Every college needs a well-rounded, caring and passionate outreach and alumni liaison. Fortunately, Elizabethtown College has that and more in Mary Krikorian. She is what people in her field might call a lifer, meaning that Krikorian has been doing this sort of job for a very long time. Her experience in the field of career services makes her an invaluable asset to the students and alumni of the College.
Believe it or not, even the alumni of Etown need a little direction in their career paths. When they need assistance, Krikorian is always ready and willing to help. She guides alumni that need help with getting to the place they want to be in life. However, Krikorian’s job does not end there.
The other part of her job is helping current students of Etown. As the saying goes, “it’s not who you are, it’s who you know,” so she helps current students get into their chosen career fields by getting them in contact with alumni in their field of interest. This is instrumental for success in today’s world, and Krikorian is able to lead many students in the right direction.
Krikorian was raised in upstate New York, in a town called Oswego. She eventually received her Master’s degree in college student personnel at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her undergraduate degree is in psychology and communications. “Initially, I wanted to go in for guidance and counseling; I knew I wanted to do something in education,” Krikorian said. Despite coming from a family of educators— her father is a college professor— Krikorian did not want to follow that path.
“What really interested me were these programs I was seeing in higher education,” Krikorian added. “I started off in student activities, and then I did an internship in academic advising that had a little bit of career stuff in it.”
Her first job was at Bethany College in West Virginia, a very small school whose student body would make up less than half of Etown’s. There she did academic counseling, personal counseling and career counseling. She stayed at Bethany College for about six years, and in 1996, moved on to two new jobs. The first job was at a state school, and the second job was at a private school. Krikorian started doing career counseling exclusively for the first time at the state school and continued to do the same when she moved on to her private school position. “We moved here about four years ago when my husband got a job at LVC,” she stated. Krikorian started working at Etown in January of 2009.
When Krikorian is not working, she enjoys a pleasant family life. She has five children, all still in school, and she is happily married to her husband, who still works at Lebanon Valley College as the Dean of Students.
“I think that kind of comes back to loving what I do,” Krikorian said. “I have so many times that it would be so hard to come to work and not like what I do and have to deal with the kids at home,” she added. “I also think it’s a really good role modeling thing for them [her children] to see me out there, helping people and doing what I’m passionate about.”
In addition to her husband and children, Krikorian has five pets, which includes a golden retriever, two cats and two turtles. “It’s quite a full house,” Krikorian remarked. She likes to read very much, and she also enjoys music a great deal. She was able to see two of her favorite singers perform this past summer: Peter Gabriel in Camden, N.J. and Todd Rundgren. She was happy about being able to see Rundgren because she grew up listening to him and actually saw him perform back in 1981. When asked about her favorite books, Krikorian responded with a half smile, “I have to say the classics are probably my favorite. My dad was an English professor, so I’m not even sure that’s by choice. It’s like a genetic thing.”
In the future, Krikorian really hopes to travel, ideally before she retires. She would like to see the world and experience different cultures and places. However, Krikorian noted that it is a little hard to travel with all of the children that she has to care for.
Krikorian lives by a great career quote from Aristotle: “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your occupation.” That quote is very applicable to her life and career. Krikorian is someone who helps people in their time of need, but it is more than a job for her. Her career is something she cares about deeply, and it shows through her work. “I really feel like higher education is my passion,” Krikorian said. “I don’t see myself going anywhere else.” Hopefully, for the College’s sake, she will be here for many years to come.