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Notre Dame great work place for young alumni

Sara Felsenstein | Friday, August 26, 2011

Young alumni beginning their professional careers “under the dome” agree Notre Dame has a great work environment — and not just because they’re working at their alma mater.

Stephanie Mola, a 2009 Notre Dame graduate as a marketing major, now works as the young alumni programs manager for the Alumni Association.

She said her job “really couldn’t have been a better fit.”

“Coming to your job every day, you’re coming to be with family,” she said. “You’re having a hard day, [and] you can go to the Grotto. You have a mentor, or five, around campus you can turn to.”

Mola is not the only Notre Dame employee that feels this way. The Chronicle of Higher Education honored Notre Dame on its list of “Great Colleges to Work For” for the third consecutive year.

The Chronicle compiled its 2011 list of “Great Colleges to Work For” from survey responses submitted by nearly 44,000 people at 310 institutions.

Survey respondents responded to 60 statements using a five-point scale, ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.” According to the Chronicle website, they also rated their satisfaction with benefits and responded to two open-ended questions.

Tammy Freeman, director of Talent and Human Resources Strategy for Notre Dame, said the colleges on the list receive high rankings in leadership, careers, compensation and workplace satisfaction.

“One thing that has been consistent is recognition of our great facilities and … benefits program for employees,” Freeman said. “Those two [aspects] in my mind stand out as outstanding for the university.”

Freeman said University employees are typically in sync with the larger goals and values of Notre Dame.

“I do think that employees overall connect to the mission, and that brings in a different dynamic from any other work environment,” she said.

Freeman said many Notre Dame graduates apply for positions with the University.

“[Alumni] is one of the candidate pools that we tap into because they know what the university is about, they know the area,” she said. “[That] certainly makes it easy to talk to them about a job here on campus.”

As one of these employees, Mola began her position with the Alumni Association in May 2010. Her duties now include working with various groups around campus to try and raise undergraduate awareness of the Alumni Association, working on national young alumni programming and helping to put out a quarterly newsletter.

“I just wanted to be back here,” she said. “I feel like I’m really making a difference … it’s almost like making a new mark at Notre Dame.”

Right after Mola graduated, she began working for Johnson & Johnson in a sales leadership position.

But she said she had an “intense longing” to come back to Notre Dame, and when she saw a position with the Alumni Association open up, she actively pursued it.

“Working with alumni, that’s the most ideal position,” she said. “You get to interact with amazing people on a daily basis.”

Linsey Laufenberg, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate, is an administrative assistant with the Office of Gift Planning here on campus. She said her dream was to come back to Notre Dame and “contribute to the mission.”

She began her position just two weeks ago.

“So far it’s been really interesting to see the university from the administrative side and seeing what goes into making the university function, where it gets money from, how it’s distributed,” Laufenberg said. “It’s been really interesting for me to learn how it functions from a different standpoint.”

Campus Ministry intern Rebecca Sharbaugh, who graduated in May with a degree in psychology and theology, also began working at Notre Dame about two weeks ago.

“I knew I wanted to do some sort of ministry and this opportunity with Campus Ministry came along,” she said.

She said Campus Ministry hires four interns every year from the graduating class who help to facilitate or lead the various programs while gaining background in ministry.

She said she would love to eventually have a full time job at Notre Dame.

“I think there’s such an atmosphere of kindness and acceptance and hospitality,” Sharbaugh said. “I just felt very welcomed here.”