In high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I got involved in a lot of programs and extracurriculars, but during a course in business and marketing I found that I was really good at it and decided to apply to NYU. To be honest, when I applied I had Stern in mind, but I was admitted through Liberal Studies—but today I’m glad of this because I don’t think Stern would have been the right fit for me. Without the core curriculum I wouldn’t have experienced the Social and Cultural Foundations courses, which helped me determine what I wanted to do. In addition, my advisor really helped me find courses that would help me work towards my major and build towards a career that will make me happy to go to work every day.
During my first year at Liberal Studies, I did a Career X internship, where I learned about developing one’s own design thinking process and about consulting and how that works in the real world with non-profit programs. What are you going to do that’s going to create change? After doing a research portion in New York City, I traveled to Guatemala where I got to do field work in the tiny village of La Pista which did not have sustainable waste removal system. We noticed that residents made a popular sauce, called boxxbol, from which we proposed an entrepreneurial solution in which they would bottle and sell it in order to fund regular trash pickup. It’s one thing to go to another country and say, ‘I’m going to help people’ but I found that there was more benefit in working with the local leaders who were trying to help their own community—it’s important to work with the community rather than to come in with an external solution.
Next year I will transition into Gallatin to study marketing, public policy, and Africana studies: I realized I don’t want to be involved in the corporate/profit side of business, but rather research, development, and socially responsible business. And next spring I’ll be studying in Accra and doing an internship with an African media company.