Karen E. Smith, a two-time SJC Brooklyn graduate, said her heart is filled with gratitude whenever she thinks about the opportunities her degree afforded her.
Ms. Smith worked as a manager at the New York City Department of Health before she made the leap to go back to school to study business. She ultimately earned a dual degree in organizational management and business administration (MBA), at the suggestion of her adviser. She earned her degrees in 2011 and 2018, respectively.
At St. Joseph’s, Ms. Smith took classes at night, on the weekend, online and during the summer. Meanwhile, she continued to work and was the primary caregiver of her sick mother.
The long hours paid off.
“Not only did the program help me to acquire my degree, but it also helped me get a significant promotion,” said Ms. Smith, who was promoted to director of the Department of Health’s New York Early Intervention System (NYEIS) in 2017 — shortly before earning her MBA.
Expressing gratitude for her education at St. Joseph’s and the opportunities it has provided, Ms. Smith now donates monthly to the College. She chose to have her donation benefit the SJC Emergency Fund, so she can help a student in the event an unforeseen issue happens — like a car breaking down — and they can’t make their tuition payments.
“I want there to be something available to these students in the event that these types of situations occur,” said Ms. Smith, who lives in Clinton Hill, two blocks away from SJC Brooklyn.
Ms. Smith added that she donates to the College in the memory of her late parents, who she noted made many sacrifices so that she could complete her higher education. She hopes to pass the inspiration down to her children, who helped her with her capstone project for her master’s degree.
“It’s about never letting your dreams die,” she said. “St. Joseph’s always keeps people’s dreams alive. Every time they open that door, someone’s dream is realized and they have a source to achieve that dream.”