10 Things to Know About Andrew Leahy
Meet the alum now helping students pursue their career goals.
When Andrew Leahy ‘05 moved into the Sem as a first-year student in 2001, he had no clue that his time at Stonehill would extend well beyond his four years of schooling. Now as the Director of the Career Development Center (CDC), he helps students navigate their career journeys.
“I have done a lot of growing up on this campus and as part of this community. One thing I have learned about myself while working here is that I am capable of more than I think,” he said. “Being capable does not mean I know everything. Instead, I interpret it as being able to think creatively, having the courage to try new things, and not getting discouraged if things do not work out as planned.”
As he continues growing and helping students do the same, here are 10 things to know about Andrew Leahy.
1. He was recently promoted. Leahy was named Director of the CDC in July 2021. Executive Director for Student Success Christina Burney, who previously held Leahy’s title, has been a great mentor to him during this transition. “She is someone who instilled in me the self-confidence I need to take on this role, and the ability to feel comfortable trying anything if we think it will help our students succeed,” he said.
2. He is invested in students’ well-being. “My staff and I are always strategizing new ways for students to access our services, ensure our services deliver what students need and want, and celebrate all their achievements,” Leahy said. “We sincerely care about the happiness and individuality of each one.” Suit-A-Skyhawk is one notable and unique way Leahy's team delivers for students. This program enables them to borrow professional attire for interviews and networking events.
3. His career has taken interesting turns. Leahy did not originally intend to pursue a career in higher education. As a student, he majored in biology and planned to become a science teacher. When he learned about an opportunity to become an admission counselor at Stonehill in 2005, he applied for the position and was offered the job. He later transitioned to the CDC in 2010.
4. He puts his degree to good use. Though he never became a science teacher, Leahy notes his biology background still comes in handy. “Science majors are very analytical and learn how to develop effective questions,” he said. “As a career advisor, I work with students to strategize ways to explore potential career paths or next steps, how to research those options, and confirm answers. My time in the lab made me comfortable developing those types of plans and learning to value mistakes.”
5. He wants students to stay open. Leahy regularly tells students to pursue job opportunities and other career experiences with an open mind. “Think about what you can learn from an opportunity,” he said. “You might be surprised at what organizations can offer and how you can grow in industries and roles you never considered.”
6. He knows how to multi-task. Leahy earned a Master of Education degree in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University in 2012. He completed this degree while working full-time. He spread his courses out over three years to allow himself some flexibility. He recommends that students pursuing graduate degrees seek out programs that fit their specific needs, interests and career goals. “There are many ways to get a graduate degree which can fit various lifestyles and time commitments,” he said.
7. He has been in students’ shoes. Leahy was no stranger to the CDC as a student. “My first resume was an absolute mess,” he said. “The career advisor I met with helped me represent my authentic self far better than I could do on my own at that time.” He hopes current students will lean on his team just as he did back in the day.
8. He builds confidence through resume writing. While most people dread putting together a resume, Leahy enjoys the process. He finds it particularly gratifying when a student walks away from a resume review session feeling more confident in themselves than they did before meeting with him. “Writing a resume is much more than the one-page document you end up with,” he said. “It is a self-reflection exercise where we coach students on how to identify the skills and strengths they exhibit in a wide range of activities.”
9. He had a brief brush with Tinseltown. Leahy appeared as a background performer in Shutter Island, the 2010 psychological thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He played a Nazi soldier in a sequence depicting the liberation of a concentration camp. “The experience was very interesting,” he said. “It was also sobering as the set looked very realistic.”
10. He is becoming bilingual. Leahy recently enrolled in a Portuguese language class to learn how to communicate better with his husband’s family in Brazil. The experience has given him a newfound respect for people learning English as a second language. “Learning a new language is intimidating,” he said. “It takes guts!”