Name: Monet Thomas-Anderson
Title: Operations and Special Programs Manager
Company: Campus Philly
Q: Can you tell me about what you do at Campus Philly?
A: Campus Philly is a nonprofit organization that fuels economic growth by encouraging college students to study, explore, live and work in the Greater Philadelphia tri-state area. We make introductions and build connections between college students, employers, civic groups and creative communities in the region. We work with 30+ colleges and universities in the region to connect their students to all that Philadelphia has to offer from Philadelphia’s vibrant arts and culture scene through our new program, Open Arts, to the increasing number of businesses that offer internships through the Campus Philly careers website. I have recently transitioned into a new role at Campus Philly; I am now the Operations and Special Programs Manager. On the operations side, I oversee the day-to-day activities of the office, which includes payroll/employee benefits management, account payable/receivable, IT support, board of director’s liaison, and staff support, amongst other things. On the special programs side, I help connect Campus Philly to the college access community by initiating collaborations/partnerships and team lead the production of our annual meeting every December. Favorite part of my job: connecting college students to Philadelphia. I love Philadelphia with every bit of me and being able to engage students with all that Philadelphia has to offer is rewarding.
Q: I noticed that you have a Major in Biochemistry. How did you go from a lab to your current role?
A: Before graduating from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, I had a change of heart about entering into the pharmaceutical world (that was the industry that my BS in biochemistry and minor in advertising was preparing me for). I realized my personality was a better fit for interpersonal interactions and the lab didn’t provide much of that. Soon after I graduated, I was given the opportunity to teach 10th grade chemistry and 12th grade physics at my alma mater, Girard College, as a long-term substitute teacher (five months). While teaching, I found my passion for educating and inspiring today’s youth. I enjoyed inspiring students to reach their full potential by thinking critically and outside of the box. After my teaching stint, on a whim I attended Campus Philly’s Opportunity Fair in June 2012 and was ecstatic to see that Campus Philly was hiring. I applied and three weeks later I was working there. I still have a passion for the sciences and I am able to incorporate that into my work at Campus Philly by partnering with the Philadelphia Science Festival every year.
Q: Based on your current job, I think you are the most qualified to answer this question: what advice would you give college students and recent graduates about their professional careers?
A: My advice for college students and recent graduates about their professional careers:
- Find your passion, invest/train/build on your passion, and then find a career that pays you to do what you are passionate about.
- Be spontaneous and open-minded. You never know what great opportunities may come your way in the blink of an eye.
- Take advantage of a paid internship. 63% of students with a paid internship during college had at least one job offer upon graduation as opposed to 35% who had no internship.
- Find supportive communities that will help motivate you to excel. Philadelphia has robust civic, cultural, creative, and young professional communities – the right one for you is just an email away.
- Attend alumni events sponsored by your high school and college. There is a network of people that are invested in your success.
- Start building your network early. The more people you know, the farther you will go.
- Follow Campus Philly to learn about the great opportunities for students in Philadelphia: @Campus_Philly.org and @CareersPhilly
Q: When a friend or relative visits Philly for the first time, what is the first place you take them to?
A: I always take first-time visitors to LOVE Park, the iconic statue is always a must-see; but it’s the history behind it that I love to tell. I explain the actual name of the park is JFK plaza, the plaza was created by Kevin Bacon’s dad and the statue was removed for a short period of time in the late 70’s. I then travel down to Northern Liberties and show them the variety of restaurants in the Piazza. I think the variety of restaurants astonishes visitors, because they often don’t think of Philly as a “foodie-town,” when in fact, WE ARE!
Q: How has your YPN membership benefited you and what has been your favorite YPN event so far?
A: The YPN membership has benefitted me in many ways. Through YPN, I was able to find a consistent group to volunteer with. I have been volunteering since grade school and when I graduated from college, it was difficult to find a consistent way to give back to the community. Now that I am a YPN member, I sit on the volunteer committee and help plan volunteer opportunities for other YPNers.
My favorite YPN event was networking at the Shops at Liberty Place. The venue was unexpected and very accommodating. I wasn’t sure how the event would work; being as though it was in the middle of the mall. I enjoyed the networking in the creative space and I especially enjoyed breaking up into the smaller groups to discuss topics that were affecting the young professional community.
Q: What is one (fun) fact about you that your fellow YPNers would be surprised to learn?
A: I was the Kutztown University Golden Bear Mascot for four years! I performed at basketball games, football games, on-campus functions and off-campus events. My fondest memory as “Avalanche the Golden Bear” was when I gave President F. Javier Cevallos, president of Kutztown University, a noogie at a basketball game and the next day I reported to him the Student Government Board’s student activities budget (I was also the SGB Treasurer at the time). My second fondest memory was performing at the Reading Fightin Phils baseball games during the summer of 2009 with Screwball, Quack the Duck, Blooper the Hound Dog, Change-up the Turtle and Bucky the Beaver. They were the liveliest group of mascots that I had ever come across and would perform with them again in a heartbeat.
Q: Pick one…
Geno’s or Pat’s?
I don’t eat cheesesteaks, I prefer Han Dynasty
Eagles or Phillies?
E.A.G.L.E.S, Eagles, Fly Eagles Fly on the Road to Victory!!
Jose Garces or Stephen Starr?
Stephen Starr…no, Jose Garces…ummm, can we do a taste test?
Philadelphia Marathon or Running of the Santas?
Philadelphia Marathon, the runners are so inspirational.
Phila Museum of Art or The Barnes?
Philadelphia Museum of Art…Who doesn’t love a good Rocky impersonation??
Dogs or Cats?
Kimmel Center or The Mann?
I’m a city girl…The Kimmel Center
Liberty Bell or Rocky?
Liberty Bell, I love the rich history in Philadelphia