Being a senior, I find myself reflecting on my childhood a lot. You’re caught in this limbo of “in less than a year I’m going to be an adult” and “one more year to just be a kid.” In my reflection on childhood, I always remembered how excited I was to learn about anything. I was oddly excited to visit museums, not something every 10 year old is excited about. One of my favorite museums to visit was the George Eastman Museum. This summer, I had to opportunity to continue my learning experience as an intern there under the wing of Director of Communication and Visitor Engagement Eliza Kozlowski ‘86. My childhood love for the George Eastman Museum came full circle.
I made this connection through Shadow-A-Saint, a program our Career Services office offers that allows you to shadow an alumnus or alumna for a day to experience a sliver of what it’s like to be in their position. Over winter break, I shadowed Eliza and I was offered a summer internship to get experience in the communications world.
Have you ever heard of George Eastman? He’s practically a legend in Rochester. Eastman was an innovator and entrepreneur who founded the Eastman Kodak Company. He made the use of roll film and photography popular (almost like the Snapchat and Instagram of the late 1800s). Not only did he create new technology that took the world by storm, he was also a man focused on creating a strong community and worked to give others the equal opportunities to education to better his or herself. Sound familiar?
Working as an intern, I was taken aback at the similarities between the values of Eastman and St. Lawrence.
● Eastman was focused on equal opportunities for everyone. Just as Eastman did, St. Lawrence strives to make sure every student has an equal opportunity.
● He knew the importance of education, donating money as well as funding colleges to make sure people had the opportunities to learn and be successful in life. The education one receives at St. Lawrence is undeniable. Everyone who attends St. Lawrence is passionate about learning and professors are passionate about teaching us and helping us learn.
● Eastman knew the importance of having a wide range of interests and knowledge. Not only was he a businessman, he was also interested in photography, art, travel and much, much more. Just like the liberal arts education that you receive at St. Lawrence. I have the opportunities to dabble in a variety of courses, yet still find a connection between them all.
● As mentioned before, Eastman was dedicated to his community and the success of it, and that part of his legacy has continued on in the organization. At the beginning of the summer, I was under the impression that I was going to be a typical intern -- dealing with files, phones calls and maybe coffee runs. But my experience was quite the opposite. I was given the opportunity to be a real part of the team. I was able to voice my thoughts, which were discussed and some even implemented in social media campaigns. That sense of team is carried on throughout the entire organization. Every different department works together and strives toward one common goal -- to keep George Eastman’s legacy alive. I get that same essence of team and community when I come home to St. Lawrence. Every individual is working together as a community to better themselves, the campus and the opportunities that SLU grants us.
In my adventures at the George Eastman Museum when I was younger, I learned and adopted these values as my own. And now as I reflect on the past three years I’ve spent as St. Lawrence, I see how powerful these values are to have. Luckily, I’ve been able to learn so much at both of these institutions, and I’m excited for the opportunities they have granted me.