Bittersweet Farewell…Sending Off One of Our Own
It was a brief introduction to what would become a huge part of Liz Zieniewicz’s college experience. As an incoming Marist College freshman, Zieniewicz received a letter in the mail advertising employment opportunities at The Marist Poll.
That was four years ago — a lifetime in the world of a college student. But, for Zieniewicz, it feels like it all happened in a flash marked by wonderful memories of her time at The Marist Poll.
Looking back, the 21-year old graduating senior recalls that she desired an on campus job but wasn’t quite sure The Marist Poll was the right fit of her. Despite her reservations, she took, what would turn out to be, a serendipitous chance.
“I wanted to get a job when I got onto campus. So, I said, ‘You might as well give it a try,’” Zieniewicz remembers. “I did the training. I like talking to people, and I think I thought it was going be a good opportunity.”
Once inside the phone room door, a MIPO staffer saw Liz’s talent and potential and nudged a reluctant Zieniewicz to apply for a supervisor position at the end of her freshman year.
“I was iffy about going for the supervisory position at first, ’cause, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do it or should do it,” Liz explains and goes on to say, “I’m not a political science major. I was like, ‘Why would they want a business major as a supervisor?’”
However, Zieniewicz soon discovered her chosen course of study was not a factor in the hiring process. She got the job. And, today, she credits that experience with helping her round out her professional and interpersonal skills.
“I think it’s made me more outgoing with having to talk to others and tell them…the pros and cons of what they are doing while they are in an interview and asking respondents questions,” she notes. “You can’t always be positive about things, but you have to be critical yet keep the positive intertwined with them.”
A determined Zieniewicz went even further at MIPO. She became Poll Assistant. In that role, which the senior says she “absolutely loved,” Zieniewicz got a more in-depth, behind the scenes look at the polling process. And, for her four years of faithful service, Zieniewicz has joined the ranks of Marist College students who have been awarded The Marist Poll’s highest honor — The MIPO Excellence Award. It is an honor she doesn’t take lightly.
“It obviously did mean a lot to me just because over the last four years….I’ve really put in a lot of time and effort and just to be recognized for that really means a lot especially since I was given this opportunity,” says a teary-eyed Zienewiecz, “And, to see that it’s all paid back…It’s given me a lot more. So, to even be recognized for having this position, it means a lot. I’m going to miss this place.”
And, The Marist Poll will miss her, too.
“Liz’s work ethic, determination, academic record, and her pleasant demeanor made her an exceptional role model and a pleasure to work with,” states Marist Poll Director Barbara Carvalho, “We are extremely grateful to Liz for her service and know she has the talent and ability to be successful in her future endeavors.”
So, just what is next for Zieniewicz? The Seaford native will return to her Long Island roots and put her degree in Business Administration to good use. After a brief, six week respite, Zieniewicz will begin a training program with Target Corporation. Once up to speed, she will then take custody of a Target store in Suffolk County as its manager.
But no matter, where life takes Zieniewicz, she will always have fond memories of her years at The Marist Poll and will hold dear her most memorable interview.
“Going into my first interview, I was so nervous…At the end of the first survey, I remember this, [the respondent] was like, ‘How long have you been doing this?’ And, I was like, ‘Actually this is my first night,’ and he said, ‘Well, I just want to say that you did an awesome job,” an exuberant Zieniewicz recounts, “I was like, ‘Wow!’ That made me feel so good especially since it was my first one.”
Now that Zieniewicz has made her last call as a student employee at MIPO, she has some parting advice for any student interested in joining The Marist Poll team.
“Keep an open mind. Don’t let anyone get you down…Just keep up with it,” she says.
And, what about for the incoming class of 2013?
“Enjoy it. It will fly by,” Zieniewicz states wistfully, “I know. Everyone says that, but enjoy every single minute of it.”