Career Chat: Graduate Student to Higher Ed Administrator
November 19, 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Have you ever wondered how you can make a meaningful difference in students’ lives and impact change? Join our panel discussion on Friday, November 19 @ 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET and hear the journeys that these Cornell Administrators took that led them to their jobs today.
Carolyn Chow is currently a staffing consultant for Cornell’s Recruiting and Employment Center in the Division of Human Resources. As an undergraduate at Rutgers University, Carolyn’s interest in research, teaching, and academia led to pursuing a PhD in Speech Communication from the University of Washington. Her experiences during graduate school as a lesbian of color at a predominantly white institution greatly informed her shift in devoting her career to promoting equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging in higher education. She left graduate school with her Master of Arts and a new purpose, embarking on a career in admissions and student services. As director of admissions and student diversity at the UW School of Nursing and as a consultant for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, Carolyn reformulated admissions and student services to better recruit and retain traditionally marginalized students, faculty, health providers and their patients. Upon coming to Cornell, Carolyn transitioned her career to human resources, first at CVM and now in Central HR, using her transferrable skills to find tremendous meaning and purpose in getting to recruit and support Cornell’s staffing initiatives through a DEI lens.
Associate Dean Jason Kahabka’s broad portfolio of financial and student service responsibilities in the Graduate School may seem only loosely related to his academic background in Environmental Science. As a Cornell undergraduate, Jason earned a BS in International Agriculture and Rural Development then completed a MS degree at Cornell, conducting research on the statistical and GIS tools that can be deployed to minimize water pollution from agriculture. After several years working as an extension associate Jason stepped into a series of administrative and leadership roles at Cornell that have drawn upon a wide range of skills that he first began to develop as a student researcher.
Miranda Swanson serves as Associate Dean for Student Services in the College of Engineering. Her portfolio includes admissions, advising, the registrar’s office, the career center, and the Engineering Learning Initiatives program. Her undergraduate degree is a BFA in studio art from the University of Nebraska after which she earned a M.A. in Humanities at the University of Chicago. After finishing her master’s and working for a couple of years in student affairs, she decided not to pursue a Ph.D. in English and instead continued on her journey as a student affairs practitioner in higher education which has ultimately led her to Cornell (and she loves it here!).
Jai Sweet is the Assistant Dean for Veterinary Student Services and Admissions at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Her broad portfolio includes admissions, career development and student support services for the DVM program. Jai came to Cornell from New Delhi, India in pursuit of a graduate education. She completed a PhD in Human Development at Cornell during which time she grew increasing fascinated with late adolescence and early adulthood as a life stage. A combination of serendipity (largely) and self- reflection (to a smaller extent) led her to first (temporary) job in Higher Education Administration 25 years ago. She has not looked back!