Marissa Hockfield, AB ’01, has not lost her enthusiasm for Washington University in the 15 years since graduation. Now living in San Francisco with her husband, Josh Steinfeld, AB ’01, Hockfield has interviewed prospective Washington University students for the Alumni and Parents Admission Program (APAP) since 2001. “I stay involved to stay connected. I had such a great time as a student, and volunteering keeps those wonderful memories from becoming too removed and distant,” Hockfield says. “I always mention this to students I interview: Here I am, 15 years out of college, and I still volunteer for Washington University. This shows how much I love and care about it, and I want to share it with other people.”
What was your first volunteer role with WashU?
I started volunteering with APAP in Chicago the same year I graduated. I was asked to attend interview days and interview prospective students. I loved meeting new students, sharing my experiences with them and encouraging them to choose WashU. In 2004, a chair position opened up, and now my APAP role is more administrative. As a chair, I serve as a facilitator between alumni and students, and I send interview assignments to the committee every year. Through my work with APAP, I have also served on the Alumni Board of Governors and the Regional Cabinets for Chicago and San Francisco.
Have you had opportunities to meet with Washington University parents?
Yes, parents often come with their students to interviews, and sometimes we have parent volunteers. One of my first experiences as a volunteer was an interview day at the high school my mom attended in the north Chicago suburbs. She was excited that I was going to be there on behalf of WashU. APAP volunteers invited her to come along and talk to parents, and she jumped at the chance. Some parents are nervous about the possibility of sending their student to a place they haven’t even seen, so it’s helpful to have WashU parents available to answer their questions and provide firsthand knowledge about the campus.
You celebrated your 15th Reunion last year. What was it like?
It was fantastic! I’ve been back to campus frequently, so all the changes weren’t as surprising to me. My husband, Josh, and I served as chairs on our executive reunion committee. It is always such a great feeling to be back on campus with your classmates, and we get that opportunity only during Reunion. What I have noticed about WashU is that so many alumni look forward to coming back to campus because they have such great memories. And when we come back, it’s like we all still belong and no time has passed.
What advice would you give to alumni who want to reconnect with Washington University but don’t know where to start?
All you have to do is express an interest, and the Washington University staff will help you from there. Josh and I moved to San Francisco a little over a year ago, and as soon as we let WashU know we were relocating, they helped us get connected with other alumni in the area. We’ve had such a smooth transition because of that. I definitely recommend getting involved with your local WU Club or volunteering with APAP — it is the easiest way to get started.
Laura Josehart is associate director of development communications in Alumni & Development Programs.