Please introduce yourself, the year you graduated, and what was your major when you graduated?
My name is Christine Padilla. I was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I graduated from Syracuse University, Class of 2003 and majored in Retail Management and Consumer Studies.
What was your Syracuse University experience like when you attended?
No words can begin to describe how amazing my experience at Syracuse University was. I not only saw myself grow academically, but also grow tremendously as a person. The academic programs at Syracuse are great. I had a group of amazing professors in the Retail Management program that not only knew every student but also cared about our academic and professional success. The skills I learned while at Syracuse prepared me for the real world and I found myself being able to adjust to the professional world in a mature manner. I also met an amazing group of friends whom I still keep in contact with till this day and we continuously motivate each other to grow and further our success. They have become more than my friends, they are now my family. My education at Syracuse University was a life changing, growing experience and if I had the opportunity to relive my undergraduate years, I would do it all over again.
What did you do post-SU?
Post-SU I began my life adventure. I moved to Northern Virginia two months after graduation and worked as a Human Resource Specialist at the Corporate offices of America Online. Missing the fashion world, a year later I was hired at Nordstrom as a Visual Merchandiser. Working at Nordstrom became one of my most memorable experiences! I grew so much with the company, receiving recognition and awards for my work, and after working 3 years in Northern Virginia I was given the opportunity to move to Miami, Florida, hired as one of the four Visual Merchandisers to work the store opening at Aventura Mall. What an experience! Who would of known the amount of work that goes into opening a store! I remember walking into the store while in construction, and seeing it grow by the hours, having the fixtures and mannequins arrive, building each piece by piece, working the interiors and merchandising and dressing all the mannequins, all in the matter of a month! The day the store opened was touching and you couldn’t help but cry at the amount of work put in and knowing you were part of the beauty and success of a store. After working there for a year and half I moved back to NY with Nordstrom, working at the store in Paramus Mall in NJ. Due to the success of opening the Miami store, I was offered a position as a Visual Supervisor at Victoria’s Secret once again, working the 58th and Lexington store opening. Another amazing experience to of been part of, working the interiors of store from bottom up and putting together fabulous events, even meeting the beautiful models. Till this day I love driving by the store saying, “Yep that was me!” After working as a Visual Merchandiser I decided to make a career change, working in events marketing and PR for a bit. I then decided to make the biggest change ever; I decided to become a HS Teacher. This by far has been one of the most challenging and hardest jobs I’ve ever experienced. No words can describe the amount of work a teacher has to put in, especially working at an underprivileged, low income school, and working with a tough population. Although the experience has been extremely challenging, it has helped me grow and as a result I developed a passion for College Consulting. I find myself always passionately talking to students about furthering their academics by going to college. This past year one of the guidance counselors approached me and said, “”You know this is the first year we had such a large number of students interested in Syracuse.” Of course I always show love to my alma mater! Due to this passion for college planning I am now in the process of opening my own college consulting company called Achieve For Success, which provides personalized assistance to parents and students with the college planning process. I am excited to embark in this new journey and it was all made possible by the experiences and skills I learned at Syracuse University and the various work experiences I had.
What’s the best advice you would give to current students?
My first advice to current SU students: Take advantage of ALL the resources Syracuse University offers. Syracuse University has a rich network of alumni, NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK is KEY! Take part in summer internship programs; build relationships early with those working in the career field you are interested in. Just because you are in college does not mean you are guaranteed a job. Put in the required work in the classroom, gain experience and build a network of professional relationships that will open the doors to success after graduation. My second advice to current SU students: Enjoy every minute! In life we are quick to rush to everything in order to reach the finish line, but take the time to enjoy the beauty around you, the friendships you are building, the knowledge you are gaining from your courses and professors. Take the time to slide down the hill on snowy days, or lay out on the quad on nice sunny days. Your time in Syracuse will fly, but the memories you will make there will forever last a lifetime!
What do you think about LANSU Scholarship?
I think the LANSU Scholarship is a great opportunity for Latino students, opening the doors to further their academic career at Syracuse. Having a scholarship can alleviate some of the financial stress that attending an expensive University can cause and allow the recipients to focus on their academics. The scholarship also provides the opportunity for Latino alumni to contribute to a scholarship that will benefit the future Latino population of Syracuse and open the doors to our future leaders.