Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Nathan Novosel

natnovAPName: Nathan Novosel
UR Major: Financial Economics
Other UR Majors/Minors: Political Science
Additional Education: Currently taking classes towards my MEd at George Mason University
Current City, State of Residence: Washington, D.C.
Job Title: Third Grade Math and Science Teacher
Employer: Browne Education Campus
Community Activities: Currently the fourth and fifth grade basketball coach at BEC. I am also a volunteer for the Trevor Project Chapter in Washington, D.C.


How did you choose your major(s)?

I became politically engaged during my senior year of high school as the 2008 presidential campaign was picking up speed. I was fascinated by the political strategies of the election, but I was also intrigued by the complexity of the policies being discussed. I knew that economics and political science would help my understandings of both of these topics.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

I was a member and leader of several organizations. I was a co-captain of the varsity basketball team, the head captain of the St. Sebastian Society, an associate justice on the All-Campus Judicial Council, the vice president of the College Democrats, and a founding member and Professional Chairman of AKPsi Business Fraternity. Each of these roles allowed me to grow as an individual and as a leader.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

I was very blessed to have had several mentors in each facet of my college experience, but in particular stand out to me. In athletics, my head coach, Luke Flockerzi, taught me not only how to be a better basketball player, but a better man. My economics advisor, Michael Rizzo, pushed me to new heights in my academic thinking and became a very close friend. Both Flockerzi and Rizzo continue to be large mentors in my life.

What are some specific skills students should develop during an internship?

TIME MANAGEMENT. I can think of no better skill to develop in an internship than time management. If students can master time management before they are hired on the job, then those students will be significantly better prepared to transition into the work place than their peer counterparts who still struggle with using their time efficiently.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?

I am currently the third grade math and science teacher at Browne Education Campus in Washington D.C. I decided to join Teach for America late my senior year. I believe that having an impact in 36 8-year olds lives’ is one of the most meaningful impacts recent graduates can have. I also believe that spending several years teaching will better inform me of the successes occurring in our education system and the improvements must be made. I am unsure where I would like to be in five years.

Spotlight on Social Sciences Alumni: Tommy Kwon

Name: Tommy Kwon (Class of 2010)

Occupation:  Senior Financial Analyst

Education (UR and additional): B.A. (Financial Economics)

Current city/state of residence: Los Angeles, CA

Community activities: Volunteering at local church, making hand-drip coffee, coffee roasting

Why did you choose to attend the University of Rochester?

I chose the University of Rochester mainly for the curriculum: no General Ed. classes. Also, having a variety of opportunity to pursue your passion in research and small class size was an important factor that led me to attend UR.

What activities were you involved in as a student and what did you gain from them?

The first activity I did was to join various international clubs as well as apply for the Resident Advisor position as a freshman. Joining int’l clubs such as the Korean American Student Association and Chinese Student Association led me to develop friendships in a variety of ethnicities as well as learn other cultures. On the other hand, being chosen to be a RA starting my sophomore year opened doors to leadership and greater responsibility. I had the opportunity to interact with students from different backgrounds and learned how to handle situations of all kinds that could happen at a college dorm. In addition, as a RA, I got to develop friendships with my residents, fellow RAs, Residential Life staff, as well as some key UR faculty members.

What resources did you use on campus that you recommend current students use?

I highly recommend visiting the Career Center as early as possible, not right when you need to apply for an internship or a job. When entry-level jobs are hard to find and very competitive, I think it is best to gain as much experience as possible and build your resume to the job field you want as early as possible. In this way, you will have at least four years to gain the necessary skills to get you to where you want to be and be that person employers want.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

I had a great opportunity to join one of the world’s most famous theme parks with a live-working movie studio as a Senior Financial Analyst at NBCUniversal’s Universal Studios Hollywood. I manage financial budgets for the theme park operations and attractions (rides) as well as various capital projects that happen inside the theme park. I chose this career because I have always wanted to manage a theme park and learn about its operations. One of the best parts about working in Finance at a theme park is that the product you are selling is the theme park experience. Unlike a material product where you can’t see for yourself how well your product is selling other than pull the sales report from a system, at a theme park, you can walk to the park and see how well the day is going by just being there.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

I majored in Financial Economics. The most useful tool I learned from my major is analysis. My current role requires critical data analysis and analyzing trends. Economics have taught me how to interpret data and understand what the data means.

What advice do you have for current students?

Time management and networking. I highly recommend building your career from as early as a freshman and apply for internships during summer breaks in a field you want to start your career. Start networking with people in the career field you want to be in. In this economy, gaining the necessary experience employers search for and networking is KEY!


Joe Eckert ’12: ‘Networking is most important’

Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center – “Networking gets your name out there,” says financial economics major Joe Eckert ’12. “And recognition means recruiters will be more likely to give you an interview.”

Seminars like “Basic Networking Tools and Techniques” and  “Advanced Networking Approaches for Linked-In and other Web-based Tools,” taught monthly in the Career Center, can teach students how to use tools such as the Rochester Career Advisory Network to find professionals in their fields of interest, and how to feel more comfortable approaching them.

Eckert says he might have spent a little too much time as an undergraduate worrying about which specific classes to take. “While they do look at your classes and your GPA, they really want to see that you are driven. It’s more interpersonal.”

He advises freshman to get involved in things that seem interesting to them. “Don’t do what you feel you should do, do what you want to do. If you do something you are passionate about and really like, that passion will show in an interview.”

Eckert says he started working with Career and Internship Center Counselor Emily Carpenter when he was a freshman. “She is amazing,” he says. They worked together to get his résumé started and on interviewing techniques, and she helped him land an unpaid internship at a broker-dealer in Pittsford, N.Y., that year.

He followed that with an internship at a small fixed-income research company in Connecticut the summer after his sophomore year. There he made contacts that helped lead to his interview for the J.P. Morgan Treasury and Securities Services Summer Analyst Program at the New York Recruitment Program this January.

“That summer internship was awesome,” Eckert said. “I learned a lot and met a lot of people.”  He was offered a full-time position on the last day of his internship, and he accepted right away.

Eckert plans to spend the summer in Europe after graduation, and then he’s off to work. He is excited about the next chapter and said, “I have wanted to move to New York City since I was a kid.”

Photo and Article courtesy of Kerrie Merz, Marketing, Communications, and Constituent Outreach Coordinator, Gwen M. Greene Career and Internship Center