Walter credits his career success to his volunteer work — feeding the homeless through Rider’s Midnight Run program and working with homeless children at HomeFront. That led to one job, then another and another over the summers and school year as he gained experience, built his résumé and developed connections. “Without the community service I did at Rider, I wouldn’t have met the folks at HomeFront or found my career. Rider taught me the importance of networking.”
The number of organizations Walter was involved in at Rider, plus the leadership positions he held, including president of the Latin American Student Organization. “I learned so many things that I’m using now — time management, communication and leadership skills,” he says. “Rider molded me into a leader and prepared me for the real world.”
As a Rider undergrad, Walter participated in two study abroad trips. In the summer after freshman year, he traveled to Madrid, Spain where he took a special education course and worked with special needs children. The following spring he traveled to China on a study tour. “Both trips were great. They introduced me to other cultures and helped me to appreciate what I have here.”
Why Walter Chose Rider
With dreams of becoming a history teacher, Walter was drawn to Rider by the reputation of its education program. When he toured campus, it was love at first sight. “It was beautiful. And the way the tour guide talked about Rider and the education program made me want to go there,” he says. But the “number one reason” he chose Rider: the classroom size. “I knew I’d get the attention I needed.”
"What I learned at Rider — in the classroom and through my leadership roles, volunteer work, internship and jobs — molded me into the professional I am today."
Rider's Impact on Walter's Success
As an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student, Walter attended a summer program where he took an introductory composition course with Dr. Jane Rosenbaum. “She made me fall in love with writing,” says Walter, who changed his major to English. He later added a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies after taking Michele D’Angelo’s class “Race, Class and Gender.” “That class changed the direction of my career,” he says.
Walter became increasingly involved in campus organizations and activities, including community service work — delivering food to New York’s homeless through the Midnight Run program and working with homeless kids on an Earth Day event at HomeFront Inc. in Trenton. Both provided valuable experiences and connections that paved the way to future jobs. “My professors always said networking is the way the world works — and it’s true! My experiences and the people I met opened the door to more opportunities,” he says.
His volunteer work led to a job as a summer counselor at HomeFront’s camp for homeless children. It was there Walter that met a YWCA supervisor, which led to a job at the YWCA’s after-school program during his junior and senior years and an internship working with the YWCA’s morning preschool class.
While a senior, Walter followed up on a tip from the human resources director at HomeFront and applied for a position there through AmeriCorps Vista. He was hired as a development associate and spent the next year helping to build awareness of HomeFront’s successful $6 million Family Campus Campaign.
After completing that assignment, he went to work full-time as a HomeFront case manager helping Mercer County’s HIV homeless population access treatment, medication, housing, clothing and food. “Things just fell into place,” says Walter. “I got a job helping the homeless and using what I learned in my minor.” Walter recently took a job with the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency as a family service specialist.