Dominick Harasimiuk: Eager to begin career in finance and technology
One of the biggest benefits of attending the University of Rochester for Dominick Harasimiuk ’21 has been the opportunity to meet so many interesting, supportive, and caring people.
Inspiring alumni mentors have provided him with valuable career and networking advice. Further networking on his own initiative led to formative internships with three companies.
Faculty members have broadened Harasimiuk’s understanding of both of the majors he is completing--computer science and financial economics.
He also has interacted with some very bright students, many of whom are from abroad.
“I think my first week here I met students from 14 different countries, which I thought was pretty awesome. You can’t understate how valuable that is,” says Harasimiuk.
Harasimiuk was born in Fort Worth, TX, and grew up in the same area. His father is a software engineer, and his mother is a usability analyst who tests whether software products have intuitive design.
“My parents emigrated from Poland after they finished college,” Harasimiuk says. “They have always pushed me to do my best and I think this is in part because they knew they had to work hard to make a new life in the United States.
“They always put me and my brothers first. They invested in our educations and have supported us in a variety of extracurricular activities.”
At Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth, where he graduated as class valedictorian, Harasimiuk enjoyed math, natural sciences, and especially nuclear physics.
He applied to colleges that had either particle accelerators or fusion labs with the intention of studying physics and becoming a nuclear engineer. The University of Rochester, with its fusion capabilities at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), was high on his list.
“When I visited, I fell in love with the campus and the focus on research,” he says. In addition, a Bausch and Lomb Honorary Science Award from the University and the opportunity to go out of state to a place quite different from Texas, made Rochester a great option, he says.
Deciding on a double major
But his choice of major changed. His father recommended that he try some computer science classes. “I liked them so much that I dropped physics and took up computer science,” Harasimiuk says. Towards the end of high school, he also developed an interest in personal finance so he could be more independent while away from home. “I also knew that along with a STEM degree, I wanted to develop some business skills, so that motivated me to add the Financial Economics major.”
The University’s Department of Computer Science has experienced a surge in students who pursue double majors in computer science and various business degrees. Thirty-one students are currently doing so.
“My favorite part about computer science is that it gives you a skill set that can be widely applied for working with companies in pure tech, finance, healthcare, energy, and other fields,” Harasimiuk says. “There’s are also a wide variety of research topics within the discipline and the job market is pretty good.”
In addition, Harasimiuk says he has long been interested in applying his technical skills to developing new products or services for end users. “So, I knew I needed to get an understanding of business and how markets work to do this,” he says. “To this end, I picked financial economics to get a broad exposure to economics, with a focus on financial markets.”
Fully involved on campus
While at the University, Harasimiuk says, he has “tried just about everything it has to offer.” He became engaged in research his first year. He’s been involved in more than a dozen clubs and student activities, ranging from the No Jackets Required music performance group to the Slavic Club and undergraduate councils in computer science, math, chemistry, philosophy, and financial economics.
He has especially enjoyed being a teaching assistant. “I love interacting with the underclassmen and helping them succeed in understanding fundamental material like Data Structures for computer science or microeconomics for the economics students,” Harasimiuk says. “I’ve made a lot of friends this way and it’s been a good way for me to give back from a mentorship perspective as well.”
Participation in the Quantitative Finance Club has similarly allowed him to share knowledge he has gained working in the quant finance subset of financial services.
That includes knowledge he gained during three internships—at Borrowworks and Depository Trust and Clearing Corp., both in Dallas-Fort Worth, and most recently at Virtu Financial in New York City. The internships have been an important part in helping Harasimiuk validate and refine his interest in working at the intersection of technology and finance.
At Borrowworks, for example, CEO Ben Gatzke and two of the technology specialists that Harasimiuk worked with--Geoff Tran and Anthony Delmonico--“gave me a lot of engaging projects,” he says. “They were super invested in giving me a chance to prove myself.”
Gatzke, especially, went “above and beyond” to include Harasimiuk in a sales meeting with an important client and other activities. “He gave me as much exposure to the business world as he could. And that was super formative for me,” he says.
‘Phenomenal care’ after accident
Last fall, Harasimiuk was riding his motorcycle to deliver his mail-in ballot. It was a cold day, in the mid 30s--colder than he was used to riding the motorcycle in Texas. As he took the turn on Elmwood and Kendrick near the University’s Medical Center, his bike lost traction.
When the motorcycle slid out from under him, Harasimiuk slid across the road and into a curb.
His busy involvement in classes and other camps activities came to an abrupt halt. Harasimiuk spent five days in the Kessler Burn &Trauma intensive care unit at Strong Memorial Hospital.
“I had heard a lot about Strong, mainly about the student research there,” Harasimiuk says. But being a patient there opened his eyes to “the phenomenal quality of care they offer,” he says.
Five Acute Care nurses-- Karla, Gina, Brandon, Scott, and Carol --took care of him around the clock for five days. “These people do a really amazing job,” Harasimiuk says. “Anytime I needed something they were there to help. Their presence and care gave me a much more positive attitude about being able to recover from this.”
His gratitude extends to the entire University healthcare staff for working hard to contain the spread of COVID-19, enabling students to return to the campus last fall for a mix of hybrid and in-person instruction.
Two special mentors
Harasimiuk is also grateful to the University alumni he has had a chance to interact with.
Two alumni mentors in particular-- University trustee and benefactor Gwen Greene ’65 and Raymond Hanson ’94 of Credit Suisse --have especially influenced Harasimiuk, both from a professional and personal standpoint.
Harasimiuk met Greene during his freshman year, and again on a New York City networking “road trip” for students interested in financial services. The event was sponsored by the University career center named in Greene’s honor. Harasimiuk has remained in contact with her ever since.
Greene is “not afraid to tell you how it is,” Harasimiuk says. “She won’t sugar coat anything. She really cares about you and wants what’s best for you. So, whenever she’s talking to you, you know that you’re getting genuine feedback and that she’s really invested in your professional development.”
Her best advice, he adds, was urging him to engage in networking, which Harasimiuk had never given much thought to. By following her advice, Harasimiuk was able to land three formative internships. He also approached the Greene Center for Career Education and Connections about talking to someone with experience in technology and financial services. The center connected him with Hanson, a managing director at Credit Suisse.
“Ray’s experience makes him exceptionally good at looking at situations in a levelheaded way, which has been incredibly helpful,” Harasimiuk says. “Especially during the past year when I’ve had to make several important decisions. Do I accept an offer to work at Virtu Financial? Do I pursue further education? And what should I do when the time comes to settle up and make a decision on where my career is going to take me?”
Back to Texas, job in hand
Harasimiuk is now looking forward to working for Virtu Financial at their office in Austin, TX., after he graduates. “I really enjoyed the work I did as well as the culture of the company,” he says.
“If I do return to get a higher degree, I would probably return for a PhD in computer science unless I fall in love with some other science,” he adds. “This all depends on how my career goes – I’d rather try to do as much as I can building useful things with the education I have now.”
His long-term goal is to start his own fintech company. “I’ve always admired entrepreneurs who are able to provide products and services that make people’s lives better and I hope to be able to do the same,” Harasimiuk says. For example, he’s currently working on a startup aimed at helping people locate used furniture left on the side of the road. “That seems to be a big way people get their furniture in large cities with high turnover, like New York City,” he says.
He’s looking forward to working in Austin in part because of its great music scene. “I’ve been playing electric guitar for about 12 years and might try to join a hard rock band once I move down there,” Harasimiuk says.
Due to his accident, he’s taking a break from motorcycling “for the time being,” he adds. But eventually he’ll get back to doing that as well.
“I’ve always wanted to take a cross country road trip on a motorcycle and ride along Highway 1 on the West Coast,” he says.