Welcome to the High Five, where we feature career successes of Columbia students. 

Name: Jake Fedorowski
Home Town: Lake Elmo, Minnesota
Major: Theatre

Chances are, you have either met Jake or seen him around campus. He is a senior at Columbia with a packed class schedule, an on-campus job, and his own photography business. Oh, and did we mention he has booked two large-scale productions in the Theatre Department this semester? 

This past spring, he completed an internship with the BoHo Theatre where he worked as the assistant stage manager for Eurydice. And this summer, he helped to close Lysistrata at The Side Project Theatre Company, and stage managed Stalker: the Musical, a new show at the Chicago Music Theatre Festival.

We asked Jake five questions about his career path and goals. Here’s what he said:  

1. What is your dream job after graduation?

Working in an equity house as the production stage manager on a large musical. I would love to live in New York and work on Broadway, but I also want to experience regional theatre and opera around the country.

2. You have an extensive resume, including jobs on and off campus—how have you been able to juggle work with school?

Being that organization of schedules is in my job description, I don’t have too much trouble balancing work, school, and productions. I was recently juggling three jobs and decided to bring that down to one because it was too exhausting. I think the trick to it is to not fall behind. I am always getting assignments done when I have free time so that it doesn’t pile up at the end.

3. Have you found any major differences between your jobs on campus and off campus?

I have loved working on-campus. I love having flexibility with my schedule, and my supervisors understand that learning and being a student comes first, then work. I’m currently working in the College Advising Office and I don’t think any job could beat the healthy, supportive and loving atmosphere around me.

There’s a large difference when working off-campus because most part-time jobs are for large corporations. I’ve worked for Starbucks and Target, both of which were great, but you feel less like an individual and more like a tiny ant in the multitude of workers. On-campus jobs encourage individuality and take care of you, not only as an employee but as a student and human being.

4. What advice do you have for students who want to work while they are in school?

Get a job that is going to benefit you in the long run. Don’t just settle for a random part-time gig because you need the money. Search for something that is going to fit your personality and provide you with valuable skills or connections for you to take away from it.

5. Do you have a mentor at Columbia?

My biggest mentor here at Columbia is my stage management professor, Nykol DeDreu. Her motivation, intelligence, problem-solving skills, warm-heartedness, and optimism are just some of her many attributes that I strive to personify. Her knowledge of the industry and support for young professionals is astonishing. I am incredibly lucky to be studying and working with her.

And just for fun. What would a perfect day off look like? (If you ever get one of those).

My perfect day off starts with a run to Starbucks because let’s be honest, no one takes a day off from coffee. I would continue the day with a trip to the beach, complete with reading, a little swim, and a long nap. Next, I would take a trip to Blaze Pizza for dinner and  top off the evening with a hit production in the Chicago Theatre scene.

Jake’s on-campus employment experience is one that we hope all Columbia student employees share. If you want to work on-campus, join us at the On-campus Job Fair on September 15 or visit ColumbiaWorks-powered by Handshake to search for and apply to available opportunities.

The Career Center wants to share your career successes on the High Five. Share your story here: