Esaline Jarvis (’16) and Jahziel James (’16): Mother and daughter are both pursuing their bachelor’s degrees and working for Undergraduate Admissions in the College’s Welcome Center. Photo by Mayreni Polanco.

Sometimes a Baruch education is a family affair, with siblings, husbands and wives, and parents, grandparents, and children all members of the alumni community. But co-attending generations are rare. Even so, mother Esaline Jarvis (’16) and daughter Jahziel James (’16) are extraordinary in their own right. Both help Baruch College’s Welcome Center accomplish its goals in style.

Before coming to Baruch, Jarvis was featured on the cover of the New York Times Magazine article “The Other Mothers of Manhattan” (15 July 2012).

A Mother’s Story Born and educated in Saint Vincent in the West Indies, Esaline immigrated to New York City in 2001, seeking to further her education and attain a better life for herself and Jahziel. Once in the U.S., Esaline discovered that her bachelor’s degree in management studies from the University of the West Indies “didn’t open the right doors.” To make ends meet, she took work as a nanny. (In fact, Esaline was something of a “celebrity nanny,” featured on a 2012 cover of The New York Times Magazine [right] for the article “The Other Mothers of Manhattan: Exploring the Bond Between Nannies and the Children They Care For.”) Esaline entered Baruch in Fall 2012 as a full-time student. “I made a lot of sacrifices for Jahziel,” she states simply. “That’s why I’m still earning my Baruch degree.” Why Baruch? Two of Esaline’s friends are alumni, and the College’s reputation for excellence and affordability attracted her: “It’s a public college; it’s good for my pocket,” says the finance major. Affordability is even more important for her: as a second-degree student, Esaline must self-finance. “Every year I have to take a loan,” she says. “It’s hard to work and study full time.” But these challenges don’t prevent her from engaging with the College fully. Esaline holds herself to very high standards: her goals include earning a 3.5 GPA and honing her skills as an effective communicator and problem solver. Poised, polite, and professional, Esaline has seniority among the Welcome Center student staffers. Soft-spoken, she manages with a light but firm touch, her goal to be a positive influence and support to her peers. Core to her approach is a belief in the human touch. “Students form connections to individuals,” she says. It’s obvious why the center students adore her. “I Was Recruited to Baruch by My Very Own Mother!” Of course, Esaline’s biggest fan among the Welcome Center staffers is her daughter, Jahziel. The 20-year-old transferred from CUNY’s Medgar Evers College because she wanted to be a part of a campus with “a driving energy, an energy to make me succeed.” Jahziel, an English major interested in writing and teaching, laughs, “I was recruited to Baruch by my very own mother!” Jazhiel was also recruited by the Welcome Center. Says Kristin Pedicone, the center’s assistant director and student manager, “We targeted Jahziel. Sometimes you can just tell immediately.”

Says Kristin Pedicone, Welcome Center assistant director, “People are amazed when they learn about their relationship.” Photo by Mayreni Polanco.

Pedicone (right) sets very high standards for the Welcome Center’s team, calling center students “the cream of the crop.” And they have to be. The center—part of the College’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions—assists approximately 4,000 people per year, many walk-ins. Accessible and friendly, Welcome Center staffers answer questions across the board with the motto “Helpfulness is Job #1.” These days Jahziel can be found at the front desk, even though her favorite Welcome Center assignment is giving campus tours. “I love seeing how happy prospective students get when they see one facility or the other—the library, computer lab, Athletics and Recreation Complex—something that they want and that exceeds their expectations.” The affection between mother and daughter is not openly displayed during Welcome Center hours: Jahziel, a self-proclaimed “momma’s girl,” calls her mother “Esaline” at the center. But their deep connection and shared aspirations inform the caring atmosphere of the high-functioning team. Says David Keller, an Undergraduate Admissions Office colleague, “This filial duo regularly succeeds in making our figurative work family quite literal indeed.” —Diane Harrigan Related Story A Pitch-Perfect Connection [box sid=”box-1422294658″]About the Welcome Center The mission of Baruch’s Undergraduate Admissions Welcome Center is to serve the needs of the College’s entire prospective student population. At the center, aspiring Baruchians receive walk-in advisement on application procedures, admission requirements, academic programs, and student clubs and organizations from both a professional counseling staff and a team of specially trained student ambassadors known as the Lexington League. Members of the league, an officially sanctioned College club, also serve as campus tour guides for preregistered prospective freshman and transfer applicants. Tours depart from the center most weekdays.[box]

Leave a Reply