Meet three members of the class of 2011 succeeding in today’s tough job market

Ask recent graduates of any college right now how hard it is to find a job today and they will tell you the Great Recession has made it harder than ever.

The same is true for Drew graduates, but the most up-to-date information available shows significant progress for Drew’s recent alumni—especially for those who interned, took special programs and continue to work with Drew’s career counselors.

The New York Times Magazine recently presented a portrait of the national job market through the experiences of Drew’s class of 2011 but it’s not the full picture. Here’s what we know about the 309 graduates in the class of 2011:

  • Twenty-five percent were pursuing an advanced degree and had been admitted to some of the finest institutions in the country—Harvard, Columbia, New York University, Duke, Georgetown Law and others.
  • Sixty percent were employed in the whole range of jobs common for recent graduates in this market, from temporary to career track.
  • Fourteen percent were still seeking employment, a figure comparable to our peers.
  • One percent were traveling.

The Times introduces several young alumni. We’d like to introduce a few more:

The Legislator

David Robinson is a rising star in Trenton, NJ.  After graduating from Drew, he turned a volunteer job on a political campaign into a full-time position in the State House.  The sociology major works for Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly and Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter (NJ-35) as a legislative aide, a position that’s mostly focused on serving constituents and researching legislation.  As a Drew student, he logged four successful internships—at organizations that range from a municipal government to an investment firm—, launching him head-first into a job that he describes as “great.”  He worked closely with Drew’s Career Center to build a diversified, yet impressive, resume and says his academic experiences help allow him to see issues in his job from a multitude of angles.  Not only is Robinson now doing what he loves, but he’s also fighting for the causes that matter to him most.  “One of the most important issues for me is education, which is an interest that my bosses share,” he says.  “It’s great to work for people who I believe in.”

The Publisher

It came as no surprise to learn that Jonathan Ortiz, a former editor for The Acorn, had found a position in the publishing world.  He’s currently working as an editorial assistant for Pearson Education.  “My job requires a lot more of me than just administrative duties,” he says, citing the developmental editing projects that landed his name in the credits of his department’s most recently published books.  As a Drew undergraduate studying English and creative writing, Ortiz interned at The Princeton Review, a position that allowed him to learn about publishing, later making him an attractive job candidate to potential employers.  He says Drew’s Career Center contacted him personally after graduation to make him aware of the opportunity at Pearson.  “I took full advantage of what they offered, so they knew me and were aware of my search,” he says.  Ortiz’s internship experience and the Career Center’s guidance weren’t the only things carrying him toward his first job.  He also credits the English curriculum with teaching him skills that he uses every day.  “My major helped me to develop as a reader, writer and editor, which is invaluable in my work,” he says.

The Social Worker

As a Drew undergraduate, social worker Giselle Javier was one of the most active students in her class, serving as a resident assistant, a University Programming Board member and as the leader of the Middle East Students Association.  Working with the Career Center, she was able to package these experiences in a way that made her an attractive internship candidate, leading to positions with a financial consultant and an event planner.  These two early career experiences came to bear on her current work for the New Jersey Division of Aging and Community Services by teaching her how to communicate with different types of people.  “My internships helped me expand the people skills that are critical in my line of work,” she says.  “Being able to communicate with clients so that they understand that I’m there to help is essential.”  Javier, who majored in political science and minored in Arabic, helps those clients by intervening in situations of abuse and neglect, and by connecting them with social service organizations that improve their lives.  “My job is to help older people with everything that they could possibly struggle with,” she says.–Michael Bressman