PROFile: 2018 Young Alumnus Award winner Gavin Farber

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Kicking off the school year, Rowan University gave freshman students a Presidents Welcome and Picnic, where the Alumni Association honored Gavin Farber with the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award. Farber graduated from Rowan University 10 years ago with a journalism degree but transpired into becoming an Academic Advisor at the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University. 

The Distinguished Young Alumnus Award is dedicated to a Rowan alumnus that has graduated within the past 10 years and has distinguished themselves either in the Rowan community or throughout their profession. In a letter the university sent out to students and faculty, they spoke of Farber and his great achievements. 

“Farber earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism and his master’s degree in higher education from Rowan,” the article stated. “He holds an additional master’s degree in human resource management from Temple.” 

Graduating with a journalism degree, Farber quickly realized that he was not fit for that career choice. In the spring of 2006, he had an internship with the Career and Academic Planning Center, which changed everything for him. 

“I worked a five-hour a week internship working to create programming for Undeclared students,” Farber said. “Along with working on the PROS Staff for three years those experiences inspired my career shift from journalist to higher educator. When I graduated in May 2010, I started an 18-month job search that gave me many experiences in cover letter writing, resume creation, phone interview preparation and on-campus interviews. When I interviewed with the Fox School of Business and Management in September 2011, it just felt right. I don’t know how to explain it. It was like the stars aligned in this placement for me.”

His experiences at Rowan were ones that Farber treasured, working in various clubs and organizations on campus helped shape him. 

“Rowan provided the opportunities to help me determine my professional pathways through on-campus internships and working on the PROS staff,” Farber said. “I think that while I loved journalism, I had a greater calling to work with college students. I think overall I was really fortunate to learn more about different career paths.”

Not only did working for organizations and clubs gain Farber a better knowledge of his future career, but working as a graduate assistant for the vice president of student affairs helped him gain perspective. Farber said that he felt privileged every day to be working there, learning new skill sets and advancing in his knowledge of student affairs. 

At Temple University, Farber works with freshman and sophomore undergraduate students, giving him the chance to watch them grow within their studies. He teaches seminar courses every semester, shifting his focus to engaging with his students outside of advising. 

With every job, there comes challenges, especially when advising students who are trying to figure out their academic pathways. 

“I have had to gain thicker skin when working with students who have academic challenges that require more in-depth and deep conversations,” Farber said. “When working with at-risk students on academic probation and they face academic dismissal those are some of the more difficult academic advising appointments a professional could have.” 

Although challenging, working with students has been rewarding for Farber. Students who are having trouble deciding what career path they want to go down or who have challenging advising appointments, spending the extra time with them and watching them graduate is one of the most rewarding feelings.

When being awarded the Distinguished Young Alumnus Award from Rowan, Farber felt that it helped him appreciate his education and the chances that he had. His advice to younger students looking to expand their education is to make as many experiences as possible. 

“Apply for campus position that interests you such as an admissions ambassador, resident assistant, PROS member, academic tutor/coach, Rowan After Hours employee” Farber said. “I think it is also important to network on campus with different people on campus; conduct informational interviews and see if you could observe an administrator (or two) in their roles.” 

His words to college students seeking guidance on finding their pathways is to gain experiences and network with different people on campus. Getting involved and active with the college community allows for more guidance in the right career path.

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