July 2022 Alumni Spotlight
Congratulations! to Marxe alumna, Samaira Kempner (BSPA ’21), on her recent new position as Onboarding Account Manager at Justworks. Education, experience, and opportunity are all critical. In this month’s alumni spotlight, we discuss Samaira’s Hagedorn Internship class experience, the challenges she has faced while working for Dress for Success, and more.
You were a Hagedorn intern. Can you tell us about that experience?
We had two different internship classes. I chose the Hagedorn class because I wanted to go towards a nonprofit. Professor Feller was always professional, he called for a quick interview because the classes started and asked for my resume. That already surprised me and I was really glad that he was putting in the time to place me where he thought would be best for me based on my resume. My background is in fashion which helped in his decision to place me in Dress for Success. My supervisor during my internship was amazing and patient during the whole process. The entire Hagedorn class had some connection with the nonprofit sector and we would always have guest speakers which helped a lot. I guess I can say I really liked the class since I took it twice! Yes, I was an intern for Dress for Success for almost a year, then, I was hired as a full-time employee.
You joined Dress for Success last summer; what did you do there and what initial challenges have you met?
Well, joining a new company is always hard and challenging at the beginning because there are so many new things to learn. However, due to my time there working before an an intern – it has made things easier in doing my job for them. I had an entire year to learn part of my job and I believe that also had some influence on me being hired. One funny thought is that when I was taking Stats and Calculus classes I thought I would never use that again. I used spreadsheets, data, and things that were challenging to learn in school every day at work. I have worked at the company for almost 2 years overall, and I’m still learning different things along the way. I can say I’m a fast learner, but my biggest challenge is to have patience with myself and not try to finish all the tasks I have at once. Believe me I have endless tasks, and I do them as fast as I can, but also as well as I can.
What was it like coming to Baruch as an international student?
It was tough in the beginning. I had to learn MLA and all the different styles each professor was asking for and they were all different from what I grew up learning. There is an international department at school that is helpful when it comes to documents, however, not an international student community. Due to each person taking different classes and one being able to mix the core mandatory classes and the BA classes, I rarely had class with the same people. So, when it comes to meeting more people and having an international community, unfortunately, Baruch still lacks the resources to better welcome international students. All my professors always welcome people from other countries and asked about our experiences back home if talking about a relevant subject.
Are there any experiences you had in the BSPA program that stand out?
I believe some professors were great and really made a difference in my life. I decided to take a second minor, other than Global Studies, which is English thanks to Professor Walker, who held amazing classes and influenced me to fall in love with literature. My capstone paper was a challenge, but it was one of the most beautiful research papers I have ever written. And, Professor Balboa was kind enough to ask me to use the paper in her class, which for someone whose English is not the native language, is the highest accomplishment. I believe overall the BSPA was challenging, but also helped me to be the best I could at my job and life. I worked really hard to graduate, but it was worth it. I could not be happier with my major and my career path.