Jamie Nadeau

James Nadeau

What was your class year and major/minor?

I graduated in 2010 with a major in Government and Legal Studies and a minor in English.

What is your current job, and city of residence?

I work as a Program Director at the Posse Foundation Veterans Program in NYC, which supports veterans seeking to obtain a college degree after serving in the military. I just graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University, where I received a master's degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education. 

Did your academic or extracurricular experience at Bowdoin influence how you are involved in communities now? If yes, how so?

Absolutely. At Bowdoin, I was involved with the McKeen Center, Residential Life, and Admissions. My experiences as a McKeen Fellow, proctor, RA, and senior interviewer complimented my studies of government and policy and provided me with important opportunities for community-centered work. I was also heavily influenced by an ASB trip to Guatemala and my semester abroad in Cape Town, which opened my eyes to the reality of educational inequity. In addition, I was fortunate to have great mentors at Bowdoin, including: Professors Mike Franz, David Collings, and Allen Springer; Sarah Seames at the McKeen Center; and Whitney Soule in the Admissions Office.

In what ways have you been engaged with the community since graduating from Bowdoin (both professionally and personally)?

After graduation, I spent a year in Zambia on a Princeton in Africa Fellowship. I worked for a small scholarship foundation called Kucetekela and gained invaluable experience working directly with underserved youth. That experience inspired me to consider working on behalf of educational access back in the States. For four years afterward, I worked at The Opportunity Network, a career and college readiness organization in New York City, and then started a graduate program at Teachers College. At TC, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, helping to improve graduation rates at the state's community colleges, and as a Resident Assistant with Columbia's School of General Studies. 

I have also stayed involved with Bowdoin, helping to engage donors for the 2010 Alumni Fund.
 
What's been your favorite or most meaningful experience in public service since you graduated?

I think one of the things I'm most proud of is the relationship I helped to cultivate with Bowdoin's admissions office while at OppNet. It was a wonderful way to connect my passion for Bowdoin and the education it offers with my work in postsecondary access and success.

Have any unexpected challenges or difficulties related to this work popped up along the way? If so, what did you learn from these challenges?

I think one of the most difficult things about working in youth development is that it can be tough to find a healthy work-life balance. Everyone who is engaged in this field is unbelievably passionate and relentlessly hardworking; we all want what is best for our students, and sometimes it can be tough to step away and think about the big picture. That being said, I think this is one of the things that makes me so attracted to this work - that its hard to be successful without serious personal investment.

What advice do you have for students who want to work for the common good after Bowdoin?

Take advantage of Bowdoin's resources - both academic and extracurricular. Find leadership positions that push you and allow you to explore your interests, develop your strengths, and tackle your weaknesses. Study abroad, if you can. Make the most of your summers to explore a wide range of careers. Make connections on and off campus from day one, and commit to maintaining them overtime. Stay humble, flexible, and curious - always be on the lookout for new opportunities and ideas. Try your best to reflect on what draws you to service - is it a particular issue? Is it a skill set you absolutely love using? Is it a certain type of organization? And lastly, recognize that you won't be able to figure everything out at once - the field of public service is constantly evolving, so keep an open mind and remain critical and reflective as you make career decisions.

Attending Bowdoin is a privilege, and my challenge to alumni is this: what will you do with your education? How will you utilize this privilege to benefit the lives of others who are less fortunate?