When a Laurentian Rises, She Lifts Others
St. Lawrence puts us on a path to climb mountains and lend a helping hand to every Laurentian.
“I told her how hard Kilimanjaro was, and that fighting through challenges made me feel better about tackling tough things at work and beyond work, too.”
Charlotta Chung ’08 recently summited the highest mountain in Africa and she talked about it with Susan Liu ’21, the woman Chung is mentoring as part of the Laurentians Investing in Networking and Careers (LINC) program. (see sidebar)
“I think it was helpful for Susan to see women who have risen up,” she adds.
It’s also helpful that Chung sees herself reflected in Liu.
“We're both daughters of immigrants,” Chung says. “We went to the same high school in Brooklyn and St. Lawrence has helped both of us pursue our interests in law and government.”
When they first talked as mentor and mentee, they found that they had even more in common.
“We went through her resume and she said, ‘Well, I had to work at White Castle to earn money over college breaks.’ And I told her that, during my breaks, I worked at a grocery store. I learned a lot from that job, like humility and just getting things done, even when you don’t feel great about it. We talked about finding ways to succeed, and excel. I said take the opportunities you’re given, and smash them out of the park, even if they’re not well-regarded. Sometimes, you learn more from the jobs that others don't respect, because you have to understand more. It can almost help to be a little underestimated, because it pushes you forward.”
Now a lawyer at a financial firm in New York City, Chung says their mentor-mentee talks are helping Liu develop a stronger sense of herself and envision a better future, too. Chung stresses that this future starts on campus.
“The grocery job didn't hold me back because St. Lawrence has programs that help. I was able to build in valuable experiences through the internship fellowship and summer research programs.”
Chung says she can already see Liu gaining confidence.
“Susan should take pride in all that she’s done, how she learns from different experiences, and use all that to figure out where she wants to go next. That’s what I did. And I think that, with our similar backgrounds, my experiences can help her.”
In this respect, climbing to the peak of Kilimanjaro is a useful metaphor.
“It’s important for me to be a kind of model for Susan,” Chung says, “Ultimately, she will articulate where she wants to go and what she wants to do. After all, Susan has her own mountains to climb. I’m just helping her focus on the steps she’ll take to reach the top.”
Aid, As Soon As Possible
In addition to serving as a mentor to a current student, Charlotta Chung is also funding a scholarship that’s quickly put to use as tuition assistance for students. This is different from an endowed scholarship, which is often built through years of giving and, when it reaches the desired amount, distributes a percentage of its value as tuition aid.
As Chung puts it, “I want to invest in other students.”
Other Laurentians invested in her, she says, and she knows the impact it can make.
“I received significant grant aid to come to SLU and it was important to me that I pay it forward now that I am in a position to do so.”
She’s doing this through a recurring gift each month to the St. Lawrence Fund Scholars program.
Chung says her philanthropy has also become a meaningful way to recognize her family and their contributions to her success.
“I want to honor my grandmother who passed away a couple years ago,” she says. “She really loved St. Lawrence from the minute we went to Accepted Student Day. I wouldn’t have been able to attend without help from her and my grandfather. I wouldn’t be where I am today without St. Lawrence, so I want to give back.”
Chung adds that, to recipients, scholarships convey both educational opportunities and responsibilities. Getting this kind of aid, she says, can help students become leaders.
“I like the adage, ‘to whom much is given, much is required,’” she says. “The generous donations of Laurentians brought the University within reach for me. The professors and resources at St. Lawrence helped me get into law school and reach my current position. I feel like it’s my responsibility to enable another student to reach his or her potential as well.”
Each of Us, Together
Networks, of any kind, demand action. Every part has a job to do. In professional networks, each individual has a responsibility to the whole system.
Laurentians know this.
It’s one of many reasons the Princeton Review once again named the St. Lawrence alumni network one of the best in the country. Lots of our graduates thank fellow alumni and parents for getting the meeting, or job, or that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that made all the difference.
Laurentians Investing in Networking and Careers (LINC) was created to make more of these connections. Our accomplished alumni and parents mentor sophomores, helping them develop the interpersonal skills to successfully navigate the working world.
Supporting the LINC program is a priority of The Campaign for Every Laurentian, because it helps each of us make the connections that strengthen all of us.
To learn more about LINC, contact Kim Hissong ’94, associate vice president for university advancement at: (315) 229-5937 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuition Assistance in Times of Need
The St. Lawrence Fund Scholars program helps the University remain responsive to the changing financial needs of our students. It is an essential lifeline to the future they’re working hard to build.
Donors appreciate the program’s simplicity. By the start of each academic year after a contribution is made, aid is designated to students in need.
Giving to St. Lawrence Fund Scholars meets two priorities of The Campaign for Every Laurentian: supporting scholarships and the St. Lawrence Fund.
To learn more about this important program, contact Beth Dixon ’10, M’18, associate director of annual giving at: (315) 229-5077 | email@example.com