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Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Helps BU Alum Looking for a Job

TV host makes on-air plea on behalf of Adam Engel (CAS’12)


Conventional wisdom holds that the key to finding a job is who you know. So it stands to reason that if you happen to meet Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show and he mentions your job hunt on air to two million viewers, that hunt just got easier. That’s what Adam Even Engel is hoping.

So just how did Engel (CAS’12) enlist the help of the Emmy-winning Comedy Central show host in his quest?

Over the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday weekend, Framingham, Mass., native Engel visited friends in New York City and scored free tickets, advertised on Twitter, to the Monday Daily Show taping. Having attended a previous taping, Engel knew that Stewart spends a few minutes taking questions from the 200-person audience before a show is taped. Engel prepared a question he wanted to ask in advance in the hope he’d be the first person to get Stewart’s attention.

“During the Q&A, I told him I was a recent college grad and asked how to get my Jewish mother off my back about getting a job,” says Engel. “Stewart laughed, and he immediately shot back, asking what my mother’s religion or gender has to do with it. He was kidding, and went on to ask me what I majored in and where I went to school, and when I told him, he said, ‘BU is a really good school.’”

Adam Engel, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Adam Even Engel (CAS’12) took a self-portrait on the set of The Daily Show. Photo courtesy of Engel

Since graduating in May 2012 with a degree in chemistry, Engel has worked at several part-time jobs, including substitute teaching, running an a cappella workshop at an elementary school in Arlington, Mass., and teaching music in Nicaragua, but hasn’t had much luck landing a full-time position. Influenced by Binyomin Abrams, a College of Arts & Sciences senior lecturer in chemistry, his long-term goal is to teach high school chemistry.

Currently in the process of applying to graduate schools, Engel estimates he’s applied for dozens of positions across the country in a variety of fields—chemistry, computer science (his minor at BU), music. “It’s been really frustrating, receiving rejections from some places or having my applications ignored,” he says.

Stewart told Engel he had studied chemistry himself during his first two years of college before switching to psychology. “He said he changed because in chemistry they want the right answer, but in psychology they just want an answer,” Engel says. “Stewart then asked me why I haven’t found a job teaching chemistry yet, saying he was sure there were people looking for a young teacher who’s passionate. Normally his responses to these questions are really short, but we had a dialogue going.”

Soon after the show’s taping got under way, Stewart made a plea on his behalf in front of millions of viewers, catching Engel by surprise.

“If your school is currently looking for a chemistry teacher, I want you to call us,” Stewart said to the camera, as he opened Monday night’s show. “I got a guy over here, Boston University, seems smart—could have shaved. He’s a chemistry major, he’s looking for a job teaching chemistry…so if you need a chemistry teacher, contact us, and I will finally get this [expletive] kid out of his parents’ house. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Stewart didn’t mention Engel’s name nor did the camera show his face, but during a break in the show, a show producer asked him for his name and phone number in case someone called with a job lead.

Engel says his brush with fame has encouraged him to keep chugging away at his applications for both jobs and graduate school. “Now I have another reason—all of these viewers on my case,” he says, adding that he is forever indebted to Stewart. “I had no idea he would do that.”

See the full Daily Show episode here. The clip appears at the beginning of the show.

Amy Laskowski

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

6 Comments on Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Helps BU Alum Looking for a Job

  • Chris on 01.24.2014 at 5:32 am


    In general, no one hires people with a BS is Chem to teach Chem. Your best bet is to get a teaching certificate which will require some (probably a lot) more classes. To teach chemistry in middle school or high school you need an education degree, and to teach it in college you need a PhD.

  • Sarah G. on 01.24.2014 at 9:06 am

    I adore Jon Stewart. This is amazing–best of luck, Adam!

  • Jed on 01.24.2014 at 9:22 am

    If you aren’t keen on the traditional Ed.M. grad path to gain certification, I recommend alternate certification, charter school opportunities, and prep school teaching. STEM subjects are in high demand, you should be able to hit on some good opportunities. Use a teacher placement agency to increase your chances of a match. Carney Sandoe & Associates comes to mind and is based right here in Boston. http://www.carneysandoe.com/

  • Summer Lawson on 01.24.2014 at 9:24 am

    Does he have a teaching license?

  • Ermy on 01.24.2014 at 4:16 pm

    I agree with everyone’s comments. Engel would be more marketable to schools if he received a teaching certificate. I know some districts will hire you for six months until you take the license or teaching exam; if you pass, then they will let you work their while you get your MEd. Plus, there are lots of scholarships and grants for those who want to teach math or science.

  • Joseph on 01.24.2014 at 10:00 pm

    Usually when you have a graduate who hasn’t been able to find a decent job two years after graduation, it shouldn’t be put on the front page of the University’s newspaper. Food for thought.

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