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Alumni Connections

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Jonathan Richardson 2013

Location: Albany, NY
Major: Double Major Religion and Linguistics, Minor in Women’s Studies
Company: Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood
Title: Annual Fund Manager


What advice or tips do you have for students exploring different careers?

First and the most important, find your passion. Your passion will drive your major choice and eventually a career. Don’t let the people asking, “What are you doing to do with that?” steer you away from something you love.

Once you find your passion, learn how to market yourself. I’ve had no problem marketing my religion and linguistics major, because I loved them and know the best things about it. Writing, analytical thinking, problem solving and are examples of skills that I heavily market from those majors, and employers really liked about me.

Lastly, don’t forget to network. Networking has led me to job opportunities, apartments, awesome restaurants and much more!

What has been your career path and how does your current profession relate to what you did in college?

After U of R, I went right to graduate school for social work and public administration. I worked part-time in various jobs as a fundraiser for non-profits and as a career counselor. I worked my way up to my current position as a fundraiser for one of the most influential non-profits in the country. In college, I enjoyed learning about large societal issues and how I can help people who have been affected by those issues. My current job is a perfect way for me to be a part of the movement to tackle those large societal issues.

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently while at the University of Rochester or post-graduation that would have helped along your way?

Be smart about the courses you take outside of your major. I wish I had used my clusters to explore more areas or develop different skills. I just took the easy way out and didn’t learn anything new. The curriculum at Rochester has a lot of flexibility compared to other schools, and taking advantage of it will help you in the long run. Also, I wish I had taken my time in graduate school. I loved it and learned so much. However, if I had worked full-time and took courses along the way, I would have learned more and able to apply it right to my work. Don’t worry about rushing things!

How do you define success and what makes work meaningful to you?

I’m pretty goal oriented and knowing I achieved my goals usually is my definition of success. I think success can be found in multiple ways: having a career that you love and you’re good at, contributing to your local community, and being surrounded by awesome people. Working for an organization that’s making a difference in the community while doing a job I love with people I enjoy working with is meaningful for me.