Alumni return to Newman as staff members

By: April Burnett, Staff Writer

Graduating from college and searching for a job can be a stressful situation. But a few 2023 graduates managed to find new careers without ever leaving Newman.

Austin Schwartz, Ian Lecki and Amy Ponce all earned diplomas from Newman in May. Just a few months later, they started jobs with the university.

Schwartz, who was a joint theater and English major, is now the technical director for Newman’s theatre department.

Lecki graduated from Newman two times: once in 2022 with an undergraduate degree in business marketing and once in 2023 with a Master’s in Business Administration.

He is now Newman's director of residence life.

And Ponce, who graduated with an undergraduate degree in organizational leadership with minors in criminal justice and communication and also obtained a leadership certificate at Newman, is now working as the administrative coordinator in Newman’s school of business.

Schwartz said he decided to continue on at Newman as a staff member because he “wants to be able to help foster things to grow.” He said he knew it would give him experience in the fields that he studied, and he liked that he already knew so many people.

The main thing that Schwartz misses about being a student, he said, is being able to participate in the performance side of productions. He also misses being able to “sit down in classrooms with some of the professors here.”

Schwartz said it wasn’t as weird as one might imagine to start relating to his former professors as colleagues.

“It wasn’t awkward at all,” he said. “…I feel like I had gotten close enough with them as a student to call them friends already.”

Schwartz, whose position is part time, said the only wishes he could work at Newman full time, which would allow him to “build relationships with students here in order to give them the ability to hone their craft and ability.”

Lecki came to Newman to play baseball, and that’s what he said he misses the most about being a student. But he said he is also excited to be able to see some of the people he played with continue to play.

Lecki said he decided to work at Newman because he was offered such a good job.

“It is not common to leave a Master’s program and go into a director role right away,” he said.

Lecki also said he loves Newman and thinks he can help improve it.

Ponce said that her faith as a Catholic was a big reason why she chose to attend Newman. She also had two cousins who were studying at Newman at the time.

Ponce said she decided to stay at Newman as a staff member partly because of what she learned while a student. Ponce had gotten a job at the Student Support Center through her best friend, Deseray Cruz, and worked there from freshman to senior year. While there, she learned how non-profits worked and fell in love with them. Her professors then let her know about the open position.

Ponce said it has been a bit strange learning to call her former professors by their first names, and she also misses the freedom of being a student as well as hanging out with her friends and classmates.

But in the end, she said, she asked herself:

“What better than to keep working for my alma mater with my previous professors?”

PHOTO: Sydney Endicott, Photographer