New NYC Abroad Program Offers Unique Mix of Work Experience, Study
This spring was the inaugural semester of the Whitman School’s Study Abroad in NYC program. Three students intended to spend four months living in New York City, taking classes and working as interns. The program, open to all qualifying Whitman juniors, was announced last year as a way for students to complete their major coursework, while at the same time gaining real-world experience in the city many of them hope to end up in after graduation.
The classes range from Whitman courses, such as entrepreneurship or real estate, to writing or Arts and Sciences electives. Students also have the option to take some classes online, making it easier for them to dedicate time to their internships. To apply and participate in the program, students must be in good standing (above a 3.0 GPA) and have completed both integrated cores.
One of the main aspects of the trips and initiative is networking, part of the foundation of the NYC Abroad program. “We designed a networking assignment,” says Alex McKelvie, associate dean for undergraduate and master’s education. “Even though the students are there taking classes and doing internships, we have faculty members who are coaching them and guiding them through how to network and think strategically about what they’d like to accomplish.”
Throughout the semester, students are encouraged to meet and talk with industry professionals, whether in a formal office setting or a more informal meeting, like coffee or lunch.
Alumni are involved with the courses students take, primarily at the Fisher Center, Syracuse University’s consolidated academic campus in New York City. “Those classes were designed so you fundamentally couldn’t offer them here in Syracuse because of the level and quality of guest speakers that we can bring in. The courses are designed to have students be able to leave the classroom to go on visits but also, in some cases, have world-leading experts come to them,” says McKelvie.
McKelvie adds, “Through the social aspects, the connections to our alumni base and corporate partners, we’re able to provide a high level of value that you can only realistically do in a place like New York City or London, where we have a large number of alumni who are heavily engaged and willing to come in and work with the students.”
The program would not have been possible without the support and engagement from Whitman alumni. “In this particular case, we were working closely with the Whitman Advisory Council,” says McKelvie. “They work with Dean Gene Anderson and were heavily involved in both opening doors and providing thoughts on how we want to shape this, as well as in some cases providing financial support.”
THE COURSES ARE DESIGNED TO HAVE STUDENTS BE ABLE TO LEAVE THE CLASSROOM TO GO ON VISITS BUT ALSO, IN SOME CASES, HAVE WORLD-LEADING EXPERTS COME TO THEM.” —Alex McKelvie
This program was made possible by Lisa Fontenelli ’86 (WHIT/NEW), Rob Laughlin ’87 and Neeraj Mehta ’96 MBA. Through their support of Whitman in NYC, students will be able to continue to have experiential learning opportunities in the Big Apple.
The program will advance as the number of students participating grows. “It’s part of the portfolio of great learning experiences that Whitman wants to offer. Over time, we may have as many students as we have going to London or Madrid,” says McKelvie.
TRAILBLAZING STUDENTS TAKE ON NEWLY ESTABLISHED NYC ABROAD PROGRAM