Quardear Harris '19
Quardear Harris ’19 Returns to Career & Internship Fair to Recruit John Jay Students

Degree: B.S. in Criminal Justice Management
Hometown: New York City
Dr. Dara Byrne, Yvonne Purdie, Stephanie Colon and Anika Frazer
CUNY Service Corps

Internships/Fellowships: Here to Here, Talent Development Secondary
Current Role: Talent Acquisition Specialist, New York City Administration for Children’s Services
Graduate Degree: M.S. in Human Resource Management, Stony Brook University

Quardear Harris ’19 has seen first-hand how John Jay’s Career and Internship Fair can be transformational. “As a student at John Jay, the career and internship fair opened up a world of possibilities for me. There’s something for everyone. You’re meeting recruiters from a variety of industries. You’re getting your foot in the door, putting your name out there, handing out resumes, and expanding your network—it’s a win-win situation,” says Harris. “On February 29, I’m returning to the Fair and standing on the other side of the table. I’ll be recruiting on behalf of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. I’m excited to meet John Jay students and alumni and introduce them to our agency.”

Were there any programs, specific classes, or learning experiences that helped further your career aspirations?
Being part of CUNY Service Corps, I interned at several organizations—including Here to Here and
the Center for Social Organization of Schools at John Hopkins University: Talent Development Secondary—that solidified my path in the human resources field. I worked with at-risk youth at a low-performing high school in the South Bronx. Helping these kids figure out what they wanted to do in the future, what their goals were, and how they could achieve success was really important to me. I also helped place students in internship programs across the city, including at John Jay, Mount Sinai Hospital, and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. I wanted to see them succeed like my mentors at John Jay wanted to see me succeed.

How did your mentors at John Jay put you on the path to career success?
Dr. Dara Byrne (former Associate Provost for Undergraduate Retention and Dean of Undergraduate Studies and current Dean of the Macaulay Honors College), Yvonne Purdie (undergraduate advisor), and Stephanie Colon and Anika Frazer (CUNY Service Corps managers) were all pivotal to my success. They saw my potential and knew what I could accomplish before I saw it.

Dr. Byrne always had an encouraging word that motivated me to be better in all facets of life. I remember feeling so overwhelmed during my first year at the College. She heard me out, and together, we figured out the best way for me to overcome the challenges I was facing. That experience and her support showed me the kind of person I wanted to be—someone who uplifts others so they can reach their greatest potential.

Yvonne Purdie was my advisor for my major, and she is just so incredible. She’s thoughtful and passionate about her students’ success. One day, we were talking about my career aspirations. She looked at me and said, “You’re an HR professional. You know how to talk to people, and you know how to effectively communicate and share information. You see people’s greatness.” She told me about her work experiences and shared that she worked in the College’s HR department before becoming an advisor. Ms. Purdie always pushed me to go for more. When I decided I wanted to pursue my master’s degree in human resource management, she immediately offered to write my recommendation letter.

You’ve stayed connected to John Jay, hosting career events and participating in the career fair as an HR professional. What has that experience been like and why do you think agencies like coming to John Jay for recruitment?
Returning to John Jay for hiring events and the career fair has been so special. It feels like I’m coming home. I see so much of myself in these students. It’s so rewarding to find talent for our agency right here at my alma mater. It puts a smile on my face being able to change the trajectory of somebody’s life for the better by offering them a job with the city. There are so many benefits to working with a city agency—you’re getting union representation, benefits, and a pension plan.

Agencies love coming to John Jay for recruitment because they know that the students are getting a top-tier education. When John Jay College is on your resume, it holds weight and grabs people’s attention. The College produces top talent—that fact is undeniable.

What advice do you have for students attending this year’s Career Fair on February 29?
Show up and market yourself. Bring your resume. Get information anywhere you can. Grab brochures, take down emails, and ask for business cards. Ask questions about the agency or company if you’re interested. Talk to the recruiters and hiring managers. And, be open to the various employment opportunities at the Fair. You never know when that life-changing job offer will present itself.