Faculty and Staff Spotlight - Jesse Alexander
For the month of February we are featuring Jesse Alexander, Head of the Student Resource Center at Webster Vienna Private University. Whether you need help perfecting your thesis statement, grasping the complexities of calculus or getting in touch with our vast network of alumni, the Student Resource Center offers many wonderful services to our students free of charge. Jesse is always there for our Gorloks and makes sure they feel welcome every step of the way.
- Can you tell us a bit more about your background (e.g. Where are you from/what brought you to Vienna)?
Well, I am from Canada, as most at Webster already know. I grew up on a farm, in a small town outside of Montreal. After University, where I studied history, I decided that I wanted a change in life and to live abroad. This brought me to Germany, where I learned German for a year, and at the end of that year I decided that I wanted to stay. That brought me to Austria, where I ventured into the education sector, and now I find myself working at Webster Vienna Private University!
It wasn’t a straight line. I studied history and worked at museums. Then, I shifted gears, and found myself teaching English to disadvantaged students in Berlin and ended up in Vienna working in the education sector. Originally, I was planning to go to Romania, but as the visa was hard to get, I opted for Germany.
- What ambitions did you have back when you graduated from University?
At the time, my primary ambition was to work in history museums and at some point to travel and move abroad.
- What role does the head of the Student Resource Center play at Webster?
The objective of the Student Resource Center is to put all of the student services we offer under one roof so they work seamlessly together, react to students’ needs, and collaborate better. Our main goal is to help students shape their Webster experience from day one up until, and even after, they graduate. We’re just at the beginning stages of consolidating the Student Resource Center, and soon we will be running like a well-oiled machine.
- Congratulations on winning the ‘’Gorlok Great’’ award this year, who would you say inspired you along the way to reach this achievement?
The nicest thing about being a Gorlok Great is that students and colleagues decided that it was worth the effort to nominate me for it. My inspiration comes from the students. I like being a part of the student experience. For instance, seeing students come in as freshman and witnessing them succeed throughout their years here, become more confident and eventually mentors to new students.
- Do you have any recommendations for students starting their first semester at Webster Vienna?
I have a ton! But if I had to boil it down, I would say give up a little bit of control to those things you normally feel you need to control in order to be comfortable. If you don’t get your PB&J just the way you like it, don’t get thrown off, there’s loads of cool stuff you might miss out on! Be more open to new opportunities and make friends with someone that speaks a different language.
- What is your favorite memory while working at Webster Vienna?
I’ve had a lot! If I had to pick one, I would go back in time to the first time I organized a Webster’s Got Talent back in 2015. It was the first time I was orchestrating such a big event for the Webster Community and I was nervous for our student performers, some of whom had never been on stage before.
The greatest moment was when the first contestant began to sing. It was a tough song with a lot of high and long notes. However, as soon as he began singing I was floored by the power of his voice. I was left speechless and so proud of the students who performed that night, making it a memorable night for me.
- Do you have any hidden talents?
I’m a decent free-throw shooter at basketball, I’m a pretty good whistler, and I’m the go-to guy on my trivia team when it comes to the First World War.