Alumni admissions volunteer spotlight
Binghamton University is always looking to recruit the best and brightest students. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions welcomes assistance from alumni in helping spread the word about the University, especially outside New York state.
Marsha Ferziger Nagorsky '92 is based in the Chicago area and tells why she serves Binghamton as an alumni admissions
volunteer, and why fellow alumni should consider doing the same.
Hometown: Syosset, N.Y., graduate of Syosset High School
Campus Residence: Two years in Broome Hall in Newing, one year in O’Connor in Dickinson, a semester in Digman in Dickinson and a semester in Hillside.
Major: Chemistry, with a minor in music
Campus Involvements: Speech and Debate Team, DC Players, Binghamtonics, Phi Alpha Delta, Harpur Chorale and working in Dr. Udo Brinker's organic chemistry lab. I was also involved in other pursuits, including WHRW and Chemistry Club but, really, I spent way too much time playing Hearts in the Dickinson Dining Hall.
What is your current occupation?
Assistant dean for communications and lecturer in law, University of Chicago Law School
Why did you choose Binghamton University?
It was the best combination of quality and cost that I could find, and I had a decent state scholarship. Plus, it was far enough away from home that my parents couldn't drop by, but close enough that I could go home when I wanted to.
Share a brief story about a memorable student experience.
There are so many stories – I really had a wonderful time at Binghamton and made friends who are incredibly dear to me to this day. The Speech and Debate Team was a crucial part of my Binghamton experience. I've always said that what Binghamton couldn't give to the students in way of resources, it made up for by giving us freedom, independence, responsibility and room to grow. Our team regularly competed against teams that had budgets in the multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars, and we had a few hundred dollars from the SA for the whole year. But, we learned a lot more from our experience than they did. We not only learned how to be better public speakers, but we learned how to manage and stretch a budget, how to lead your peers while still staying friends with them, how to mentor and coach, how to get and stay organized, how to negotiate and plan, how to work with adults many decades our senior who often did not start out taking us seriously, and a myriad of other life lessons that our rivals never learned. Binghamton never coddled us and, because of it, we graduated from college able to stand on our own two feet. That was rare then, it's even rarer now, and it's a gift Binghamton gave me that I've never forgotten.
Why do you volunteer to recruit future Binghamton students?
Binghamton University deserves to be much better known outside New York than it is. It provides a great education and a wonderful experience, both at a very reasonable cost even to out-of-state students. I am very proud to be an alumna and am thrilled to have this opportunity to give back.
Why do you feel other alumni should step up and volunteer to help recruit new students?
Other alumni should volunteer with Binghamton in whatever way suits them best. If you like talking to teenagers, if you like telling people how great your college experience was and if you are as proud to be a Binghamton graduate as I am, this is a great volunteer opportunity for you. Never underestimate the effect you can have by talking one-on-one with people; you can change someone's life and help your alma mater in one short conversation.
What professional or personal rewards do you get from these volunteer experiences?
I love telling people in the Midwest about a school that I know they'd be interested in, if they gave it a chance. I always feel a tremendous sense of pride after I've gone to a college fair. I'm promoting something I believe in! I work in higher education every day, promoting my other alma mater, so it's nice to give a little love to Binghamton. After all, I wouldn't have been admitted to the University of Chicago Law School without my Binghamton education!
What advice would you give a student today heading off to college?
College is a gift. It's four years to learn to become an adult in a safe, nurturing environment that promotes exploration. Use this opportunity to discover your own mind and heart and learn as much as possible. Use this time to truly grow up – to make yourself ready to take on the world without the safety net of your parents or teachers. Most of all, find balance – work hard, participate in silly campus traditions, take hard classes, make friends, join clubs, embrace campus life, become a leader. Don't forget that in college, as much learning takes place outside the classroom as inside it. And, if the college you're heading off to is Binghamton, invest in a good pair of boots.