Size, New York City location, academic variety, internship opportunities: Fordham had everything Megan Zuckerman was looking for when, after spending her first year of college at a small, liberal arts school in upstate New York, she realized it wasn’t quite for her.

After graduating from Fordham College at Lincoln Center in 2016 and launching a career in public relations and event management, Zuckerman got involved with Fordham’s Young Alumni Committee—a group of alumni who coordinate social events, educational programs, and opportunities for professional development and community engagement for recent Fordham graduates.

Now, having just finished her second term as the committee’s communications chair— a position that gave her an opportunity to stay engaged with what’s happening on campus, reach current students, and meet more alumni—she fully appreciates the power of the Fordham alumni network.

Making the Most of the City

After spending her first year of college as an economics major in Canton, New York, Zuckerman realized she wanted a change: She wanted to study communications at “a larger school with more opportunities” and “be in a city rather than” the small village she had originally chosen. Though she grew up at the Jersey Shore, Zuckerman has always been familiar with the Lincoln Center area—her aunt and uncle lived just a block away from Fordham’s Manhattan campus.

Excited to be able to “actually study what I wanted to study” in an environment that was both familiar and full of opportunity, Zuckerman transferred to Fordham the fall of her sophomore year and majored in communications and media studies. Almost immediately, thanks to an art history class she took as part of the undergraduate core curriculum, she realized just how much she’d be able to take advantage of all that New York has to offer.

“For one of our first assignments, we were instructed to go to a museum in a city,” she said. “I went to the Metropolitan Museum with a few other classmates … and I remember just being really excited. … I realized that I was going to be able to do that a lot more by going to school in New York.”

New York’s status as a communications hub made it possible for Zuckerman to complete internships at various organizations—from Good Housekeeping and Town & Country magazines to Bloomingdales and Time Inc. But between commuting and serving those internships, she said she had little time to get involved with clubs and other activities on campus—that’s something she’s been trying to rectify in recent years, through her involvement with the Young Alumni Committee. And she’s grateful for the opportunities she had to complement her coursework with work experience as an undergraduate.

“It was important to be able to have all those internships,” she said. “I definitely look back on [them]as being really helpful and helping me narrow down what I wanted to do with my career.”

Keeping Young Alumni Engaged

Zuckerman learned about the Young Alumni Committee in 2018 when she attended an event sponsored by the Fordham University Alumni Association. Matt Burns, the alumni relations office’s director for reunion programs and affinity groups, introduced her to some members of the committee.

A few weeks later, Zuckerman attended one of their meetings and eventually got more involved. She recently finished her second term as the committee’s communications chair, engaging with alumni and getting the word out.

This past year, that included reaching out to the editors at Fordham’s student-run news outlets, including The Fordham Ram and The Observer, to gauge their interest in writing “articles about the committee so that way the current students and recent graduates could learn about it and potentially join,” she said.

Zuckerman told The Observer that, thanks to the Young Alumni Committee, she’s been able to connect with a wide range of Fordham graduates, including alumni of other degree programs, schools and colleges, and class years. She said she hopes the committee will see the payoff of those articles as “even more members come to our meetings and events this year.”

Maintaining a Commitment to Service

Thinking about the lasting effects of her Fordham education, Zuckerman points to her ongoing commitment to service. In addition to her work with the alumni committee, she volunteers with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Junior League (NYJL).

“Since I am very involved with volunteering and different nonprofits, that’s something that I really appreciated about the University and, looking back, definitely just appreciate even more now that I’m a graduate,” she said.

She joined the NYJL as a sophomore at Fordham to get involved with a philanthropic organization in the city and meet people outside of the University community. Today, she serves as the training council head, overseeing three committees responsible for conducting “ongoing training for everybody to be able to be the most effective volunteers” possible.

Though it’s her first time serving in “such a big role,” she’s taking a bit of the advice she hopes current Fordham students will follow: “Always try something new if it’s offered to you—because you never know if you’re going to really like something or not.”

Fordham Five (Plus One)

What are you most passionate about?
Definitely volunteering and philanthropy! I joined the New York Junior League, a women’s nonprofit organization, while a sophomore at Fordham in order to be connected with the wider NYC community beyond school and to have a long-term volunteer opportunity after graduation. Beyond the NYJL, I volunteer [with]the Billion Oyster Project and School Year Abroad.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never be afraid to try something new! One of my favorite things about Fordham was the ability to hold so many internships during the school year, in addition to the summer. I tried so many different types of internships, which really helped me narrow down what I wanted to do after graduating.

What’s your favorite place in New York City? In the world?
My favorite place in New York City is Union Square. I lived nearby in Flatiron for a few years and loved how centrally located it was and how many great restaurants were nearby. Most of all, I loved stopping by the Greenmarket on my way to the subway before work or for a leisurely stroll on the weekends. Not to mention how festive it is at Christmastime!

My favorite place in the world is the Jersey Shore, where I’m from. It’s of course at its best during the summer, but it’s so special year-round. I love the natural beauty, rich traditions, local businesses, and close-knit community.

Name a book that has had a lasting influence on you.
I love books set in New York City, so would have to say either The Age of Innocence or The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Who is the Fordham grad or professor you admire most?
Kathleen Adams, FCRH ’10, GSAS ’12: We didn’t overlap while at Fordham, but we volunteer together at the New York Junior League. I was so excited to learn that she is also a Fordham alumna, but not surprised, as she embodies the University’s mission so well! I am so impressed by all that she does in her professional and volunteer life.

What are you optimistic about?
I work on the marketing team for an educational consultancy and am impressed by current high school students and optimistic about the impact that they will have on the world as they continue to pursue their passions.