After 4 Years, Students Turn Staff
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 02:10
When Anupam Chakravarty (SFS ’10) arrived at Georgetown in fall 2006, he planned to spend only the next four years on campus.
Seven years later, he’s still here.
“There’s this energy in the city and energy on campus,” said Chakravarty, now senior manager for interactive communications and multimedia strategy in the Office of Advancement.
After graduation, Chakravarty took a few months off, but eventually returned to help a professor. Talking to different professors compelled him to return permanently.
Amanda Delp (SFS ’12) began working for the Office of the Provost the Monday after graduation. The position started out in the summer as a temporary favor to the office — which she had worked for as an undergraduate — but eventually developed into a full-time job that fall.
“It was odd when students came back that first fall and I wasn’t joining them,” Delp said.
Michael Renzi’s (COL ’12) work in web services and project management for University Information Services also evolved from a student position.
“[It is] definitely a good bridge from the academic to the professional world,” Renzi said.
Although staying at Georgetown can help ease alumni into the transition from student to working professional, it also blurs the lines between student and staffer. Vail Kohnert-Yount (SFS ’13), administrator for the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, recently worked with her former roommate, currently a senior at Georgetown, on an Alternative Spring Break project.
“I work very closely with her in a professional capacity, but she’s also seen my dirty socks,” she said.
Theon O’Connor (COL ’12), who works for the Office of Neighborhood Life, said that student interaction is one of the primary reasons he loves his job here.
“I knew I needed a job that would give me that connection with students on a day-to-day basis, and I think I’ve gotten that with what I’ve done here,” he said.
One of the major perks for Georgetown staff is the university’s Tuition Assistance Program. After working at Georgetown for a full year, full-time employees can attend a Georgetown master’s program, including law school or the MBA program, free of charge.
To participate, the staff member must continue to work full-time in addition to nighttime graduate school courses. Renzi intends to begin working toward a master’s degree in economics next fall.
“It’s going to be crazy. I’m not going to have a lot of free time, but it’s really too good a deal for me to pass up,” he said.
Even though they may be busy taking courses on top of a full-time job, employees who take up coursework said they find support from their employers.
“Most people who work at Georgetown, like bosses and supervisors, they understand and encourage and look favorably toward their employees doing grad school here,” Chakravarty, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Communication, Culture and Technology, said.
To work while being surrounded by students can also trigger nostalgia for these recent grads.
“I definitely get a little sad watching all the students walking around,” Renzi said.
“Every time I walk through campus and the smell of GUGS burgers and the passionate look of people in Red Square, or even these goofballs talking about what they did on Saturday while making coffee, that part I definitely miss,” Chakravarty said.
Delp, however, prefers the life of a staffer.
“I appreciate not having to go to class and not having to have my life revolve around midterms. It’s the nice parts of student life without having to do those parts,” she said.
Chakravarty said that he initially had reservations about working at Georgetown after college.
“You don’t want to be that guy in the varsity jacket in the senior parking lot of your old high school,” he said. “There’s this expectation that everyone is going to make their impact way beyond the Hilltop, so I had some trepidation about coming back.”
Jesslyn Cheong (SFS ’11), who works at the Kalmanovitz Initiative with Kohnert-Yount, added that she was originally concerned that by staying at Georgetown, she wasn’t pushing her boundaries enough.
“It eased the transition, but I didn’t want to be too comfortable either, because it kind of felt like making a safe choice, but I think it really was the right choice in the end, because even though it was a place I feel comfortable at, it really allowed me to see a whole different perspective of Georgetown,” she said.
Chakravarty hopes to eventually start his own nonprofit, and thus sees his work at Georgetown as a means to achieving this.
“Now the possibilities seem a lot more endless than they did, you know, in 2010 when I graduated. Now, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about a lot of different fields,” he said.
After two months as a Georgetown employee, Kohnert-Yount said that she is glad she returned to campus.
“I wanted to do something at this point in my life that was very closely tied to social justice and community work,” Kohnert-Yount said. “I actually think this might be the best job I ever have.”