SUNY Broome is delighted to announce that Maja Szostak has officially accepted the position of Director of Admissions. She has served as the Interim Director of Admissions since September 2019. As a non-native English speaker and first generation college student, Szostak is deeply passionate about SUNY Broome’s mission to provide an accessible, affordable, and quality collegiate education to the students of our local and global communities.
Maja Szostak immigrated to the United States from Kielce, Poland with her parents when she was fourteen years old. She arrived in Brooklyn, NY bound for high school, knowing no English. Szostak taught herself English by watching and re-watching episodes of the tv show “Gilmore Girls” and by listening to American music. Understandably, Szostak’s high school performance was far from stellar, but as she entered her senior year, she became hopeful about going to college.
“I was the first person in my family to go to college, so I had a limited understanding of the process. I made an appointment with my school counselor and by the end of the meeting, we decided that Niagara University was the right school for me,” Szostak reflected.
On her second day at Niagara University, Szostak, in need of a job, attended a work-study employment fair. As she wandered around the gymnasium, a woman approached her and asked if she would be interested in working with the University’s Admissions Office as a Student Ambassador. Szostak agreed.
Joining Niagara’s Admissions team was incredibly momentous for Szostak for several reasons. Professionally, it provided Maja Szostak with her first exposure to the worlds of higher education and enrollment management. Personally, she met her now husband, JJ Brice, in the Admissions Office, where he was working as a graduate student.
Szostak graduated from Niagara University with a degree in social work and began her career within social services with the foster care system. When her husband accepted a position at Binghamton University, the couple relocated to Broome County. Looking for a professional change, Szostak returned to her collegiate roots and began working as a Staff Assistant in the Admissions Office at SUNY Broome.
In September of 2019, Szostak agreed to assume the role of Interim Director of Admissions while the current Director, Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart, was on maternity leave. Szostak’s temporary appointment was only supposed to last for the four months of the maternity leave, but when Costanzo Stewart elected to step down from the position to spend more time with her family, Szostak offered to stay on to manage the day-to-day needs of the office.
Just as she was getting settled in her new role, the world was hit with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was such a crazy time. We were trying to manage the logistics of meeting our students’ needs, keeping our employees’ safe, and staying within the guidelines that were established by SUNY mandates. These mandates were changing daily, so there was just a huge amount of things to coordinate. We had about twenty-four hours to create a plan to transition all of our services to a remote format and to maintain open channels of communication with our students,” said Szostak.
With travel restrictions lifting and Covid-19 guidelines lessening, Szostak is genuinely excited to return to hosting and attending some of the traditional admissions activities. “I can’t wait to go to in-person college fairs again. I miss that interaction with students and their families. I am also really looking forward to welcoming groups to campus for presentations and tours. I feel like Covid-19 took away the hospitable portion of college admissions and I really miss it,” she said.
With the “interim” officially removed from her title, Szostak is ready to take a confident step forward with her team. “I am so appreciative for the support of my truly hard-working colleagues in the Admissions Office. I also am thankful to have some amazing faculty and staff from across campus to collaborate with as we work to admit, enroll, and retain our students.”
If you would like to connect with Maja Szostak and the Admissions Team to learn about SUNY Broome’s programs, complete an application, or visit the campus, please call 607-778-5001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org