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John DiSarro headshot

Affiliation: Alumnus
Program: MS, Higher Education Student Affairs

As an undergraduate, John DiSarro spent two years as a resident assistant and fraternity member, making connections with other students that would shape his plans for the future.

The social aspect, as well as the chance to help freshman in particular maneuver through their first year away from home, steered him toward a career in student affairs.

“It was exciting for me to help other students experience all they could at college, to help them with issues and to reach their fullest potential,” explains DiSarro, who graduated in 2009 with a master’s degree in higher education student affairs. “I thought, ‘I could possibly make a career out of this.’ It was great to have that kind of influence.”

DiSarro, who enrolled at Warner full time immediately after graduating from college, soon landed a part-time assistantship in the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs at the University of Rochester. It was a perfect fit. As a graduate assistant programming coordinator, he helped fraternities and sororities develop on-campus programs, find resources for philanthropy events, and increase their chances for success.

He consistently went above and beyond his job responsibilities, branching out to other areas on campus, such as Residential Life, Center for Student Conflict Management, and Wilson Commons Student Activities.

“I got to know a lot of people at the University, and that helped in the long term,” says DiSarro.

By the end of his two-year assistantship, Fraternity and Sorority Affairs had created a new position for him—as assistant director—to step into upon graduation.

At Warner, no longer an undergraduate working with undergraduates, DiSarro had the chance to broaden his perspective on how students live on campus, particularly from long-timers in the field who may have had different experiences in their own college days. And now he gets to use that perspective to provide more thorough advice and guidance.

“Being able to research things I had experienced as an undergraduate college student helped me realize how many of my own experiences, from living in a residence hall to participating in community service for my fraternity, were intentionally designed based on research and theory in student affairs,” he explains. “Now when I give presentations or develop programs, I find myself going back to books from my Warner classes to find theories that back up my own points.”

DiSarro may eventually pursue a position as a director or supervisor in student affairs, though not anytime soon.

“I still have a lot to learn,” he says. “But I’m open to different experiences, so we’ll see what comes and goes from here.”