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Most seniors are looking forward to getting as far away from Cambridge as possible after today, but a few die-hard Harvardians are moving on to bigger and better things within the University's own hallowed halls.
While their classmates head to New York City's investment banking firms or the Silicon Valley's dot-com craziness, these recent alumni will be turning to the undergraduate Houses, Byerly Hall or the University library system for their first stop in the real world.
Many of Harvard's departments are still in the middle of their administrative hiring process, but come September, a handful of members of the Class of 2000--like many seniors who have gone before them--will have landed positions that will extend their stay in Cambridge.
Make no mistake, these graduates are motivated by more than just a love for Harvard.
Jobs at the University offer more perks than most available to recent graduates--especially those accustomed to the wealth of resources at a University community. A Harvard staff ID is the working man's ticket to the Fogg, to discounted events and performances at Harvard and in Boston and to one of the most comprehensive library collections in the world.
On a Quest
Brian S. Anderson '00 is one of the graduating seniors who will not be leaving Harvard for good tomorrow.
He "loved Harvard" over the last four years and will spend the next year working full-time to develop a new program for the Philips Brooks House Association (PBHA). The program, called Quest Scholars, helps prepare under-privileged and minority high school students for college.
Anderson has a special connection to Quest Scholars, which he says helped get him into Harvard--he participated in the Stanford University branch of the program during high school.
And his commitment runs deep enough that Anderson was willing to defer Harvard Medical School (HMS) long enough to get the program up an running.
When the program's director first contacted Anderson, the Lowell House resident already had decided to enroll in HMS this fall. He changed his mind at the last minute, and starting this month, Anderson will report to north corner of the Yard every morning.
The PBHA program will be modeled after Stanford's. Twenty-two high school students with high academic potential and the SAT scores to prove it have been selected to come to Harvard for the summer. Here, they will receive help writing college applications and improving their SAT scores. They will also spend time on personal development through activities like field trips and faculty lectures by big name Harvard professors, including Agee Professor of Social Ethics Robert Coles '50, University President Neil L. Rudenstine and Frankfurter Professor of Law Alan M. Dershowitz.
But aside from Anderson's dedication to the Quest Scholars program, he also has a special enthusiasm for Harvard itself. The California native was tempted to return home upon graduating from Harvard.
"It was tough for me to say I didn't want to go back to California," he says. "But I feel comfortable here."
Some new graduates might want to try out a new working environment, but Anderson saw his connection to the Harvard community as an advantage of remaining in Cambridge.
What makes for a unique work environment here, according to Anderson, is "working with such great people who put in all their energy and their skills."
Reaping the Rewards
Recent graduates who have chosen to start their careers at Harvard say it's an opportunity that many seniors overlook.
The benefits are better than most: three to four weeks of vacation and 12 sick days per year; discounted tuition for undergraduate and graduate courses at Harvard, and reimbursements of up to $2,000 per year for job-related courses taken at schools other than Harvard; medical and dental plans; and if you're in it for the long haul, there's a full retirement plan.
David T. Nuscher '94, who has worked at Harvard since he graduated with a degree in English, says the benefits and perks attract people with a wide range of interests and intellectual pursuits.
"I had a fantastic experience and I decided, this is a good community I want to be a part of," Nuscher says, adding that it was difficult during senior spring, when seniors were comparing job offers.
"Here I was going off to make some ridiculously low salary. People would look at me and their faces would screw up and they would be like, you're really going to do that?" Nuscher says.
He certainly didn't have the most glamorous job. He started off as a staff assistant at the University Development office, doing data entry, photocopying, and answering phones. Since then, he has worked as an on-line editor at the Graduate School of Education (GSE), the undergraduate admissions office, as a non-resident first-year adviser, and is planning to continue working until he is conferred the title of "officer" within the Harvard administrative system.
While working full-time, Nuscher has earned a masters degree from the GSE.
In the administrative offices, there are a lot of overqualified people with Ivy League degrees and graduate degrees, people who are attracted by "the cache of working at Harvard, the resources, access to Widener," Nuscher says. "It's a really good place to be affiliated with."
Many of Nuscher's co-workers have chosen to work at Harvard in order to support some other craft--poets, authors or researchers are the types of people attracted by the Harvard perks. Other students are pursuing degrees at the Extension School or other schools at Harvard.
Jessica H. Ludwig '99, for example, worked at the Radcliffe College Alumni Association after graduating. She had considered working for a publishing house, but "they were paying so little, with no benefits," she says.
Her reasons for applying for the Radcliffe job were varied.
"Initially I wanted to work there because I needed a break," she says. Ludwig also wanted to continue a research project, with access to the libraries and other Harvard resources. The reasonable hours also allowed her to work as an intern at the Boston Review, a political and literary magazine, three nights a week.
But she says "it definitely wasn't anything I wanted to do as a career."
"I definitely liked the atmosphere, and I like Cambridge itself," Ludwig says. "It was more the place than the University." Even so, she says, "for better or worse, I liked being an undergrad [at Harvard]."
Theresa J. Chung '98--a non-resident tutor at Cabot House this year and first-year proctor next year who just finished her first year at Harvard Law School (HLS)--also stresses her appreciation for what Harvard has to offer as a motivation to stay involved with the College.
After spending a year outside of Harvard on a deferral from HLS, Chung says she realized she wanted to come back.
"I really felt like I had a unique undergraduate experience, a really cool undergraduate experience," Chung says. "I don't think I would be this into Harvard if I had come straight [to law school after graduating]," Chung says.
For many of Harvard's faculty and staff, perhaps the most unique perk of working for the University is that it lets alums stay connected with young, motivated 20-somethings who glow with optimism. The Harvard community, Nuscher says, tends to be more intellectual, more literary and more socially concerned than most corporate ones.
"All the high-powered i-bankers said in their first 20 years out of school, [that] they wished they had spent more time outside of their i-banks and more time just being young," Nuscher says.
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