Alumni Lives: Deirdre Schwiring (’11)

Deirdre Schwiring graduated from GSE with her M.S.E. in School Counseling in May 2011 and currently works as an Elementary School Guidance Counselor at a Charter School in Harlem.  Read more about how her experiences at GSE helped her to find her career path after graduation!

As one might expect, during my tenure in graduate school the job market looked bleak.  However, instead of listening to the critics and naysayers, I resolved to use my time at school in the most productive ways possible.

To begin with, I became a member of a research team which provided me with exposure to students in the South Bronx, allowing me to learn their educational and emotional needs. Additionally, I was awarded a graduate assistantship and had the privilege of working in the GSE Admissions Office. This opportunity helped me to form the relationships and connections, which would later help me to obtain a job.

I started applying for counseling jobs halfway through my last year of school, and met with the GSE Career Advisor, Abigail Ferreira, to perfect my resume and interviewing skills. When I started to go on interviews, I was pleased to see that my Fordham degree was highly respected- because of the smaller, more selective program at GSE, employers know that they are going to get a more quality school counselor than from a school with a larger, less selective and less challenging program.

Currently I work as an Elementary School Guidance Counselor at a Charter School in Harlem, a position I was offered this job one month after graduation.  I spoke with a recruiter from the Charter School at Fordham GSE’s Career Fair, and even though there were no immediate openings for school counselors, I followed up with emails to maintain the relationship in case something popped up. Luckily, something did.

My advice to current students: Don’t start the job application process the last few months before graduation; start it the day you begin your program. Do whatever you can to get connected, network, and learn how to be the best you can be at your future vocation.  Put yourself out there; take risks and show initiative. As I discovered, GSE provides so many ways to go deeper with your educational experience, if you take advantage of the opportunities available.

I continue to use the skills gained through my time at Fordham daily at my job.  So much of what we do as educators and counselors is learned “in the trenches,” but a solid educational foundation is necessary for long term success, and I am grateful to GSE for providing me with that foundation, as well as the opportunities and connections to leverage it in the job market and in my continuing career.

I encourage you to keep in touch with those faculty, staff and classmates who supported you the most along your way after graduation!


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