Before Nicole Anderson, ’04, became a College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) professor of history, she attended law school, but soon realized she rather teach law, not practice it. Deciding what her next step should be, she reached out for guidance to the place that, in her own words, “changed my life by enabling me to realize my innermost career passion,” the College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, N.J.
“After much agonizing and many conversations with my CSE advisor Dr. George Sirgiovanni, who still made me a priority, I decided to leave law school and apply to graduate school for my master’s degree in political science,” remembers Anderson. “It was the best decision I ever made, and George helped me make it … by listening to my concerns, not judging my decisions, and supporting my new aspirations. George truly was like family – he still offered an ear and advice even though I had graduated and thus ‘moved away’ from my CSE home, making me no longer a formal responsibility of his.”
Returning to CSE was a natural move for Anderson who thought of CSE as more than a college, but as an extension of her family. When a close family member was struck with a debilitating illness, the CSE community closed ranks and helped her through her senior year. She credits in large measure the faculty, administrators, staff, and students at CSE for her successful completion of her undergraduate degree.
But it was her experiences in the classroom that prepared Anderson for her career. “Although I have attended excellent post-baccalaureate schools, no institution has given me as satisfying an educational experience as the College of Saint Elizabeth,” says Anderson. “My professors encouraged me to speak, to write, and to think with conviction and clarity, while my classmates, from whom I learned so much as well, were role models of civility and camaraderie.”
For nearly six years, Anderson has been a CSE professor of history, her dream job. “The very place I had loved for four years as an undergraduate is now my employer, enabling me to continue, albeit in a weightier, more responsible role, to do what I had immensely enjoyed as a college learner. I get to wake up every morning doing what I love and being who I want to be – at a place I admire and very much want to continue to serve.”