Alumni Spotlight: Connor Vezina ’22

March 22, 2024
Caitlin Herz '26

The Alumni Spotlight Series is a new feature to highlight Saint Michael’s alumni far and wide. Answers have been lightly edited for style and clarity. 

Connor Vezina ’22 was a double major in Psychology and Philosophy at Saint Michael’s.

How has your career progressed since graduation?

Connor Vezina ’22

In the two years since graduating from St. Mike’s, I have moved to Columbus, Ohio, to pursue a master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs. I am currently in my last semester of the program! In the last two years, I have met so many kind and knowledgeable people, presented research at a national conference, learned an immense amount inside and outside the classroom, and worked in two entirely different student affairs roles to narrow in on my professional interests. Ohio State prepared me extremely well for the job search, and I will begin a new role after graduation as a full-time Program Coordinator back in the Northeast!

I am currently a graduate student at The Ohio State University, studying higher education student affairs. I work as a graduate teaching assistant in two separate offices on campus. The first position is in the Center for Belonging and Social Change as the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Programming Coordinator. In my second role, I work as a Student Employment Specialist in Dining Services. These jobs are called graduate assistantships, and they provide tuition remission for me as a graduate student, so my work and schooling are closely connected in a lot of ways.  I create weekly professional development workshops for Dining Student Leaders, through a program called the “Student Community Leader program.” Along with this, I support the monthly program development of these 40 student community leaders across campus in the various dining locations that OSU has.

Did you have a favorite course during your time at Saint Michael’s?

My favorite class that I took in undergrad was with Dr. Katherine Kirby, which was titled “Radical Love, Liberation, and Justice.” This class combined my love for Buddhism, meditation, and mindfulness with my academic majors of Psychology and Philosophy. I found that all the assigned readings and writings were deeply reflective, in nature with Dr. Kirby’s other philosophy courses, but also the first time I had recognized writing’s potential as a healing process for me. This was Dr. Kirby’s first time teaching the course, and so it felt completely authentic and full of her personal passion. During a time where COVID was taking a toll on many people’s personal well-being, her online class was a place of respite for me and many others. I remember having so many enriching discussions during this class, and we often meditated collectively, which was an important place of self-reflection and healing for me during a difficult time of social isolation. Dr. Kirby’s class inspired me academically, but also on a personal level, to be a kinder person to myself in all areas of my life, that I still hold on to today.

Where were you found on campus and what were you involved with?

At St. Mike’s, I was involved with the Diversity Coalition for three years, which is a student organization housed in the Center for Diversity, Empowerment, and Community (DEC), formerly known to me as the Center for Multicultural Affairs and Services, or CMAS as we all called it during my time at St. Mike’s. During my three years in Diversity Coalition, I served as the secretary for a year, and as the President for two years. This leadership opportunity was challenging, but it helped me grow individually and learn about the passions I am currently pursuing professionally. Diversity Coalition helped me find and cultivate a sense of community that I never experienced before attending St. Mikes. I was able to develop some really amazing programs during my three years in this organization, most notably the International Festival that happens every year. Along with this, I found some of my best friends through this organization, that I am still in touch with to this day.

What specific skills have you gained from being a student at Saint Michael’s?

I use what I learned at St. Mike’s every day. Studying Psychology and Philosophy, I am continuously using my critical thinking skills to navigate student crises and my academic classwork. Having had the opportunity to do independent research with Dr. Boynton in my senior year, I found how much his wisdom and expertise has helped me in being an effective and thoughtful writer at the graduate level. Along with this, he is a major contributing factor for my interest in conducting research at the graduate level and showed me how much fun research can be.

Do you have a favorite memory from Saint Michael’s?

My favorite memory from my St. Mike’s career was the summer of my sophomore year. I had the opportunity to work both as a summer orientation leader in DEC’s summer bridge program “SOAR” and as an orientation leader for international students. During both opportunities, I was able to meet and connect with so many incoming students and felt truly fulfilled as a student leader. During both summer orientation opportunities, I became incredibly close friends with Marlon Hyde and Jaron Bernire. While meeting all these students was extremely rewarding, I continue to smile thinking back on the experience the three of us had as student leaders who are also close friends. We laughed and created so many memories over this summer, memories we still reminisce on to this day. We talk about how that summer is one of the best times of our lives. My friendships with Marlon and Jaron speak to the special community that St. Mike’s can help build in only four short years. While St. Mike’s taught me an immense amount academically, the stories and adventures I built with my friends, the laughs we shared, and even the difficult moments, are the things I think back on most fondly.

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