Veteran students and alumni from Fordham and other New York City colleges and universities prepared for their next chapter in life—their career—at two events hosted by Fordham.
“Making the transition from the military is not an easy feat. We know this,” said Matthew Butler, a former master sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps who now serves as senior director of Fordham’s Office of Military and Veterans’ Services, in his address to students and alumni at one of the events. “And we want to give you all the support and preparation needed to make sure you land the job that you want.”
Networking with the FBI, Morgan Stanley, and NBC Universal
About 140 student veterans and alumni from 11 schools attended Veterans Career Day and Student Veteran Internship and Career Fair at the Lincoln Center campus. At Veterans Career Day on Oct. 4, students and alumni took free LinkedIn headshots, polished their resumes, and practiced their elevator pitch with industry professionals, some of whom were student veterans themselves. The next day, they attended the internship and career fair, held specifically for student veterans, where they had the opportunity to network with representatives from more than 30 organizations, including L’Oreal, the Federal Reserve Board, Morgan Stanley, the FBI, and NBC Universal.
Both undergraduate and graduate students from varied disciplines, including art history, economics, and finance, came to the career fair.
Among them was Steven Gutierrez, 32, an MBA student at the Gabelli School of Business. Gutierrez was born and raised in the Bronx and went on to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps for about a decade. He was dispatched all over the world—to Afghanistan, Central America, France, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Switzerland, and other locations—where he served as a radio technician and officer. He now works in Fordham’s Career Center as the veterans career liaison, where he helps his peers with navigating the next chapter of their life—charting their career path.
“Typically, student veterans have worldwide experience. They bring with them discipline and accountability. The experience that they had in any of the services, it’s translatable and needed,” said Gutierrez, who plans on becoming a consultant.
From Serving as an Airborne Combat Medic to Studying at Fordham
Glenmore Marshall, a student at Fordham’s School of Professional and Continuing Studies, attended both Veterans Career Day and the Student Veteran Internship and Career Fair.
“I came to this event to find a way to better myself,” said Marshall, 37, who was born in Jamaica and grew up in the U.S. “I want to put my best foot forward and see what’s out there.”
After attending several workshops at Veterans Career Day, he said he realized that he was “underselling” his two years of experience as a U.S. Army airborne combat medic.
“I have a lot of skills I’m not showing to employers: specific skills like leadership, attention to detail, and being able to work under extremely stressful situations. As a combat medic, for example … I have to do blood transfusions. … I had to do one on a lieutenant in a Humvee in the middle of nowhere before,” said Marshall, who served in several states across the U.S., including North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. “This [career readiness]workshop helped me realize … that I should utilize my background as a veteran to my advantage and not undersell myself.”
At the fair, Marshall—an information and technology major who is looking for a job or an internship—spoke with representatives from several organizations, including the Peace Corps and IPG Health. “More people should come out to this type of thing because even if you don’t necessarily get hired or get the job, the experiences you get from today, you can apply elsewhere and realize the soft skills that you didn’t know you had,” said Marshall, who aims to become a technician or consultant.
Providing Opportunities to All Students, ‘No Matter Who They Are’
Miguel-Angel Sandoval, 30, a senior real estate major at PCS and vice president of Student Veterans of America at Fordham, said the Student Veteran Internship and Career Fair was his first-ever career fair.
“A lot of the representatives of these corporations were welcoming and willing to have conversation with you, understand who you are … and how they can get you to fit in there,” Sandoval said. “They want to see you excel. They want to see you employed, so they’re willing to do the extra work in getting to know you as well as you getting to know them.”
Sandoval added that he is “forever grateful for Fordham.”
“Fordham does everything it can to provide every opportunity to all its students, no matter who they are—student veterans or regular traditional students,” said Sandoval, who served in the U.S. Army for more than five years in South Korea and West Point, and is still serving as an Army ROTC cadet. “Over 30 employers came out specifically to speak to us, and I think it’s a blessing.”
The events were co-sponsored by Fordham’s Office of Military and Veterans’ Services, Fordham’s Career Center, Student Veterans of America at Fordham, and multiple outside partners and institutions, including Columbia University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Pace University, Lord, Abbett & Co. LLC, RSM US LLP, Baker Tilly, and Jetro Restaurant Depot.
“We open our doors to our fellow veterans because we know having hope and purpose in the future is an antidote to the inevitable dark days ahead or when the road gets rough,” said Butler. “A job can be the thing [where]one finds both purpose and a better future, while continuing to serve others and paying it forward.”