As a college student, Alexandra Baych '09, is balancing a full schedule of classes with community service work. Focused on a future career in finance or law, Baych wants to be sure she's able to keep up both her professional career with her passion for volunteerism after graduation. Her involvement with Cornell Hillel has helped her realize that it's possible to pursue both.
Student participants in Cornell Hillel's Summer Networking Series listen to panelists at Bloomberg Television Headquarters in New York City, hosted by Ellen Braitman '90.
Baych is one of 150 students who recently participated in Cornell Hillel's Summer Networking Series, a program for current Jewish students and young Jewish alumni interning and living in the New York Metro area. The series is aimed at creating a community of Jewish young adults and inspiring a life that is both personally and professionally satisfying.
"Of course we want our students and young alumni to do well in life," said Rabbi Ed Rosenthal, executive director of Cornell Hillel. "But we are also striving to instill in them the awareness that it’s not enough to just do well; they must also do good. The Summer Networking Series shows our students where their professional goals intersect with Jewish values."
The series comprises six panels (finance, law, communications, non-profit, health, and real-estate) with four speakers on each topic, each an example of "doing well while doing good." Each speaker opens the panel with a Jewish text reflecting that area of focus.
Lisa Krauthammer '04, a Teach for America (TFA) Corps alumna and recruitment director, told students on the non-profit panel that her Jewish identity had a huge influence on her professional career choices.
"TFA gave me a great opportunity to put the tzedek and tikkun olam that I had grown up learning into practice," Krauthammer said. "I could change the world by working for justice in schools and changing things for my kids."
Students listen to panelists during the Cornell Hillel Law Panel hosted by Bob Jossen '69, at Dechert, LLP.
"It was incredibly meaningful that the panelists shared their personal experiences and were so willing to assist students in navigating [life after college,]" Baych said.
"When you are loving what you do, and you can look up at the clock and not know if it's 4 a.m. or 4 p.m., you know it's the right job," said Ellen Braitman '90, an anchor at Bloomberg television and the author of "Dollars and Sense for College Students," whose college experience as editor-in-chief of The Cornell Daily Sun was the best training for her career in journalism. "Today, if you have the passion, you can really do anything, anywhere."
Another Cornell alumna, Dr. Judy Siegel '84, who now has a private medical practice in New York told students, "In thinking about your career, make a goal, but remember to relax along the way, the journey is as valuable as the end result."
The inspiration for the program developed out of the success of the Cornell Hillel Young Alumni Power Breakfast series created by Andrew Tisch '71. The Power Breakfasts Series fosters community among recent Cornell grads and connects them with prominent Jewish alumni who have successful careers as well as philanthropic involvements.
"Summer seemed like the perfect opportunity to build upon this program with alumni and parents who work in New York City and a captive audience of students and young alumni who would attend,” said Julia Levy '05, Cornell Hillel’s director of advancement who initiated the program and worked closely with Cornell Hillel staff member Marielle Macher '08. “We wanted to provide this resource for as many students and young alumni as possible to show the many directions that Cornell Hillel and Jewish life can lead them."
The Summer Networking Series is run by Cornell Hillel and a team of Cornell Hillel Parents including Karen Hauser, Denise Lewis, Angela Retelny and Betsy Silverstein.
"As parents, we look for ways to stay connected to our children once they are in college," said Silverstein, chair of the Student Life Committee of the Cornell Hillel Board of Trustees and the mother of three Cornell students. "This series provided such a wonderful opportunity to give back to our children and their peers by helping them explore what’s next. We hope to build upon the enthusiasm of the students who attended these programs to continue with a formal mentorship program and networking opportunities in the fall."
"I'm excited to be a part of this Cornell Hillel initiative when I am on campus," Baych said. "There are so many exciting directions we can take this program. The students, alumni, and parents seem to really enjoy getting to know one another."
The Summer Networking Series is made possible by the generous support of friends of Cornell Hillel and alumni David '91 and Cheryl '91 Einhorn and the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust.