Q: Sandy, you are a 2006 alumna and now an assistant director of alumni relations. What did you major in, and why did you decide to stay at Wes after you finished your degree?
A: I majored in psychology and loved it. I took as many psych courses as I could and ‘overenrolled,’ which I didn’t even know was possible. I had a particular interest in cognitive and developmental psych. I loved my four years at Wesleyan and spent two summers working on campus as an undergrad. When it came time to look for a job my senior year, it seemed natural to me to search for opportunities right here at Wesleyan. I planned on spending just one more summer in Middletown, but the position I found in Alumni and Parent Relations was the perfect fit and so I stayed!
Q: You’ve been present at several student-focused events such as the annual Tuition Transition event, Family Weekend, Para La Familia, Student Leadership luncheons and most recently WesWars. What is your interest in engaging students in activities?
A: We are very interested in raising awareness among undergraduates about the Alumni Association and providing opportunities for students to interact with alumni. It’s important for students to know about the 30,000-some alumni who came before them and to take advantage of networking opportunities. It’s also important for them to begin to understand the value of staying connected with Wesleyan post graduation and the importance of supporting Wesleyan financially.
Q: Please explain WesWars, the new inter-class, campus-wide competition that was held Oct. 30. How did you get students excited about this event?
A: WesWars 2009 was hosted by the newly-formed student group, the Cardinal Council, and was meant to be an all campus “Field Day,” if you will. The council hoped that these fun and goofy games would institute a new tradition of friendly inter-class competition and create another common student experience that would help unify the student body.
Q: How did the Cardinal Council promote the event?
A: The students did a wonderful job of promoting the event, via e-mail, Facebook and word of mouth. They also were able to garner support from ResLife, Student Affairs and President Michael Roth! All of these things helped to make the first WesWars games a huge success.
Q: What is your role as a fundraiser for University Relations?
A: I think in UR we’re all fundraisers in some capacity. I’m more of an indirect fundraiser. I do have a few prospects, but the bulk of my job is to engage alumni and parents with Wesleyan, through a variety of regional events and meaningful programming. I work closely with alumni volunteers and Wesleyan Alumni Clubs in the U.S. and around the world. It’s a lot of volunteer recruitment and management and general relationship building. I work to ensure that we are engaging as many alumni and parents as possible, updating them on what is going on here and bringing some of Wesleyan to them.
Q: What alumni affinity groups do you work with?
A: There’s the Black Alumni Council (BAC), Wesleyan Latino Alumni Network (WesLAN), Asian Pacific American Alumni Council (APAAC) and the LGBTQ Alumni Network. Another large part of my job is Undergraduate Engagement – working with students and making sure they are aware of “life after Wesleyan,” the importance of legacy and staying connected.
Q: Where are you from? Do you have family in the area?
A: My entire family is Peruvian, but I was born and raised in New York City – first generation American. I spent my childhood in Manhattan and then moved to New England for both High School and College. I miss the city, but there are many things about Connecticut that I love. I’m the proud mommy of Alexis Jayden Tello-Lawrence, AJ for short, a fun and sporty 6-year-old boy. I was raised by a wonderfully strong and loving single mother, no siblings. She and many other uncles, aunts and cousins live in New York.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I love cooking, especially with other people. My son and I will often prepare dinner together and when I’m at my mother’s house we spend most of our time in the kitchen. Cooking and eating – two of my favorite things of all time. AJ and I also enjoy reading inspirational books, swimming and going to the movies.