Monday, November 23, 2009

Volunteer Spotlight: Liz Jandrain

Liz Jandrain graduated from Loyola University Chicago in May 2008 with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources (HR). Since then, she has been working as an HR Assistant at Quarasan, a full service conceptual developer of content for publishers of educational materials and products. They work with their clients to create products that help kids learn and teachers teach.

Liz's job is to help with anything that needs to get done. She helps the Vice President and Director of HR; she recruits and hires new talent; she handles orientations and paperwork; she runs the holiday committee and wellness program - the list goes on. "I love to work with people," says Liz. "I help people do what they do better." In HR, you help the employees, which means Liz helps new, current, and former employees with their needs. She credits getting her job to the internship she had at Quarasan while still in school. "It's important to build your resume up," she says. "Any activity that will set you apart from anybody else is good."

Liz is happy with her current job, but she does dream of having her own boutique hotel or candy store in the future. She also wants to start a family. Right now she has no family in Chicago, but she does have a boyfriend and a cat to keep her company. She is going home, though, to spend Thanksgiving with her family. Liz grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but she moved to Columbus, Ohio, when she was seven, which is where her parents still live. Her sister is a teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, she has a brother in the Navy in Washington, D.C., and she has another brother who goes to school in Dayton, Ohio. Liz is looking forward to Thanksgiving because she loves to eat. She is the self-proclaimed "Queen of Thanksgiving." Her favorite dishes are sweet potatoes and cranberry relish.

Liz heard about Cabrini Connections from fellow volunteer MC Nelson, who is also an employee at Quarasan. MC set up Cabrini Connections as the beneficiary to a gift basket raffle at their company last year. Liz works with 7th grader Alexandra Barcenas on Wednesday nights and loves coming to tutor her. "I think I get as much from going as [Alex] does," she says. "To hear the students' hopes and dreams and positivity... to have that, personally, is great."

In addition to social studies, Liz has been helping Alex with her shyness. Her tips for mentors faced with shyness are to keep asking questions and, if you get no answer, talk about yourself. Also, "try and be funny," she says. "Get some emotion out of them. Kids are silly." Great advice, Liz! We're happy to see that you and Alex are getting along well. Thanks for setting a great example!

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