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Young ND alumni work at alma mater

Jenn Metz | Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When Jackie Batteast graduated from Notre Dame in 2005, she left South Bend bound for the WNBA after a successful basketball career at the University. After playing for the Detroit Shock and earning a WNBA championship ring, Batteast, like a number of recent graduates, returned to Notre Dame as a member of the University’s staff.

She chose to return “for the same reason I chose to come here in the first place – it’s a great place to be,” said Batteast, a RecSports intern.

A number of Notre Dame graduates “come back after five, ten, twenty years to various positions,” said Erin Putt, senior recruiting consultant in the Office of Human Resources, and a Class of 1997 alumna. She could not give a percentage of alumni working for the University.

Most graduates who work at the University, Putt said, are spread across various departments and offices. Some of the most recent graduates begin their careers as admissions counselors or have internships in fields like athletics or Campus Ministry.

Batteast chose to stay in the Athletic Department. Her job provides her with “different aspects of sports than you get from being a player.”

As the fitness and facilities intern, Batteast manages student employees at RecSports and is a building supervisor on weekends, among other responsibilities.

Her internship lasts the school year, and she is unsure what she will do at the end of May.

“I might go back to be a part of the school corporation, or I might play basketball overseas … there are different options,” she said.

Graduates like Batteast tend to be hired because “they bring in really good skills they obtained after being students at the University,” Putt said.

They undergo the same application process, she said, and apply for temporary positions, like internships, as well as full and part-time positions. The number of different openings and opportunities available to them, Putt said, depends on the University’s employment turnover.

Paid internships that last 10 or 12 months tend to attract young alumni who are planning to “go into other areas like admissions, or go on to grad school or law school,” Putt said.

Recent graduates can sometimes land new positions at the University, but Putt said those are special cases, since the number of University employees is not growing considerably. Still, she said, Notre Dame is a good place to start a professional career.

“There is a lot of opportunity for career development here,” she said.

Human Resources will be represented at the winter job fair at the Joyce Center and applications for openings are available online, Putt said.

Jim Furlong, who graduated in May, has a one-year internship at the Monogram Club. After being a student manager of the football team his junior and senior years, Furlong “wanted to stay involved in athletics,” he said.

“I was somewhat familiar with the department, and I wanted to stay involved in any capacity. It sounded like a position that interested me,” Furlong said.

As part of his internship, Furlong is responsible for organizing Monogram Club events, like the 30th reunion of the 1977 National Championship football team that was honored on the field during the USC game Oct. 20.

But he, like Batteast, is unsure of what lies in his future. Furlong is considering going back to school or finding another internship.

The benefits of coming back to work at the University are “fantastic,” Putt said. “There’s just being a part of the University community again … and then the total employment experience.” Some of the perks include tickets to sporting events (like football and basketball games), discounts at the Bookstore and golf course, and medical, dental and retirement benefits.

“It’s really a great total package,” she said. “Even people that aren’t familiar with the University are welcomed with open arms. It’s a great community.”