Lauren Spadafore


Why did you choose to attend Potsdam?  I chose Potsdam for a variety of reasons.  One of the biggest components that drew me to the college was the people.  From day one at Open House I knew there was a connection between myself and the college.  I got this feeling from watching the way people interacted and hearing all of the testimonials from professors and current students.  I knew at SUNY Potsdam I would be able to have opportunities and make connections allowing me to stand out at the end of my four years of college.  Unlike other schools I looked at, I could see myself growing not only professionally, but personally as well.  It brought all the things I was looking for in a college to the table with the added bonus of being away form home but still close enough to visit when needed.

Who was your favorite professor?  I would not be in the field I am in now without the motivation and coaching I received from Karen Wilson.  We are still in touch today!



What was your favorite class while at Potsdam?  My favorite class goes back to Karen Wilson.  Public Speaking, which most people despise especially as freshman, was the class that made me fall in love with my field.  In training & development you are called upon daily to perform and Karen definitely prepared me to perform to up to my potential every time.  She had a great way of making you feel comfortable in her classroom and making you feel like you were being talked to and not talked at.

What advice would you give to current students attending Potsdam?  As cliche as it sounds, take advantage of every minute both in and out of the classroom.  Talk with your professors after class.  Get to know them because chances are what you think you know of them from class isn’t the half.  Network yourselves and get into every opportunity that presents itself and if it doesn’t present itself find a way to make it happen.  Right now as a student there are so many resources at your fingertips, go after them.  Make yourself marketable but have fun while doing it.  Don’t waste time doing something you don’t love because passion will make you money in the end.  Chasing a title won't.  When you love what you do the money will come and you’ll be a well-rounded person in the meantime.  Most importantly, though, have fun!  Sure you might have to pull an all nighter, but don’t be afraid to go out with friends since now is the time to make the memories and the mistakes.

Boston Skyline

 If you had the option to tell a prospective student one thing about Potsdam, what would it be?   Look at Potsdam for all it has to offer.  Don’t discount it for its location.  Its unique location and size give you an individualized education where is at larger schools you would just be a number.  When I was in graduate school, people, including staff, were so impressed with the experiences that I had while at Potsdam.  The response from my fellow students in the program was that at their school it was to hard to get an internship and that it wasn’t accessible.  Accessibility is what Potsdam, in my eyes, stands for.  From the faculty, staff, right down to the network outside of SUNY Potsdam that the school has created, there is always someone there to push you and help along the way.

How has Potsdam helped you reach your personal and career goals?  SUNY Potsdam taught me a lot about myself both as a professional and as a person.  I am the youngest manager hired by Saks Fifth Avenue  I can solidly say that Without the dedication and attention I received at Potsdam, I would not be in the position I am in now. I oversee a good sized staff and every day I’m required to create training and development programs while forecasting and projecting operational matters such as sales and figures.  At times it may seem overwhelming, but I love what I do and my passion for what I do is what keeps me at my store for sometimes fourteen-hour days. 

What is your favorite memory or story about Potsdam?  My favorite memories of SUNY Potsdam are the times spent with my roommates at our house on the corner of Bay Street.   It was in that house that I probably learned as much about myself personally as I learned professionally in the classroom.   My roommates and I moved off campus our junior year and lived in the same house for 2 years until graduation.  We all lived in the same residence halls as freshmen!  The bond that I had with those girls is something that I don’t think you can recreate.  We went through so many things in those four years from different relationships, to tragedies, and nights that you blame on “hey we are young,” to some of the happiest memories that we will have with us for the rest of our lives.  Academics were my main priority, but I also fostered relationships and created a home away from home.  I’m glad that I chose a school like SUNY Potsdam that gave me a unique living experience that I know I will never have again.