Bengal Tales – Neil O'Donnell

Neil O'Donnell, ’93Class Year: 1993
Degree: B.S. Anthropology

Current Occupation: Senior EOP Counselor, Buffalo State College

What is one of your fondest memories of Buffalo State?
Serving as a teaching assistant for the archaeological field school and ANT 100 under Dr. Bill Engelbrecht. Dr. E was a great mentor and teacher who encouraged us to explore the depths of Anthropology. The TA positions, in particular, showed me how much I loved teaching and mentoring others. Plus, exploring an Iroquoian village site, learning about individuals who lived from 500 to several thousand years ago, is just an absolutely amazing experience.

Were you involved with any on-campus organizations as a student?
I worked as an EOP tutor and Mentor for the Academic Resource Center (now called AEGIS). As an EOP student, I utilized the Academic Resource Center and was grateful for the chance to give back by tutoring others.

How did graduating from Buffalo State shape your future?
Buffalo State's EOP program gave me a chance to attend college while Buffalo State's Anthropology Department helped me learn to understand people and societies. Collectively, the two showed me my passion for helping others succeed and exploring their heritage. Lastly, my EOP counselor, Dr. Berkovitz, influenced me in ultimately choosing the path I am now on... being an EOP counselor.

What accomplishments have you achieved since graduating from Buffalo State?
I served as the curator of the Native American collections at the Buffalo History Museum as well as a lecturer for Buffalo State's Anthropology and Museum Studies programs. From there I moved on to be an academic & career counselor for Canisius' HEOP program as well as an adjunct professor for Canisius' Anthropology Program. Ultimately, I came home to Buffalo State to serve as a Senior EOP Counselor. I also have published several books, which has been a life-long goal of mine.

Do you have any advice for current students trying to achieve success after graduation?
Seek experience early in your college career. Just one internship your junior or senior year is not enough. Speak with professors in your major as a freshman and discuss skill sets that are important to have and find a way to get those skill sets. Additionally, utilize the Career Development Center beginning your freshman year. The staff there can assist you with career research, resume writing, and a wide array of other career-related issues through their incredible workshops.

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Originally posted: October 2016