Meet Alum Jeff Godowski ’13, Assistant Dean at Flora Rose House, Cornell University

Name: Jeff Godowski 

Class Year: 2013

Title: Assistant Dean

Organization Name: Flora Rose House, Cornell University


1. In one sentence, what does your job entail?

Jeff supports the educational mission of Flora Rose House, a residential college at Cornell University, through the supervision of professional, graduate, and undergraduate staff and the administration of the Rose Scholars program.

2. What planned and unplanned events connected you to your industry and your first employer after Holy Cross? How did you learn/decide it was a good fit for you?  

After Holy Cross, I went on to receive my Master of Education degree from the University of Vermont in Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration. My involvement during my undergraduate experience at HC, and the mentors that guided me, greatly influenced my career path and prepared me for my future career. My first full-time job after graduate school was as a Residence Hall Coordinator at Saint Louis University, another Jesuit institution in St. Louis, Missouri. The mission and identity of Jesuit education was an important factor in the decision process of accepting that role, and it was that connection to my students that really sustained me during those years at SLU, even through some pretty trying times.

3. What were you involved in when you were on campus? 

At Holy Cross, I was an RA and then Student Resident Director for Residence Life and Housing and various intern roles for the Office of Student Involvement; I served as Co-Chair and Senior Advisor for ABiGaLe/Allies (now Pride) and Director of Student Life for SGA. I also worked in the Classics Department and Kimball Dining and was involved in theatre, Schola Cantorum, SPUD and retreats for periods of time over the four years.

4. What was your major and how did it affect your career decisions? 

Classics with Minors in Art History and Italian. While not directly applied in my current career, they still heavily influence some of my personal passion areas outside of work. I did have a difficult decision to make my senior year of whether to pursue my academic interests through an opportunity I had to receive the English Teach Assistant grant in Italy from Fulbright. Through a very intentional period of Ignatian discernment in the spring of my Senior year, I decided to pursue my current career by attending my graduate program instead of the Fulbright program. While this might have been a controversial personal decision at the time, seven years later I still think I made the right choice.

5. What are one or two skills that you developed at Holy Cross that you use in your work? 

The high levels of autonomy and creative direction I had through my student leadership roles at HC really helped to fast-track my career and helped me stand out among peers in my first few roles after graduation. I also learned a lot of critical thinking skills that continue to help me in responding to crises and long term strategic planning in a university context. Also, because my current role has high levels of collaboration with faculty, my liberal arts education helped me in forming relationships and increasing partnerships across academic affairs and student affairs.

6. What advice do you have for students on campus today?

 Look for your mentors and build those relationships. Whether they are a professor, staff member, alum, or an upperclassmen peer mentor, those relationships will be helpful as you are choosing your own path of discernment for life after college. Since most of you are engaging in remote study right now, make that outreach intentional and set up some time to chat with your mentors over zoom and sustain those relationships.