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Alumnus Profile: NY AIDS Walk’s Star Elizabeth Nerich

Authored By: 
The Beekman School

Whether it’s seeking personal satisfaction, meeting like-minded people, enhancing our opportunities for professional advancement, or because of a personal connection, we get involved in philanthropic causes for different reasons.

“My Uncle Gary died from AIDS when I was 3 years old. My mom was always really open about how he passed away and answered any questions I had about it. I just felt a connection with GMHC and the NY AIDS Walk instantly,” remembers Beekman alumna and NY AIDS Walk volunteer and team captain, Elizabeth Nerich—a fearless, ambitious and kind-hearted young woman.

Ranking as 24th-highest individual fundraiser during the 2014 Annual New York AIDS Walk, getting into her first choice college, and working for one of America’s communications giants are no small feats!  To this day, Elizabeth acknowledges the support she received at The Beekman School to allow her to pursue her dreams.“Beekman is a really unique school. I’ve yet to meet another person who has had the same high school experience as I have. I think the community Beekman represents helped me build my confidence, mature faster and look at interests outside of just the usual curriculum,” she says. 

Elizabeth has been involved with NY AIDS Walk and GMHC—a leading HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and advocacy organization—since her time at Beekman. “The first year, I walked in the AIDS Walk with about five other Beekman peers. We used our time to get some community service hours and get to know each other outside of school. We celebrated with a lunch after and I was immediately hooked,” she recalls.

Her years at Beekman also mark the beginning of Elizabeth’s passion for writing and journalism when she launched the lifestyle blog The Ginger Gazette. Besides giving freedom to her love for writing, she admits that throughout high school the blog has provided her with the perfect platform for completing school projects for her web class—such as designing banners for her own blog.

After graduating from The Beekman School in 2009, Elizabeth was admitted to study Print and Online Journalism at Elon University —her dream school—where in her own words she spent the best four years of her life. “At first, they just didn’t realize I was their dream student. I applied early decision. I dealt with being deferred to regular admission, and then being waitlisted. I refused to take ‘no’ for an answer, though, and probably annoyed Admissions so much with all my letters that they finally threw their hands up in defeat and admitted me,” says Elizabeth, looking back. 

She also recognizes the role Beekman has played in getting her ready for college, not only academically, but also personally. “It helped me avoid the adjustment pains my fellow students at Elon had and get used to the college routine.” Her most memorable Beekman moment was her graduation day. She shares that, despite being sad to part from her peers and teachers, she’d been ready to go to college. “It just felt so natural to me,” she says. 

Elizabeth is currently a Client Service Manager at ADTECH (a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL), and, before that, she worked for Bloomberg LP in NYC.  One of the biggest challenges in her adult life has been finding her own professional niche. She admits that Beekman’s small size has allowed teachers and Beekman’s headmaster, George, to get to know her on an individual level and give her the personalized guidance she needed even later in life to be able to discover her unique place.

While a student, Elizabeth built meaningful relationships with both classmates and teachers. “It’s nice to stay in touch with people from high school, form a support group, and bounce off ideas.” She also fondly remembers that several of her professors even attended last year’s fundraising event that she organized.

This year, she's taken her involvement with the NY AIDS Walk to a different level. Elizabeth is coordinating a happy hour event on the top floor of Professor Thom's Bar in the East village and creating a personal fundraising goal of $10,000.

Her final piece of advice to fellow peers: “Don’t be afraid to show your passion…and don’t take ‘no’ as an answer.”