In a month where all of us give thanks, Suffolk’s very own Assistant Dean John Silveria is giving thanks to his plethora of experiences in and out of higher ed…. and more importantly, his amazing family.
Hi John! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I am the Assistant Dean of Students. I am responsible primarily for the Student Involvement areas at Suffolk University which include- Student leadership and Involvement, Orientation and New Student programs, Performing Arts, SOULS Community Service and Service Learning, and our Ram Card program.
What was your higher ed path, and how did you end up at Suffolk for graduate school?
While I was a 2nd semester senior at Umass Amherst, I served as the IFC advisor to chapters on the campus, which was a great learning experience. The next semester, the Dean asked me to serve as her Special Assistant and run greek life while they hired a director. A great and interesting start for someone who just graduated undergrad. I then took a few jobs over 4 years before coming to Suffolk for my masters in 1996 – I had been at the Stock Exchange, Ralston Purina – selling pet food and then an agent for bands who were showcasing at NACA – I decided to follow up on my past dabble in greek life so I came to Suffolk.
After graduating I became a Coordinator of Programs at Boston University which was a live on Student Activities role, a great place to learn about big programs with seasoned staff. From there I dabbled in Higher ed marketing for two years at a local start up- edu.com and then Student Advantage. After that I landed at Northeastern starting in Student Center Operations and moving into a role managing Leadership, Media and Greek life in Student Activities. From there I came to Suffolk where I have been for the past 6 1/2 years.
Stock Exchange and Pet Food! I think you might have one of the most unique and interesting backgrounds! Can you recall a pivotal point in your career path that was sort of like your a-ha moment?
My second layoff in 9 months two weeks after my wife and I bought a house – it was time to go back to what I loved and stop chasing the money so I went to Northeastern.
Is there someone who has made a mark on your graduate school experience or career?
I’ve had solid experiences along the way – Steph Matson was a great professional at Suffolk in Student Activities when I was here, Abby Elmore and Jenn Kuhlmann were great supervisors who I learned a lot from in terms of Student Life at BU, Dave Zamojski and Kenn Elmore were consummate Res Life pros at BU who held their partnerships with Student Activities in high regard, there are no bigger advocates of the College Union in the area than Gail Olyha and Bob Grier at NU, and Nancy Stoll has helped me grow tremendously in my role here at SU.
What would be one piece of advice you could give to new professionals or graduate students in higher ed?
1. Your network is what you make of it, keep them close, keep them informed, and help them when you can. 2. If you are the last one at the social be the first one at the program the next morning 3. Develop a sense of career/life balance early and stick to it – do not take roles that won’t allow you to be yourself.
Aside from higher ed and student affairs, what do you do for fun?!
I hang out with Jake, (9) Dan (7), and Kate (wife) Silveria as much as possible, get in over my head coaching, volunteer for soccer and baseball leagues, kick our new pup off the table nightly, grow organic veggies, and play tennis every Saturday morning when I can.
Contact Assistant Dean Silveria (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any questions or comments regarding his education or career path!