O'Hara is one of five siblings to graduate from Rider University.
As a student, O’Hara aspired to make a positive impact on the Rider community and accomplished this goal by serving in various leadership opportunities on campus. Her leadership roles include Student Government Association (SGA) student body president (2021-2022), vice president for University Affairs (2020-2021), vice president for Student Affairs Student Advisory Board, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society Cord Requirements chair (2020-2021) and president of Unified Sports (2019-2021). O’Hara also earned a certificate in leadership through Rider's Leadership Development Program and the 2022 President's Award.
O’Hara is the definition of an involved Bronc. In addition to her leadership roles, she worked as a tour guide and coordinator with Rider’s Office of Admissions, an Orientation leader, a content tutor in the Academic Success Center, a Relay for Life Recruitment and Recognition committee member, and a graphic designer for the Club Ice Hockey Team. She was also a member of the Leadership Development Program and played on Rider’s Women's Club Lacrosse Team.
While at Rider, she completed internships with the Olympus Corporation of the Americas, Susan G. Koman and Vanguard. Starting her first internship as a sophomore, O’Hara gained industry experience in areas ranging from graphic design, application development and digital and product marketing.
Support from fellow Broncs helped O’Hara create the path to her purpose.
As one of five siblings to attend Rider, Elizabeth O’Hara was no stranger to the University. However, before starting college, she struggled with the uncertainties of beginning a new chapter and questioned if her experience would differ from that of her siblings. Adding to it, at the last minute, she changed her major and decided to channel her passion for math and design into computer science and graphic design studies — areas she had little knowledge of. In retrospect, O’Hara believes that these shifts played a major role in her development.
“Everyone says that the best thing about Rider is the community that comes with it. What helped me navigate the uncertainty of freshman year was the people that I surrounded myself with. The relationships I invested in made the difference in my college experience and I am so thankful for each and every one of them for shaping me into who I am today.”
She credits faculty Dr. Md Liakat Ali, in the computer science program for helping to foster her confidence in an unfamiliar field, along with her club advisors, turned mentors, Barbara Perlman, director of Student Involvement, and Dianna Clauss, director of Recreation Programs, and classmate and former student body president Oliva Barone ‘19.
Once she found her footing, she took advantage of Rider resources to secure stellar opportunities.
While at Rider, O’Hara was highly involved. She actively participated and held leadership roles in several campus organizations and secured competitive internship opportunities that provided her with experience in each of her fields of study.
“I started my first internship in the spring semester of sophomore year, which speaks highly of Rider's preparation in the classroom. One of the reasons I chose to come to Rider was because you could hit the ground running in your major right away, which helps you explore your interests right from the start. I was prepared to take an internship so early on because of the guidance I received from faculty members and the soft skills I gained through participating in extracurriculars.”
O’Hara continues, “I received a lot of help from the Career Development and Success Center when it came to enhancing my resume and cover letter. My career advisor took the time to meet with me personally, discuss the impactful opportunities I've had at Rider, and then translate that onto paper for employers.”
The supportive and personalized environment at Rider contributes so heavily to your personal growth that you are prepared for any opportunity after graduation.”
Despite learning through a pandemic, she embraced resilience as a driver for success.
“I never would have imagined experiencing college through a pandemic, but that didn't stop me from working hard academically, gaining hands-on experience outside of the classroom through internships, and still giving back to my community through leadership. I learned that above all, persistence and positivity are necessary, and it is a holistic view of my Rider experience that has poised me to take the next challenges head-on.”
She credits Rider for giving her the tools to lead with confidence.
“Every opportunity I've had [at Rider] has refined a skill set that will help me meaningfully contribute to the world. Inside the classroom, I learned how to think critically and problem-solve. Leadership opportunities in clubs and organizations refined my soft skills, such as time management and teamwork, and taught me the importance of giving back to my community. Jobs and internships led me to discover my passion for developing accessible technology and guided me to pursue graduate education.”
Now, she’s attending a top graduate school on a full ride.
In fall 2022, O’Hara entered Villanova University on a full scholarship to pursue her master’s degree in software engineering. As part of her program, she anticipates working as a teacher or research assistant. In the summer before the start of graduate studies, she returned to Vanguard to complete an internship that aligned with her career goal of developing accessible technology.
"I want to develop software so no matter if someone has cognitive, motor or visual impairments, they can use the software and successfully navigate the web."
College of Arts and Sciences: School of Science, Technology and Mathematics
Rider’s School of Science, Technology and Mathematics is where innovation lives. Our programs emphasize analytical thinking, problem solving, effective communication, collaboration and diverse perspectives. Plus, our outstanding faculty bring their knowledge and experience to the classroom to help students reach their full potential.