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Nicole Osborne ’15

Nicole OsborneA Washington, DC-area native, Nicole Osborne ’15 fell in love with Atlanta when she visited to cheer on the Syracuse University men’s basketball team for the 2013 Final Four. “It seemed like a vibrant, growing city with a lot of history. At Syracuse, my research focus was housing and community revitalization, which I hoped to apply on the local level,” Osborne says.

A policy studies major, Osborne set a personal goal to work in Atlanta the following summer, which she accomplished after receiving the Mark & Pearl Clements Internship Award. That summer, she met policy studies alumna Miko Horn ’95, who connected her to Syracuse’s Alumni Club of Atlanta (SUACOA).

“I went to SUccess in the City and was excited to see so many SU alumni in the Atlanta area,” Osborne says. After graduating early in December 2014, she moved to the city and became active with the club immediately. She adds, “I was very involved on campus, so it was the most natural and familiar thing for me to do.”

A data associate at KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools, Osborne implements the region’s assessment and overall data strategies to improve college-ready instruction for more than 3,000 students. Less than 18 months since graduating, she already recognizes the influential role SU has had on her career. “My advisors, mentors, and professors helped me explore my interests, but more importantly, identify and develop the skills I could use to make an impact,” she says.

One such example is Osborne’s election to the board of directors for Inkululeko, a Syracuse-based nonprofit organization supporting township youth in South Africa. SU Abroad has partnered with Inkululeko to introduce students to post-apartheid socio-economic policy and social enterprises. “I’m very passionate about human rights—specifically education and housing policy—and Inkululeko provides after-school programs, resources, and support for learners to graduate high school and go to university,” Osborne says. “The work directly aligns to the mission of KIPP, only in a different country! This opportunity wouldn’t be possible without the hands-on study abroad experience I had with my professor, Timothy Eatman, and Jason Torreano, the founder and executive director of Inkululeko.”

On the local level, Osborne serves on the SUACOA leadership team and on the newly formed Generation Orange Leadership Council, which seeks to provide more engagement opportunities for young alumni. “I’m a strong proponent of all alumni being engaged at whatever level feels comfortable, and being active has more layers than philanthropic giving,” she says. “Joining the alumni club has provided a foundation for me as a young professional. I continue to interact with the whole spectrum of the SU community, from faculty and staff, to established alumni and admitted students—it’s pretty cool!”

Osborne encourages all alumni to take advantage of the resources and support services available through SU and the alumni association.

She has advice for the newest class of Syracuse graduates too. “Be bold in pursuit of your goals. I definitely encountered some rough patches, but they always passed,” she says. “If you’re persistent, hardworking, and enthusiastic, everything falls into place. And get in touch with your local alumni club! We’ll always be here to support you.”