Mar. 20 2019

Alumni Return to Recruit Columbia Mailman Talent

Employers came in droves to recruit Columbia Mailman School students at the Spring Career Fair, likely the largest such event at a public health school in the country. In all, 84 organizations were on hand, from government agencies and hospitals to consulting firms and NGOs. A number of them invited their Columbia Mailman alumni employees to help them make their case.

“Our graduates are in high demand,” said Heather Krasna, assistant dean and director of the Office of Career Services, which organized the March 15 event. “Ninety-six percent of the Class of 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available, either had a job or were pursuing continued studies six months after graduation.”

The Career Fair brought Samantha Tomicki, MPH ‘16, full circle. It was at the same event several years ago that she got her job at the consulting firm Milliman. The pattern could easily repeat itself. According to Tomicki, who spoke with dozens of interested students throughout the day, there was ample evidence that Columbia Mailman continues to prepare its graduates to succeed. “Everyone here has a strong set of skills,” she said.

Judith Zwillenberg, MPH ’17, a manager at EmblemHealth, came to the Career Fair to help her employer fill more than 50 positions throughout New York state. In her job, Zwillenberg works with providers to improve quality scores, lower costs, and most of all, keep people healthy. “We’re looking for people who see the big picture,” she said. “Mailman students have that kind of perspective.”

Marlene Riquelme, MPH ‘16, a public health specialist at the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Justice at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, was looking to replace herself after getting a job with Planned Parenthood. A background in aging would be a plus for the Weinberg Center position, but not a prerequisite. Riquelme herself studied sexual and reproductive health, but applied after seeing the listing advertised by Career Services. “My heart pulled,” she said.

Heather Jue-Wong, a senior program officer at John Snow Inc, is not a Columbia Mailman graduate, although she might be someday. Recently, Jue-Wong was accepted for the MPH program in Population and Family Health, giving her a unique vantage point at the Career Fair, in which she could simultaneously size up job candidates and her potential classmates. Her takeaway: “It’s obvious that Mailman students are really passionate.”