Your GAC Adviser, Ms. Yasmeen Pizarro
Hi, my name is Yasmeen Pizarro. I am an academic adviser in the Gateway Academic Center (GAC). I hold a Master of Arts in History from New York University (NYU) and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with a concentration in French from Sarah Lawrence College.
Although I did not have a definite plan mapped out upon completion of my undergraduate studies, I knew that the liberal arts education I had received spurred the passions and affinities I developed for travel, writing and ideas. I also knew that the rich cultural experiences I had as an undergraduate, namely a study abroad opportunity in Paris my junior year, triggered an appreciation for different languages and cultures. Yet, on graduation day, I hadn't a clue as to how I would parlay these interests into one particular job or career. However, I set out to solve this dilemma by applying to jobs in various industries, ranging from non-profit to publishing. Surely, I would discover what I wanted to do professionally if I gained some meaningful work experience in different fields.
The first job I landed was with a New York City arts and education organization. While I gained invaluable administrative experience there and enjoyed the perk of being exposed to great music, dance and theater performances, I knew from the start that I desired a more academic environment. To that end, I began another job search. Fortunately, I was offered, rather quickly, a position as Graduate Student Affairs Coordinator in an interdisciplinary department of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at NYU. There I worked closely with students at the master's and doctoral levels, helping them navigate the university and handling some of the administrative and bureaucratic issues they encountered. The position taught me how universities work and how to communicate with faculty and high-level administrators in order to better serve students. In retrospect, though, the greatest benefit of the job was that it helped me to decide what I wanted to do, professionally.
In 2004, I completed my M.A. and was ready to apply the myriad skills I had gained in higher education, both as an adviser and graduate of a rigorous Master's program. I accepted an opportunity to advise first-year students at Hostos Community College in the summer of 2004. At Hostos, I learned how to manage a caseload of advisees and honed my presentation and public speaking skills through workshops and new student orientations I conducted. Three years later, an advising opportunity came up at The City College. I applied and was thrilled that it was offered to me.
What I strive to impart to students is that one's major does not always have to correlate directly with the career or kinds of jobs one chooses. Remember: a solid foundation in the liberal arts prepares one for a wide array of career opportunities.