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On the Road: New York City

Meet some of Charleston Southern’s alumni who are living and working in New York City. CSU Magazine asked several alumni to tell us their favorite places to visit and eat in New York City and some favorite things about their neighborhoods. Read on to learn more about CSU alums living in the Big Apple and discover some things to do if you take a trip to NYC.

Katie Crona ’07

For the last eight years, I have worked in the field of corporate recruiting which started out at Blackbaud in Charleston, S.C., and has taken me to Washington D.C., and, now, New York City.  For me, HR and recruiting seemed like a solid fit for my interests and skills set when I was taking business management electives at CSU and enrolled in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior.  I loved reading company case studies and how different companies attracted, developed and retained employees.  I have been living in New York City for the last four years and for the last year have been working at Facebook as a University Recruiter.  One day never really looks like another, but at a 10,000 foot level, I am responsible for managing Facebook’s relationships with a handful of the top computer science programs at various universities in the U.S.  I attend career fairs and hackathons, host technical interview workshops, and organize other events focused on hiring the best new grad and intern software engineers for Facebook!  I feel extremely blessed every single day that I walk into work and am grateful to have the opportunity to work for such an amazing company.

Katie’s NYC Favorites

  • Favorite Museum: The NY Transit museum. It’s easy to pass over this, but it is incredible to see the evolution of the subway and mass transit!
  • Best Place for a Meal: Being in NYC spoils you because there are so many amazing restaurants hailing from all over the world.  I am dying to go back to Hearth to try their tasting menu.  Their entire dining experience there is incredible!
  • Best Place for Dessert: Momofuku Milk Bar’s birthday cake or Magnolia Bakery banana pudding.  Both must haves if you’re visiting!!
  • Favorite Free Activity:  Running in Central Park –the outer loop is about 10K, but there are so many trails and other areas to explore that no two runs ever have to be the same!  Also, there is something magical about walking over the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time (starting from the Brooklyn side), cresting the top and seeing the entire financial district in front of you.
  • Favorite Thing about Your Neighborhood:  I live in the East Village and love the diversity of the neighborhood. There are amazing restaurants and cafes, parks, and I have easy access to the East River path which offers amazing views of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island City.
  • Favorite NYC Landmark/Tourist Attraction:  Broadway/ off Broadway show.  I have seen so many amazing marquee shows as well as rolled the dice and seen shows I have never heard of and have never been disappointed!

Photos provided

Katie Crona connected with her former coach, Eric Terrill, at the athletic Hall of Fame dinner in 2015.

Katie Crona reacts when she spots her dad and boyfriend around mile 18 in the 2016 NYC Marathon.


Elias Hightower ’11

I have been living in New York for a little over five years and am professionally (9-5) working within the strategic HR field. For a little over the past four years I have been working at Spotify to build the presence of HR, supporting the Americas. This has been a great opportunity to travel all over the US/globe and really dig deep into what truly makes companies successful from an organizational, operational and strategic standpoint. It has definitely grown to be a passion in life. Also, as most people who live in NY find themselves working in several projects, I also have a fashion/lifestyle (which has always been something that I’ve been interested in) blog (themiseducationoffashion@) in connection with a line of men’s grooming products and accessories that I am in the process of launching. I found my start in the field of HR through my time in the U.S. Army National Guard and then shifting back into this field after moving to New York and completing my MS in HR management. This is truly a city of connections and networking. I would not have been afforded any of the opportunities that I have been blessed to obtain thus far without faith and a firm initiative to meet people who share similar interests as I do.

Elias’s NYC Favorites

  • Favorite Museum: American Museum of Natural History
  • Best Place for a Meal: Lido or Cecil (located in Harlem)
  • Best Place for Dessert: Levain Bakery
  • Favorite Free Activity: Going to any park in the city on a beautiful day. There is always something to do (free concert series and activities throughout the year).
  • Favorite Thing about Your Neighborhood: The huge amount of culture and history here is beyond words. Harlem is truly a melting pot with people of many different backgrounds from all over and interesting views on life and the meaning of it.
  • Favorite NYC Landmark/Tourist Attraction: The Apollo – as it still holds a lot of great events at the venue (concerts, charity events, community events, plays) – you never know who you will see just strolling by.

Photos provided

Elias Hightower shows off his fashion sense.

Elias Hightower, on left, at work at Spotify.


Chantal Maurice ’11

I’m an actress currently living in Harlem. I majored in communication and theatre at CSU. I was lucky enough to train with Professor Keating. He was one of the best things that happened to me while at CSU, aside from pledging Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. I’ve been on several television shows: “Blue Bloods,” “Mr. Robot,” “Quantico,” “Younger,” “Born Again Virgin,” “Limitless,” and I’ll make a brief appearance on a new Netflix show that I can’t talk about yet.

I recently wrote and produced my own short film biopic called “Edge of Harmony” which follows the life of a jazz singer in the 1930s named Harmony Bessler. Check out www.HarmonyBessler.com for more information.

Chantal’s NYC Favorites

  • Favorite Museum: The Studio Museum in Harlem. It’s dedicated to promoting the work of artists of African descent.
  • Best Place for a Meal: Burger and Lobster located on 19th Street. They only have three things on the menu, burger meal, lobster meal or lobster roll meal. That’s all you need. They have the best lobster I’ve ever had, and each meal is ONLY $20!
  • Best Place for Dessert: Make My Cake on 116th Street
  • Favorite Free Activity: Afropolitan. Afropolitan fuses networking, cultural showcase, business spotlight, food, music and dance into a unique 5-hour cultural, inspirational and entertaining experience. It’s one of the most diverse and inclusive experiences with representations from most African and Caribbean nationalities.
  • Favorite Thing about Your Neighborhood: The Street Vendors on 125th Street. You can purchase anything from custom made clothing, to handcrafted sculptures.
  • Favorite NYC Landmark/Tourist Attraction: The Apollo

Photos provided

Chantal Maurice as Harmony Bessler in “Edge of Harmony.”

Chantal Maurice

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The next city we are visiting on our road trip will be Seattle. If you are a BCC/CSU alumnus living and working in the Seattle area, let us know at magazine@csuniv.edu.

CSU Magazine is the official publication for alumni and friends of Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina. For more information about the university, visit us online at CharlestonSouthern.edu.