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Bechta, Danielle

Danielle Bechta
Major: Political Science
Minor: History
Year of Graduation: 2011
Current Location (city): North Brunswick
Current Occupation: Advancement Officer
Company Name: The Michael J. Fox Foundation
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Why did you choose your major/minor, and what did you like most about it?: When I first arrived on the banks I had no clue what I should select as my major or minor. My first year I decided to take as many classes as I could in different subjects, this way I could make a confident decision based on which ones I liked the most. I loved Political Science instantly. The professor's were amazing and I really enjoyed learning about political theory. When it came to choosing my minor, I originally thought that I would pick psychology. However, it turns out that wasn't in the cards. That's when I realized I loved attending my history classes. So after some trial and error, I was able to confidently pick history as a minor.
Tell us about your journey since graduation and the ways that your experiences at Rutgers and SAS (major/minor, classes, professors, clubs, etc.) have contributed to your successes.: After graduation I was lucky to land a part-time role within the SAS advising office of seniors. I worked with an amazing team of deans who were committed to ensure students were able to graduate by the end of the year. That position ended up becoming a full time role and I learned so much about data analysis. However I realized something was missing, I needed to interact more with people 1:1. This came from my experiences on campus as a leader in my sorority, Sigma Kappa, and Dance Marathon (DM). After a few years I moved to a role at Rutgers University Human Resources (UHR), where I helped develop a program for retired faculty and staff. I met so many amazing friends at UHR, but I wanted to follow a passion of working for a non-profit. Non-profit work was always important to me and this was also because of Sigma Kappa and DM. An opportunity presented itself at the Rutgers University Foundation (RUF) as an events assistant. It was incredible to work so closely with donors and create events that celebrated Rutgers. After a couple of years, I was promoted and had an opportunity to work alongside RUF leadership and Chancellor Dutta. But I wasn't done yet! The non-profit world was still knocking on my door, but I needed to move past RU. That is when another Rutgers Alumni posted on a Facebook group about an opportunity at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. I believe all of my experiences at RU helped me get to where I am today. I learned how to be resilient and use the skills I learned in class, and found that a liberal arts education was the best tool I had.
What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?: Trust your gut! You will know when something feels right. There is no one path, and you will always wind up where you need to be, even though it might take a while. Now is the time to try something new, you never know where those experiences may take you.
Do you have any exciting news to share?: I am proud to be the first SAS graduate to be President of the Rutgers Alumni Association! My term as RAA President started in July 2019 and will go through June 2021.