial fields, however, you have the ability to focus and hone in on what you’re most interested and passionate about. I feel very well prepared for my post-grad goals because I’ve learned to adapt to an ever changing field of study. As the world changes and requires different levels of learning and technology I feel confident that I’ll be able to move along with it.

How does The Biotechnology Society at Syracuse assist students interested in biotechnology?
The Biotechnology Society at Syracuse was founded by a really passionate group of students who wanted a space to find and interact with not just students who are declared biotechnology majors, but even those who simply have a passion or desire to learn more about the topic.

Because of the diversity of the courses we take, biotechnology does not necessarily fit in with any one particular field or other established organizations on campus such as pre-medical, or pre-health organizations. We wanted a group to call our own to spread the word about the amazing field that is biotechnology. Not only have we created a great learning and growth space on campus but we’ve also been lucky enough to have immersion trips off campus such as at the NEXT Conference of Innovation held at the On-Center in downtown Syracuse and a trip to Bristol Myers Squibb sponsored by the Career Center.

What else are you involved in at Syracuse?
I have a research position in the Developmental Biopsychology lab under Professor Catherine Cornwell of the Psychology department. I’ve held several internships, including as an administrative intern at Stamford Health Medical Group in my home state of Connecticut, and as a lobbying analyst for Hill Partners LLC during my time in Syracuse. I’m also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, a sorority on campus.

Students presenting their research at a poster session for Syracuse's Biomaterials Institute.
Students presenting their research at a poster session for Syracuse’s Biomaterials Institute.

What is your dream job?
I really feel like the opportunities available to me are endless. While some may think that biotech students are expected to dive straight into research or graduate school, I feel more passionate about the business side of science. I am looking primarily at start-up companies focused on pharmaceuticals and life science consulting positions and even some training programs that will set me up for potential future degrees.

What advice would you give to students interested in Biotechnology or who are considering Syracuse?
My best advice is to learn more about biotechnology and how it can be adapted to your goals, interests, and passions. It can be daunting at first because of how vast the field is, however, studying biotechnology allows you to become a well-rounded individual that has knowledge and expertise in a variety of subjects. As cheesy as it may sound, Syracuse’s program allowed me to follow my heart and manipulate my curriculum to suit me best. The professors are all incredibly passionate and if you have a goal they will help you in whatever way they can!

The Top 10 Reasons I Chose Syracuse

Students at Syracuse Welcome, the University's new student orientation program.
Students at Syracuse Welcome, the University’s new student orientation program.

By Seth Martin, Jr. ‘22
Hometown: Cambria Heights, NY
Major: Biology

Seth '22 with Slow Food, a Syracuse student organization that connects students on and off-campus with sustainable food enterprises. Photo courtesy of Seth Martin, Jr.
Seth ’22 with Slow Food, a Syracuse student organization that connects students on and off-campus with sustainable food enterprises. Photo courtesy of Seth Martin, Jr.
  1. Campus Atmosphere
    Syracuse has a very picturesque campus. The historic buildings and beautiful quad make you feel like you’ve stepped on to a movie set while at the same time you have modern facilities, like the Life Sciences Complex, that provide state-of-the-art resources. Located in upstate New York, Syracuse experiences all four seasons and there’s no better time to be on campus than during peak fall foliage!
  2. Sense of Community
    You can feel a sense of community at Syracuse as soon as you step on to campus or meet with other faculty, staff, and students. Programs like Syracuse’s Living Learning Communities and Hendricks Chapel make it easy to find your niche. People here are warm and inviting and it is easy to make friends and build relationships with your professors. Everyone is proud to be Orange!
  3. Majors and Classes
    As a Biology major interested in pursuing a career in medicine, I was looking for strong programs in the natural sciences when I explored colleges, and I found just that at Syracuse. While the curriculum is challenging, taking classes like organic chemistry and genetics have solidified my desire to be a doctor. And, if I change my mind, I have another 200 majors and 100 minors to choose from!
  4. Pre-Health Programs and Advising
    The vast array of resources within Syracuse’s Pre-Health Advising Office and the University’s location just steps away from 3 major hospitals made choosing SU a no brainer for me. Clinical and volunteer opportunities, as well as lectures and special medicine-related events abound and I know I’ll be well-prepared for my medical school applications because of these resources!

    Syracuse University is located within walking distance to Upstate University Hospital, Crouse Hospital, and the VA Medical Center.
    Syracuse University is located within walking distance to Upstate University Hospital, Crouse Hospital, and the VA Medical Center.
  5. Location
    The University’s location in the city of Syracuse means students get the best of both worlds. We have a beautiful, walkable quad-style campus but are also very close to the restaurants, shops, and theaters of downtown Syracuse and just 10 minutes from the airport. Free shuttles run from campus to various points of interests throughout the city, including Destiny USA, the U.S.’ sixth largest mall, and there are also great parks, trails, and lakes nearby.
  6. School Spirit
    If you’re looking for a school with a ton of school spirit, look no further. Here, everyone has Orange in their veins, including me. From going to football, basketball, and lacrosse games in the Dome to attending campus-wide events like Juice Jam and Mayfest, there are so many activities to enjoy with your Orange family!
  7. Extracurricular Involvement
    There are plenty of clubs and organizations (300+!) to join and get involved in at Syracuse, no matter your interests. I am involved in U100, our tour guide organization, as well as Slow Food, which is a worldwide organization that promotes sustainability. These clubs help me pursue interests outside of academics and meet people with similar interests.

    The Syracuse University Marching Band performs at Orange Central, SU's annual Homecoming celebration.
    The Syracuse University Marching Band performs at Orange Central, SU’s annual Homecoming celebration.
  8. Career Preparation
    Each of Syracuse’s 10 undergraduate schools and colleges has its own career center, meaning you’ll get expert advice in your field as you explore your options and apply for internships and jobs. Career advisors can help you network, revise resumes and cover letters, prep for an interview, and much, much more.
  9. Research Opportunities
    Syracuse is a Research 1 university, meaning there is considerable resources and funding behind both faculty and student research. No matter your academic interest, there are opportunities for undergraduate students to pursue research and hands-on experience in their field. You can even apply for research funding via the SOURCE, our hub for student research on campus.
  10. Alumni Connections
    With over 260,000 alumni worldwide, I knew that attending Syracuse would mean I had the power of a proud Orange network at my fingertips, both as a student and after I graduate. With resources like the networking site Handshake, students from all majors can connect with alumni in their field right away.

Exploring NYC with Newhouse’s Immersion Trip for Magazine, News and Digital Journalism Majors

 The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Syracuse’s renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communicatiosn is home to eight undergraduate majors that prepare students for a wide range of careers in media.

The Magazine, News and Digital Journalism program is specifically designed to teach students the reporting, writing, editing and multimedia skills needed to excel as journalists covering politics, sports, fashion, and more.

A hallmark of the Magazine, News and Digital Journalism major is the annual Glavin Immersion Trip to New York City. Started in 2005 by Professor Bill Glavin, these “benchmark” experiences give top students the opportunity to experience New York and make connections to help jumpstart their careers. Each year, a dozen seniors spend three days learning from editors at some of the nation’s top magazines, networking with successful alumni, receiving resume critiques from industry professionals and attending panel discussions and roundtables with recent grads.

Check out the photos below from fall 2019’s Bill Glavin Immersion Trip for a taste of what seniors in the Magazine, News and Digital Journalism experienced on the benchmark trip this year!

  1. Magazine students Allison Ingrum ’20 and Shannon Stubbs ‘20 wait in the lobby to visit alumni at People and Shape magazines including People’s Style & Beauty Director Andrea Lavinthal ‘01, who offered advice to students on landing their first job, how to succeed in an internship, and what it’s like covering the Kardashians.

2. Fortune Magazine’s Assistant Audience Engagement Editor McKenna Moore ’18 created a panel at which top editors and writers from Fortune talked about crafting story pitches, freelancing, and covering the intersection of business and culture.

3. At Hearst, students met with several alumni (l to r): Julie Kosin ‘14, senior culture editor at Elle.com, Yerin Kim ‘18, assistant editor at Seventeen, Emma Baty ‘17, associate entertainment editor at Cosmopolitan, and Erin Hobday ‘03, executive managing editor at Elle and Town & Country.

4. At Condé Nast, students heard from (l to r): Bronte Schmit ‘18, alumna and executive assistant to CBO of the culture division, Lale Arikoglu, senior lifestyle editor at Condé Nast Traveler, Meryl Rothstein, features editor at Bon Appétit, and Alex Erdekian ‘18, alumna and assistant editor at Condé Nast Traveler.

5. The benchmark trip ended with time to explore the city and a taping of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. 

Pursuing Pre-Health Opportunities Through Nutrition

Sarah Koutana '20 (middle, 5th from right) with the Syracuse University Ambulance Squad (SUA). Photo courtesy of SUA.
Sarah Koutana ’20 (middle, 5th from right) with the Syracuse University Ambulance Squad (SUA). Photo courtesy of SUA.

Sarah Genevieve Koutana ’20 first knew she wanted to be a doctor at nine years old, when her mother gave her a human anatomy-themed coloring book. Born in Miami, FL to French parents and raised in both the U.S. and France, Sarah later developed an interest in nutrition and how diet influences one’s health. As a senior Nutrition Science major within Syracuse University’s Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Sarah plans to attend medical school next year. Read on as she describes her experience as a pre-health student at Syracuse!

Why Nutrition Science?
My family is not from the U.S., but when my parents and other relatives moved here, many developed health issues, including diabetes and stroke. Diet changes and food regulation differences are partly to blame. For example, many of the sugary cereals that are popular here are not on the market in France.

A fully operational test kitchen in Falk College offers nutrition and dietetics students hands-on experience in the classroom.
A fully operational test kitchen in Falk College offers nutrition and dietetics students hands-on experience in the classroom.

I believe that doctors are generally not as heavily trained in nutrition as the public would like them to be. When I started researching colleges and universities as a high school student, I knew I wanted to pursue medical school after college. And I also knew that I wanted to study nutrition.

I chose to attend Syracuse because of the strength of the Nutrition Science and Dietetics program. The curriculum allows me to take both a depth and breadth of required and elective classes, like Medical Nutrition Therapy, Addiction Studies and Nutritional Biochemistry, so I can focus on my interest in nutrition while also preparing for medical school.

Pre-Health Pathways at Syracuse
No matter your major at Syracuse, students can take full advantage of advising and resources from the Pre-Health Advising office, including the committee letter, which assists students applying to medical, dental, veterinary and other pre-health graduate programs.

I have also worked closely with advisors in the Nutrition Science program and have truly enjoyed the variety of courses and opportunities I’m able to access as a student in Falk. Nutrition as a major is flexible and many students in the program choose to have a double major. Classes like Anatomy and Abnormal Psychology helped me in preparing for the MCAT and will assist me in interacting with patients in the future. I now serve as a Center for Learning and Student Success (CLASS) tutor for Anatomy, which allows me to earn money and keep the material fresh in my mind for medical school.

Campus Involvement
Pre-health students are encouraged to get involved on campus – you can and should make time for activities you enjoy! One of my favorite organizations I am part of is the Syracuse University Ambulance (SUA) squad. I didn’t have any training as an EMT when I first came to Syracuse, but after applying for SUA I received all the necessary training to respond to real-life medical emergencies. I’ve gained both friendships and clinical experience through my work with SUA and am grateful for the experience – not many universities have student-run ambulance squads!

As a McNair Scholar, I also participate in research on campus. This summer I worked with a nutrition faculty member to conduct data analysis on diet quality differences among children in the Syracuse Lead Study. I’m also involved in a sorority on campus and weightlift for fun at the Barnes Center. You can also often find me getting bubble tea on Marshall Street!

Advice for Prospective Students

Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics is housed in White and McNaught Halls on Syracuse's main campus.
Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics is housed in White and McNaught Halls on Syracuse’s main campus.

As a Falk College peer advisor, I love working with incoming students. I encourage prospective students to visit Syracuse on campus, if possible. Visiting campus and meeting with representatives from the Nutrition Science program is what helped me decide to apply Early Decision.

I also recommend all college students to take charge of your academic career and take advantage of the opportunities available to you on campus! Explore your interests and work closely with your advisors and tools available to you to make sure you are in the driver’s seat of your coursework and plan.

Bandier: Syracuse University’s Music Business Program

Bandier students learn from Monte and Avery Lipman, chairman and president of Republic Records during the David M. Rezak Lecture Series.
Bandier students learn from Monte and Avery Lipman, chairman and president of Republic Records during the David M. Rezak Lecture Series.

Did you know that one of Syracuse University’s smallest academic majors is also one of its most influential?

Students meeting with Cody Verdecias from Atlantic Records.
Students meeting with Cody Verdecias from Atlantic Records.

The Bandier Program in Recording and Entertainment Industries (Bandier, for short) within Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications enrolls just 25-30 students each year, but is consistently ranked as one of the best schools for studying the music business. Graduates of the program go on to roles in a variety of careers, including A&R, media and public relations, music journalism, entertainment law, venue management and more!

Interested in learning more about the Bandier program? Take a look at these recent photos for a snapshot of what life is like for Bandier students!

  • The Bandier Program maintains close ties with industry executives and leaders across all areas where music and the media intersect and offers students the chance to learn from someone new each week through the David M. Rezak Music Business Lecture Series.

    Bandier students attending SXSW Music Festival and Conference in Austin, TX.
    Bandier students attending SXSW Music Festival and Conference in Austin, TX.
  • Bandier students are encouraged to immerse themselves in the music business through programs like the Syracuse University Los Angeles Semester. The Bandier Program has a strong alumni network that works with students and faculty/staff regarding mentoring and assistance in finding internships and job opportunities!

    Bandier students enjoying the sunshine while spending a professional semester in Los Angeles.
    Bandier students enjoying the sunshine while spending a professional semester in Los Angeles.
  • The small nature of the Bandier Program means that students are provided with individual academic and professional guidance based on their interests. Students are required to hold at least three internships during their time at Syracuse, and many do so while studying abroad! Through experiences like these, Bandier students are exposed to a broad spectrum of ideas and experiences that prepare them for the ever-changing landscape of music business.
Bandier students taking in the sights during a semester away in London.
Bandier students taking in the sights during a semester away in London.
  • Despite the small and close-knit nature of the program, Bandier students also have resources of a large university at hand. Bandier students are actively involved on campus in a range of clubs and organizations, and many hold leadership roles in the college entertainment programming board, University Union.

    University Union leaders with Khalid after Syracuse University’s annual spring Block Party, held in the Dome.
    University Union leaders with Khalid after Syracuse University’s annual spring Block Party, held in the Dome.

A Bridge to a Dream Job via the School of Education

Kyle Zhen '20 and classmates at Brooklyn New School.
Kyle Zhen ’20 and classmates at Brooklyn New School during their Bridge to the City teaching experience (Photo courtesy of Kyle Zhen).

Inspired by his AP US History teacher, Brooklyn native Kyle Zhen ’20 knew he wanted to be a teacher when he arrived at Syracuse as a first-year student.

Now a senior about to apply for full-time teaching roles, Kyle looks back over his time at Syracuse and experience in the School of Education (SOE) with gratitude for all that he’s learned and confidence in his chosen career path. Read on to learn more about Kyle and what it’s like to be an SOE student at Syracuse!

Meet Kyle Zhen ‘20
Major: Inclusive Elementary and Special Education (Grades 1-6), B.S.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Activities: Students of Sustainability, Asian Students in America (ASIA)

Choosing a major
I knew I wanted to be an elementary school teacher – someone who is there for students, considerate, compassionate and teaches kids to be great humans –when I entered Syracuse, so the Inclusive Elementary and Special Education major was a perfect fit.

Students walk in Huntington Hall.
The School of Education is housed in Huntington Hall.

As a first-generation college student, my family really values education. I want to be able to pass on that value to my students, too, so that regardless of their backgrounds, they have the opportunity to achieve their dreams and really love learning.

Cohort-based model
SOE classes are cohort-based, which means you take courses with the same group of students in your major. The cohort model is great because it’s easy to make friends and build connections, and to ask for and offer help from each other. It’s a really collaborative environment.

When you enter the School of Education, you meet with both peer and faculty advisors right away. Your peer advisor is a year or two older than you and can show you around and give you advice on classes. My faculty advisor was great to go to with questions and was quick to respond to me and point me in the right direction no matter what I needed.

Experiential education
As an SOE student, you are working in the classroom as soon as freshman year. From programs like Book Buddies, to observing teachers and teaching lessons in Syracuse City School District, there are countless opportunities to gain experience in the field

Syracuse student working with children in Syracuse City School District.

With these experiences, plus student teaching, practicum work, in-school tutoring, and internships, SOE students log over 900 hours in the classroom by graduation. This is huge, because there is no better way to prepare for a career in education than time in the classroom.

Some of my favorite classes at Syracuse were my teaching methods classes where you learn how to really break down the content you are teaching and the methodology behind it. These classes allow you to really analyze and learn the best way to present material, like adding fractions, to third graders who have never been exposed to it before.

A Bridge to the City
When I was applying to college, one of main things that attracted me to Syracuse was the A Bridge to the City program, which allows education students to complete their semester of student teaching in New York City. Being from Brooklyn, I always knew I wanted to teach in an urban environment like the one I grew up in. I want to give back to my community and help make sure students from diverse backgrounds and immigrant communities have the opportunity to be successful.

Eight students from my cohort completed the Bridge to the City program with me this fall, and we lived together dorm-style at the 92nd Street Y. It’s a great location because its right near Central Park and it’s close to museums and the subway. After being at different placement schools during the day, we could come back and use the gym and cook dinner together, as well as hang out and explore the city on weekends.

During the first seven weeks of the program, I taught 5th grade at the Brooklyn New School PS 146 and during the second seven weeks I taught 3rd grade at Midtown West School PS 212. I loved both of my placements – I got to make meaningful connections with students and teachers and my 5th graders even invited me to their graduation at the end of the year! I loved the experience and would jump at the chance to teach full-time at either of my placement schools.

Advice for incoming students
My first piece of advice is to do your readings and homework! I recommend the 6th floor of Bird Library or the comfy couches in Carnegie as two great spaces to study. 

My second piece of advice to incoming education students is to reach out when you need help. School of Education prides itself on being a collaborative and supportive environment and professors (and your cohort!) are always willing to help and offer mentorship. So whether you’re struggling with a reading assignment or simply have a question or need advice – don’t be afraid to ask!


Top 20 Reasons to Apply to the College of Arts and Sciences | Maxwell in 2020 [Part 2 of 2]

Today I’m sharing reasons #11-20 of my two-part post: the Top 20 Reasons to Apply to the College of Arts & Sciences | Maxwell in 2020!

Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

If after reading Part Two, you still have questions – don’t hesitate to reach out to the Office of Admissions! We’re here to help you as you navigate your college research and application process. Reach us anytime at orange@syr.edu!

11. Unique Integrated Learning Majors
Syracuse’s signature Integrated Learning Majors (ILMs) in Forensic Science; Environment, Sustainability & Policy; Ethics; Energy & Its Impacts; Citizenship & Civic Engagement; and Neuroscience combine the academic coursework of traditional majors with professional training in an applied or multidisciplinary field. First created in 2010, ILMs, housed in A&S | Maxwell, offer students broad exposure to their field of choice and increased employability due to the versatile nature of these programs.

12. Liberal Arts Core
The College of Arts & Sciences is the home of liberal arts at Syracuse University. A&S faculty believe that education should do two essential things: help students master fundamental intellectual skills for communication and expression and develop broad perspectives on the world and human experience.

The Liberal Arts Core requirements ensure that all students in A&S take courses in writing, language, quantitative skills, humanities, social and natural science, and is part of what makes an A&S | Maxwell degree so meaningful. These skills also translate to success after Syracuse – written communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work in a team are three of the most-cited attributes employers look for in college graduates!

13. Tailored Career Advising
In addition to a university-wide Career Center, A&S | Maxwell students can take advantage of tailored career advising from in-house advisors that specialize in the liberal arts and sciences. Need help finding an internship or networking in your field? Starting to think about graduate school or obtaining a full-time job after graduation? Take advantage of resources like school-specific immersion trips, online networking and job platform Handshake, and annual career fairs with the assistance of our A&S | Maxwell advisors and feel confident in your path!

14. Support from the Dean’s Team
The A&S | Maxwell Dean’s Team is a group of undergraduate student ambassadors who will help you transition to Syracuse and answer any questions you have along the way. Members of the Dean’s Team are selected across diverse backgrounds, majors, and hometowns but they all have one thing in common: they bleed Orange! Dean’s Team ambassadors will be on hand to help you answer any questions you might have throughout the year, and even serve as mentors in first-year forums, the discussion-based courses required of all first-semester A&S | Maxwell students.

15. Discovery ProgramOtto the Orange visits Big Ben in London
Do you have the travel bug? Considering a gap year abroad? First-year students in A&S have the opportunity to study abroad during their first semester as a Syracuse University student through the Discovery Program. With locations in Florence, Italy; Madrid, Spain; or Strasbourg, France – you can scratch your itch to travel while earning Syracuse University credit alongside other Syracuse students.

 16. Exciting Minors
A&S | Maxwell students are able to take advantage of any of the 100 minors at Syracuse University, no matter which school or college they are housed in! With unique options like Global Security Studies, Mindfulness & Contemplative Studies, Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises, and much, much more, you’ll be sure to find a great option to complement your chosen course of study.

17. Power of A&S | Maxwell Alumni
With over 70,000 accomplished and engaged alumni worldwide, A&S | Maxwell students don’t have to look far to find connections that bleed Orange. With alumni events both on and off-campus, social networking programs like Handshake and the #hireorange initiative, it’s easy for A&S | Maxwell students to connect and share with Syracuse alumni from day one!

Syracuse University students on graduation day

18. Washington Semester Program
The Maxwell School’s Washington Semester Program allows undergraduate students to work and intern in the nation’s capital while earning Syracuse University credit. Students who participate in the Washington Semester Program gain first-hand experience in both international and domestic policy that sets them up for success pursuing careers in public service, public affairs, NGOs, media and business, and more!

19. Meaningful Community Service OpportunitiesSyracuse University students participating in community service
With resources like the Shaw Center and 20+ community service organizations at their fingertips, A&S | Maxwell students have countless opportunities to volunteer and make a difference during their time at Syracuse. During the 2019-20 academic year, Syracuse’s 150th Anniversary, the campus community was even charged with completing 15,000 hours of community service in 150 days – which they met and exceeded! No matter the cause that is near and dear to your heart, you’ll be able to make a difference during your undergraduate career at Syracuse.

20. Ability to Take Academic Risks
With 60+ majors and 100+ minors to choose from and the ability to take classes across campus as part of the Liberal Arts Core, A&S | Maxwell students are encouraged to explore their academic interests and take learning risks. Want to dabble in economics? Interested in trying a new language or learning more about nutrition? You’ll have space to indulge your curiosities and under guided support from academic and career advisors.