Imagine, if you can, a liberal arts major who doesn’t know what to do after graduation. Imagine getting the chance as a junior and senior to find out just what’s out there for people who have been told that careers in business are only for business students. Imagine making the kind of connections at age 20 that can help your career for the rest of your life.

It may seem rather typical, but when I was a sophomore, like many of my classmates, I fell into that category of undecided liberal arts student. I was a Government and French double major (an SFS wannabe), but I was really interested in business and marketing (an MSB wannabe). If you asked me the ubitquitous question of what my career goal was, I would have checked the box next to “undecided.” Upon evaluating my Georgetown experience at this so-called “halfway point” of my college career, I realized that I wanted more than I was getting from my involvement in various student activities.

After seeing the prodigal and not-so-prodigal sons and daughters of various a cappella groups return to the Hilltop to reunite with their respective groups, I discovered that I wanted that. Not to be a prodigal daughter, but I wanted to be a part of something or some activity that would allow me to keep a real connection to Georgetown that would last beyond graduation. Upon hearing my laments about my impending and unsure future, Fr. Jim Walsh, S.J. introduced me to what became the answer for so many of us liberal arts students with too many interests: the George F. Baker Scholars. For me, the rest is history…

The George F. Baker Scholar Program at Georgetown University was founded in 1973 with the goal of providing liberal arts majors with demonstrated academic and extracurricular excellence the opportunity to interact and learn about careers in business from successful executives. The Baker Scholars are introduced to leaders in the business, political, non-profit and legal communities, through on-campus lectures and informal meetings, and through various off-site visits to major cities such as Boston, New York, Chicago and the greater Washington, D.C., area.

Consistent with Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition of service, and the philanthropic mission of the Baker Trust, the Baker Scholars also perform group community service projects in the greater Washington, D.C., area. In addition, the program provides the Baker Scholars with alumni mentors who were Baker Scholars themselves and who help provide guidance in their career goals.

Upon applying to the Baker Scholar program, I had hoped to find business and marketing professionals, who used business and marketing skills in their careers to help people in dealing with social justice causes, like advocacy on Capitol Hill. I did. In essence, the Baker program demonstrates that businesses can have compassion for others and a commitment to service, which is sometimes lost in the “bottom line profit” orientation of the business world. As evidenced by the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School we toured in Chicago and the Medicare Rights Advocacy Group we visited in New York, my experience as a Baker Scholar links community service, government and business together.

My experience as a Baker Scholar has been nothing short of phenomenal. I remember the day that I was selected – my friend and fellow applicant, Eddy, walked with me to the Deans Office to see if our names were included on the list with those who had been accepted into the program. Little did we both know that we would soon embark upon one of the best experiences of our Georgetown careers. Not only are Eddy and I still close friends, but I have been lucky enough to earn the friendships of my peers who make up the current group of Baker Scholars, the Baker Trustees, university adminstrators and leaders, the successful executives we have met during our visits to Boston, New York and Chicago and the over 200 alumni who have graduated from the Baker program in the 25 years it has been in existance. The advice and guidance I have received from my mentors has extended beyond the Baker program itself. Thanks to them, I have not only channeled my interests to develop a clear professional career interest, but they have also helped me in establishing personal goals.

If you want to learn more about what the Baker Scholars have to offer, come to an information session tonight at 7 p.m. in St. ary’s 110 or check out the group’s Web site at www.georgetown.edu/college/bakerscholars. It might not seem like it now, but it could be one of the best decisions you ever make.

Jenny Cosco is a senior in the College. She is co-chair of the George F. Baker Scholar Program.

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