After leaving Washington College, I worked for Charity Navigator, an online evaluator of America’s charities that is meant to be used as a tool for individual donors while making their giving decisions. While I was at it, I started a Master’s program in Nonprofit Management at The New School. Now I work part-time in the development department at a central-Jersey nonprofit called Collier Youth Services. Collier operates an alternative high school for students with emotional or behavioral problems, a group home for high school-aged girls, a transitional home for women 18-21 who have aged out of the foster care system or are homeless due to personal hardships, a job training program for teens, and environmental programming. I’m involved in the fundraising efforts there — grant proposals, recognition letters, funding research, things like that. It’s the perfect job to keep me just busy and engaged enough while I’m still in school.
School is great too. People at The New School really care about what they’re doing and the impact of their actions on others or the environment. It’s definitely a match based on values and offers an idealistic yet well-grounded environment where I’ve been involved with so many real projects and real clients. Last year I consulted with a redevelopment agency in Jersey City to create the pro formas for three mixed-income residential units that will be built in the coming years. It’s a project that has the potential to revitalize a distressed community. New School projects have given me exposure to community development finance, housing, financial management, social entrepreneurship, and grantsmanship, and I’m looking forward to learning more about marketing and corporate social responsibility in the upcoming semester. I’ll have my MS in Nonprofit Management with a concentration in social entrepreneurship in May 2011.
I use my background in sociology every day. Although my employers have usually been more excited about my degree in economics, the skills I developed as a result of studying sociology are more applicable to my daily life. I probably won’t tell someone which sociological perspective I’m using to understand a problem, but that background helps me to step back and think objectively about the issue at hand. That’s probably the most important thing I learned at Washington College. It was pretty funny when my professors started talking about the sociological perspectives during my first day at The New School—Washington College provided the perfect preparation
- Major: Sociology