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Recent grads say giving back, staying connected bring them rewards

Left, Rebecca Leeper, an engineering major who graduated in 2019. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University. Center, Young Alumni Advisory Board member Cory Krzanik. Right, Lisa Randall, a journalism major who graduated in 2016. Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Lisa Randall, a journalism major who graduated in 2016, can quickly rattle off many reasons she gives back to Northeastern, which she says has helped shape her career, her priorities and even her social life.

But the solid work experience she got from her co-ops at a publishing startup and in higher education were key when it came to landing a job directly out of college.

Northeastern alums Lisa Randall and Les Kernan walk their dog in Beverly, Massachusetts. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

“I remember my interviewer saying that I had more experience on my resume than some people that he had looked at who are a couple of years out of college,” says Randall, who shifted her career focus to higher education and works at Endicott College.

Randall is one of more than 30 members on Northeastern’s Young Alumni Advisory Board raising funds or volunteering their time for Giving Day, a celebration focused on fostering school spirit and donating to student groups and programs. Randall even credits her alma mater for her husband-to-be, whom she met her freshman year and plans to marry in September surrounded by many of the close friends they made at the university.

“I look back at Northeastern as a catalyst for everything wonderful I have going on in my life right now,” says Randall, 27. She’ll serve as vice chair of the Young Alumni Advisory Board next year.

“It’s a really fun way to give back, you know, using my time and being able to volunteer and connect with current students and prospective students as well as alums,” says Randall.

The giving spirit extends to Randall’s future father-in-law, Leslie W. Kernan Jr. He donates annually to the men’s rowing team, which provided a key outlet for his son to compete and make friends.

I think alumni certainly need to step up and give back, but I think it’s also important for parents of alumni. Especially when they feel as though their children have benefited from a quality education like the one Northeastern provides,” says Kernan Jr. “I’ve always been a firm believer that education isn’t just obtained in a classroom. You get a life education at a school like Northeastern, and I think it’s important that we support that.”

Young Alumni Advisory Board member Cory Krzanik gives back in part by sharing what he’s learned from his career as a financial consultant and helping students practice their interview skills. Krzanik, an economics major who graduated in 2016, says the university gave him much needed financial aid and also provided direction.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without Northeastern,” says Krzanik, who works at Windham Labs, a financial software and advisory firm. “As someone who grew up in a lower-class family in Massachusetts and someone who really didn’t take school seriously until later, it pretty much changed everything.”

Left, Rebecca Leeper, an engineering major who graduated in 2019. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University. Right, Young Alumni Advisory Board member Cory Krzanik. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Krzanik also appreciates that he can choose where his donations go.

“A lot of my donations go towards financial aid just because it was so important for me,” he says. “I think that if something really enriched your life, you need to give back in some way, whether it’s monetary or giving your time.”

Rebecca Leeper, an engineering major who graduated in 2019, says her donations and volunteer work at the Young Alumni Advisory Board helps her remain connected to the innovation and growth that continues to happen at Northeastern.

“I don’t want to just leave and never look back, because I think that your university is with you forever. You carry that title with you,” says Leeper, who works as a software engineering consultant in Boston. “So I try to stay connected to the university through giving back and helping it continue to thrive because that benefits me as well.”

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