Alumni Now: Jennifer Cachola

Jennifer Cachola (Communication Studies, ’14), a Community College Transfer Opportunity (CCTOP) scholar, went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Media Culture and Communication at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. From there she earned a Master of Arts in Youth Studies at the CUNY School of Professional Studies. Ms. Cachola, recognized as an Honors student for her high GPA and academic achievement at BMCC, was a customer service supervisor within the retail industry before joining BMCC in 2016 as an academic advisor, providing educational and transfer guidance to more than 500 students per semester, as well a monitoring a caseload up to 250 students.

What is your favorite memory (professor, class, etc.) of BMCC?
Wow, this question is a bit difficult to answer since I have many favorite memories, professors, classes and experiences from my time as a student at BMCC. However, I think one of my favorite memories was when I proactively reached out to a professor and introduced myself to her before the start of the semester since I was enrolled in one her classes. I contacted my now former professor, Dr. Sandra Poster, introducing myself and inquiring about the internship option in my major, Communication Studies, and that opened the door for the ongoing relationship I have with her; I am so happy to now, to call her my friend and mentor. During my first go-around at college, right out of high school, I was rather timid, as many first time college students tend to be when entering a college environment. While reflecting on my response for this question, I actually found the outreach email I sent to Dr. Poster in 2013 (after taking a five-year break from college) and I am very proud of my past self for doing that because I do believe that is what caused a major turning point in my life towards where I am today academically and professionally.

How did BMCC help you get where you are today?
For one thing, I did not only just follow BMCC’s motto — ‘Start Here, Go Anywhere’ — I returned here and I’m proud to pay it forward! BMCC allowed me to connect with so many good people (professors, classmates, administrators and others) and I am forever appreciative of those connections. The same professor I reached out to was the person who encouraged me to inquire about a position in the department in which I am currently employed, the Academic Advisement and Transfer Center. I found a passion in helping older youth, which directly aligns with the areas I studied in my undergraduate and graduate careers, Communications and Youth Studies. Since I did not have a lot of support within my personal circles to help guide me during my academic career, I had to learn how to independently ask for help when needed and the more I did, the more I was able to get where I needed and wanted to go. BMCC helped me find my confidence and utilize my communication skills to the fullest, especially within my academic area of focus, Communication Studies.

What advice do you have for today’s BMCC students?
Stay open-minded with what you study and always be proactively inquisitive. Also remember that everyone has their own timelines. Be kind to yourself and find your community, especially in such a large college environment such as BMCC.  Join a club; start a club; speak to people in your classes; pick the brains of your professors to gain insight into the fields you are looking to pursue; discuss your plans with your advisors; attend events and always come prepared with questions!

Why is it important for alumni to stay involved with BMCC?
It is very important for alumni to stay involved with BMCC (and any alma mater) to show appreciation and as previously mentioned, to pay it forward to the next group of students who will be going through a shared experience. Attend alumni-related events, offer to speak on alumni panels and share your stories and advice with the future generation of college students.