Two international students find their life’s purpose and fall in love while attending Adelphi University.
By Tomislav Kostadinov
B.S. in Finance, May 2010; B.B.A. in Accounting, May 2010
Currently employed at Goldman Sachs
Moving to New York at 19 years old was the most thrilling decision I ever made. I barely spoke English and did not have friends or family there; however, I could not wait to set foot at Adelphi. Upon my arrival on campus, I walked past Earle Hall and heard Bulgarian music coming out of someone’s office. I quickly went to investigate, only to find Dean Garner not just listening to Bulgarian music, but also reading Bulgarian literature. I immediately knew that Adelphi would be my home away from home. Pleased to find a small Bulgarian community with which I could relate made Bulgaria seem not that far away after all. Dean Garner’s dedication to the Honors College and each of its students played a key role in my professional development. Offering great advice, he would follow up until any problem you shared with him was solved. The Honors College allowed me to explore New York City’s cultural side and introduced me to different art forms. Adelphi provided me both an education and my first work experience. My first job was at Post Hall’s cafeteria, forcing me to practice my English with students who stopped by for dinner. I am glad to have had the opportunity because that is where I met my wife, Raquel.
My second job was at the Center for Career Development where I found an incredibly loving and supportive group of people. They took a personal interest in me and shared so much wisdom, so that I may find success in all of my professional endeavors. They were and still are family to me. With the help of the Career Center, I found my next two jobs: Junior Accountant at the Controller’s Office and Graduate Assistant to Dean Hudson in the Office of Student Affairs. Both positions included tasks related to my finance and accounting majors and helped me broaden my network and learn more about the university’s multiple operations. I always enjoyed being part of a university that offered personal attention and helped its students succeed. The perfect example of that was when Brian Rothschild, Assistant Dean of the School of Business, secured an interview for me with Schwartz and Company, LLP. This interview led to a full-time position upon graduation, which I greatly cherish due to the great people I met and industry knowledge I gained. After working for three years with Schwartz and Company and acquiring my CPA license, in September 2013 I was presented with the opportunity to work for Goldman Sachs’ Finance Division as Senior Analyst. I was very excited to start this new chapter of my career, which has proven to be a great transition from public accounting. I am getting a tremendous exposure to the financial markets and a chance to work with teams all over the world. I am extremely thankful to God, Adelphi University and the people I have met for what they have given me; proof that if there is desire to succeed, there is always a way.
By Raquel Valiente
B.F.A. in Dance, January 2009
Currently employed at Ballet Hispanico
I loved Adelphi before I even arrived, because it represented the start of my dance career and life in New York. It became my second home and still feels that way every time I visit. It is a place that played a very important role in both my personal and professional development. As an international student who grew up in El Salvador, a country with a very strong sense of community, being in a safe place which provided a strong sense of belonging was essential.
Frank Augustyn from the Dance Department was the person who stood next to me as I waved my parents goodbye and saw them get in a cab to go catch a plane back home without me. I was the first international student to ever join the dance program under Frank’s tenure, and both he and the faculty always went out of their way to make sure I was okay. They would make special accommodations for my parents to watch rehearsals and class whenever they were in town.
During my first week on campus, I ran into Nick Petron who – even though I was not in his program – always kept an eye out for me. He suggested that I get a job at the Office of Admissions and provided an excellent reference. I became a tour guide and worked at the office. The whole team of counselors, administrative staff and fellow student workers quickly turned into a family. Going to work was always a highlight and sharing time with everyone as we put files away made the time go by quickly!
After interviewing for the Resident Assistant position a few times, in my final interview with Guy Seneque, he decided to give me a chance. This position made me feel an even bigger part of Adelphi and allowed me to be a leader and give back all of the support I had received to the students who needed it. Guy was an incredible leader himself and was very supportive of our whole team. He was present at my various performances and always shared turkey with me on Thanksgiving.
I really felt that I had a whole community supporting my training and rooting for my success. That is probably why I am still in touch with everyone at Adelphi. It was, after all, through Frank Augustyn’s advice that I got my first internship at Ballet Hispanico, where I currently am the Adventures in Dance Coordinator and part of the Ballet and Education & Outreach faculty. Having had him and professors like Leda Meredith as mentors was invaluable. It is very important to have someone in your life who is honest and will give you the advice you need, whether you want to hear it or not. I believe God always places the special people along your way, and in my case it seemed to be a whole team of them that I found at Adelphi! This group of special people includes one fellow student whom I met at Post Hall and I am now very happy to call my husband.
I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been able to pursue as a dancer because of the foundation Adelphi gave me. I have been a Judge on the hit reality TV show ‘Bailando por un Sueno’ and appeared on other TV shows to share dance and my life as a dancer. Currently, as Adventures in Dance Coordinator, I get to share the joy of dance with children, teach ballet technique to students who have dreams of dancing professionally and also go to schools to introduce new generations to this wonderful art form. I am so glad to have found Adelphi. It has been a dream come true.
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