Spotlight Archive

  • Alumni Portrait
  • Jill Weiss
  • School of Arts and Sciences '12
  • Major(s): English
  • Minor(s): Women's and Gender Studies

Activities: 2012 Class Student Government Representative, Academic Affairs Committe Chair, College Avenue Caucus Chair, Academic Honors PRogram Tutor, Tinsley Hall Representative

What attracted you to Rutgers University and the Honors/Scholars Program?
Initially, I was attracted to Rutgers University because of the vast number of majors and the size of the university. I had gone to a small public high school and wanted to experience the feeling a large school had to offer. Specifically what gravitated me towards the SAS Honors Program were the small classes and the ability to meet a select group of students who were academically oriented like myself. A large majority of the friends I made during Rutgers were in the Honors Program like myself and even though we were in a large academic community, we were able to be a part of a smaller learning group.

Why did you choose your major and minor?
I chose to major in English because I always loved literature and always loved writing.  I also did not know what I was going to choose as a career at the time and I felt that English was a versatile subject that I could apply to many fields.  I chose to minor in Women’s and Gender Studies because I found this subject to be so interesting, yet so overlooked in high school.  So many historical and political issues that were briefly hit upon in high school were expanded upon and really highlighted in such an interesting way throughout the courses I took.

Tell us a little bit about what you're doing now.  What was your first job after Rutgers? Where do you live? 
Currently I live in New York. There is such a large network of Rutgers Alumni in the city, which I absolutely love, since there are so many people to continuously network with at various Rutgers Alumni events. When I first got out of Rutgers, I took a job in corporate as a sales representative and after a year realized that it was not the environment for me. I realized my true passion was education and then took two years to pursue my advanced degree. Currently, I am a special education teacher at a public school in Connecticut, where I absolutely love the work I do. My advice for current SAS Honors students is that you might not find your dream job immediately after graduation, but that is okay! It is worth exploring different fields if you are not sure what you want to do.

What has been your greatest professional and/or personal accomplishment since you graduated Rutgers?
Since graduating from Rutgers, my greatest professional accomplishment has been attaining my M.S. Ed in both General Childhood Education and Special Education at Bank Street College of Education, while working full-time. While graduate school was far different then my undergraduate experience, in graduate school, I was able to hone in on one particular subject intensely and then actually apply it in the real world in various settings.

Was there a class and/or experience at Rutgers that led you to pursuing your current career?
There was never one particular class I would say that led me to pursue my current career, but so many professors and instructors that I had at Rutgers encouraged me to want to teach myself. I specifically remember an experience after Rutgers when I was at a crossroads where I was not specifically sure what field of education I wanted to pursue and I reached out to Dean Lord and on one weekend, we sat down to discuss my anticipated career path. That one moment I will never forget, as it really helped me determine what I was going to be doing with my future.

What three words describe your experience at Rutgers and the Honors/Scholars Program?  
Stimulating. Captivating. Motivating.

How has your Rutgers and Honors education benefited you in your post-Rutgers life?
My Rutgers and SAS Honors Program education really benefitted my post-Rutgers life since my classes at Rutgers were so similar to my classes at graduate school, that I never felt overwhelmed by the small number of students in my cohort. I was already used to working with professors very closely and I was able to work with my colleagues in ways that I had already done in the SAS Honors classes.

What advice do you have for our current SAS Honors Program students?
My advice to current SAS Honors Program students is to get as involved on campus as much as possible! You can really make a difference and have your voice heard in an area you are interested in. Join a club that interests you and network with as many people as you can. You have the ability to make so many different connections with such a vast number of people with the same interests.


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