Jean Degraphe '17, is spending the summer in his hometown of Miami, where he's working for the financial company Bloomberg. The policy studies major and economics minor met Bloomberg staff through Arts & Sciences' Career Fairs networking events. He met them again during last fall's Stocks and Finances immersion program in New York City. He was struck by the friendliness of alumni at the companies they visited. “If I learned anything, it's that alumni want you to reach out and connect with them, even alums who work at the big banks.”
Bloomberg's summer program is known for having its interns interact with actual clients. "I'll be helping financial professionals navigate the famed Bloomberg terminal and helping the sales team sell the terminal," Degraphe says.
Degraphe is part of the Posse Miami 2, a cohort of 10 students who support each other as they strive to be campus leaders. Miami Posse program was funded by the Posse Foundation to provide college and youth leadership development opportunities to public high school students from diverse backgrounds. Syracuse has partnered with Posse since 2012 to commit four-year, full-tuition scholarships to Posse Scholars. The program operates in Miami and Atlanta.
"Posse has been great to me," Degraphe says. "From the first time I stepped on campus, there was a network of students and faculty that made themselves available as resources. It helped smooth out the transition of settling into campus."
He's optimistic that his summer internship will lead to a full-time job offer—maybe even in Miami, a place he loves for its beaches and diversity. Here's what Degraphe shared about his Syracuse University experience.
What activities were you involved with in high school?
I was really into sports, especially football. For a while I contemplated playing at the next level, but toward the latter half of my high school career, the idea just didn’t seem appealing to me anymore.
Why did you choose Syracuse University?
Like Miami, Syracuse has a very diverse community. It's not just racial or ethnical diversity, but diversity of interest is also really valued here. I’ve always felt like Syracuse is the type of school in which no matter what you’re into (academically, socially, culturally, etc.), you are likely to find others on the same wavelength.
What’s your favorite thing about attending Syracuse?
In addition to having students with diverse backgrounds and interests, Syracuse also has a broad and very successful alumni network that is very eager to help current students.
What's your dream job and how do you plan to get it?
To be honest, I don’t think I have a dream job. A million things can happen between now and then, so I just like to take things one step at a time, keep moving forward and maintain an open mindset.
What’s on your agenda for your senior year?
I want to pass on whatever useful knowledge I have to the next generation coming in so they can have a smooth transition as well. I’ve done pretty well as an undergrad so far and I would also just like to keep that going as well.
What extracurricular activities do you participate in?
I’m the fiscal agent of The Renegade Magazine on campus. The purpose is to touch on topics sensitive to students of color, but it is geared toward all students. I’m also an analyst of the Investment Club, where we manage a portfolio valued at over $200,000.
What’s the best way to spend free time as a SU student?
It depends on the student. Personally, I like to go out, hang with friends, and work out … not particularly in that order, but you get the idea.
Who at SU has helped you, supported you, inspired you? How?
My Posse mentor, Lynn Dew, has been really supportive. We've had many one-on-one meetings that have helped put my goals and campus life into perspective. She’s really understanding and her previous experience with counseling students (and her kids) helped steer me in the right direction.