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Page link printed 07/19/2018

Affiliation: Master’s Student

Program: MS, Higher Education Student Affairs

Education: Juris Doctor, Cornell Law School; BA, Haverford College

Background: Assistant Director of Career Services, Cornell Law School; LSAT Instructor and Tutor, Kaplan Test Prep & Admissions; Advisor, University of Rochester’s Career Center
Suzanne Hess


Suzanne Hess

Suzanne Hess grew up doing what she thought she was supposed to do.

“There was an expectation that my job was to excel in school and that it was going to be a very linear path from high school to college to graduate school to a career,” says the master’s student in the educational leadership program at Warner. “I just didn’t really think there was a lot of room for asking questions.”

And she succeeded, earning a reputation as a successful litigation associate at a major New York City law firm right out of Cornell Law School. She was surrounded by smart, educated colleagues in an exciting environment, but she never got over the feeling that she was meant to use her law degree differently. Hess longed for the days she spent in the supportive educational communities at Haverford College, where she graduated in 2001, and Cornell, and soon realized she wanted to be one of the professionals trained to provide that support.

Since then she has served as an LSAT teacher and tutor and as an advisor at the University of Rochester’s Career Center, two positions that confirmed her commitment to counseling students as they explore multiple job opportunities in a search process that can be “quite straightforward or very complex, depending on the student’s needs.” She is currently on leave from Warner, working as assistant director for career services at Cornell Law School, where she discusses job search strategies and conducts mock interviews with students. She returns to classes in January.

Hess, who entered Warner as a non-matriculated student because she didn’t want to wait until the next application deadline to start her studies, is thrilled to have found a program that feeds her curiosity, strengthens her values, and validates her decision to leave a career path that was financially rewarding, but personally unfulfilling.

All of that was clear on her first day in the classroom.

“Suddenly I learned there was a vocabulary and a whole body of research about the vague idea I had about having a career at a university,” she says. “As I took more classes in student affairs and leadership and that kind of thing, it was all like a playgroup for adults. It was so inherently fun and interesting. I had gone through two years of real struggle to find what was right for me, and this was a perfect fit.”

(Published November 2008)

Tags: educational leadership, higher education