Why Giving Matters
For generations there has been a college on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street providing opportunities for bright, deserving students to transform their lives and improve the world they live in. Over the years, that college has grown with the times to include state-of-the-art facilities throughout the neighborhood. Many of the students at Baruch College are the children of immigrants, the ﬁrst in their families to attend college. All of them are serious about their best hope for a better life through education. Baruch College is there for them, as it has been for decades.
A gift from you makes a huge impact on the lives of Baruch students. You can provide them with opportunities, scholarships, and a future that otherwise might be out of reach.
A Time for Transformation
From the time a student enters Baruch to the time she or he graduates can often be nothing short of a transformational experience. And like any exchange, it takes two—plentiful opportunities and the students who are open to seizing them. Meet five 2018 graduates, among countless others, whose Baruch experience has not only helped bring out the best they have to give but also to realize dreams they could have only imagined at the start.
After a senior-year internship at Bank of America, where he did compensation and analytical work, Jeffrey Acosta was offered a two-year rotational position in the company’s Human Resources department in Charlotte, North Carolina. It makes sense, since the English and Economics grad has been actively involved in recruiting all along at Baruch.
The Bronx-born Acosta came to Baruch as a member of the Percy E. Sutton Urban Male Leadership Academy (UMLA) Scholars Program, which provides financial assistance and additional encouragement during college through mentorship and leadership training for black and Latino male students. While at Baruch, he became an admissions ambassador for the student club Lexington League, to welcome and acclimate new Baruch students.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey experienced a shift in his academic interests. He discovered a passion for English and Economics, and after completing his Zicklin courses and doing internships in finance-industry research, he changed his major and minor. In 2016 he was a recipient of the China Cultural Exchange Scholarship, participating in an intensive program in Beijing, Nanjing, and Xi’an. Now, his career will bring all of these experiences together.
“So many things at Baruch took me out of my comfort zone,” he says. That also goes for taking on a new job in a new city with different responsibilities every day. But, adds Jeffrey, he’s learned that the new is where things begin to happen, and “that’s just what I like.”
Austin, Texas, is a long way from New York City, but Laura Martinez is pulling up stakes after graduation and joining the Austin team of Facebook as an account manager. Two internships with the social media company—one as a client solutions manager in New York and another at the Austin offices—led to the offer that Laura had dreamed about. “Some of these companies seem unattainable because they’re so far away. But the tech industry is gradually learning about Baruch, and I’m excited to be a part of that; I helped two more students get Facebook internships.”
Long journeys are second nature to Laura, who commuted more than four hours a day round-trip to Baruch classes from her Long Island home. But that didn’t stop her from jumping into college club life from her first year forward: ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America; Chair of Graphics and Advertising); Student Government (Senator and Arts Committee Vice Chair); Roteract; Lexicon (Director of Photography); and sitting on the Board of Directors for Baruch College Association. “I wanted to get the most I could out of college, since I was paying for it myself,” Laura says. “So I explored all the clubs.” She also did a creative brand design internship at NBC Universal Kids.
“Four years ago I had no idea how involved I was going to be and how much I’d care,” Laura says. “Baruch gave me all the options; I just needed to take the initiative.”
For Courtney Byrne-Mitchell, recently hired International Grants Manager for J.P. Morgan, Baruch’s accessibility has been a key to her success. Working full-time as Director of Visitor Services for New York’s Museum at Eldridge Street, she needed a path to continuing her education that would also accommodate her existing professional responsibilities. The Marxe School of Public and International Affairs made it possible, from its class times to its student body.
The Marxe School Master’s program gave Courtney the tangible skills— such as budgeting and fundraising—that she needed to pair with the theoretical knowledge she’d acquired as an undergrad at Brown University. “Passion will bring you far,” she says, “but whether it’s the for-profit or non-profit sector, you need people with those solid skills to keep an organization working well. I considered other Master’s programs, but what I loved about Baruch was capacity building. It took me to the next level,” she says.
Accessibility also came in the form of a study-abroad experience that was not a semester long but short-term, which few schools offer. At the University of DaNang, in Vietnam, Courtney represented Baruch in an immersive cultural exchange program involving classes and cultural excursions with members of the university and Vietnamese professionals. “We were connecting intellectually and academically with the culture,” she says. “And the duration of the program fit into my work schedule.”
And as she launches her new career, what Courtney knows is that she can count on are her fellow Baruch students, who were teachers as well as peers. “Not only now, but five to ten years down the road, we will be connected professionally. It’s a strong, amazing network!”
When the time came for Memta Melwani to go to college, she knew that it couldn’t be in her home country of Singapore. “It’s changing, but it’s a very rigid education system,” she says. And so she “pushed her way out”—coming to the U.S. on her own, working full-time to save funds in order to study finance, attending community college, and then heading to New York, where she hoped to get a job in finance and continue school. All plans to the contrary, she landed at a nonprofit, the Institute of International Education (IEE). While working at the organization, Memta met with IEE’s CEO, who advised her that Baruch’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs might be just the fit for her growing interests in the intersection of finance, policy, and humanitarian causes.
It was a smart choice, says Memta, who made the most of her Baruch years through key internships. This past semester, she performed research and policy analysis on women’s issues, specifically the bill introducing the sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights, for New York State Assembly member Aravella Simotas.
“At Baruch I got a lot of value, because the education was often from the same professors that taught at the top private universities in New York,” Metma says. “Professor Michael Feller has helped with every internship, and Professor Rob Walsh extended a hand to help with my latest fellowship, with the Department’s Neighborhood 360 Degrees program.” This involves outreach to community businesses in various areas of the city, and subsequent analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and development of ways to revitalize these commercial corridors.
And after the fellowship? Memta has done a 360 herself, from her early aspirations to work solely in finance. She has set her sites on improving cities on the local level, within the city administration. Meanwhile she is applying to be one of a small international number of Schwarzman Scholars, a global leadership program offering a Master’s Degree at Tsinghua University, in Beijing. Her scope encompasses the world.
“It was a life-changing experience,” says Michael Lomtevas of his study abroad through the Baruch – Berlin Exchange at the Berlin College of Economics and Law. “We studied European economic policy and social welfare systems. Coming from the U.S., with less robust systems, it was enlightening.” It also gave Michael the bug for international travel combined with academics. He will pursue a J.D. degree at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He also plans to apply to the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy & Practice, where he seeks to simultaneously complete a master’s degree in social policy and practice.
Michael, a Queens native, hit the ground running, as a member of Phi Eta Sigma—he served on the executive board, as Outreach Coordinator in 2015, and Vice President in 2016. One spring break he organized a group to paint houses in the Rockaways that were damaged by Superstorm Sandy. And knowing that commuting students often have a more difficult time connecting with one another, the club organized events in the College’s multipurpose room, holding ice cream socials and other events to get people together.
Gaining real-life legal experience has also been key to Michael’s Baruch education. With the help of Professor Elliot Axelrod, he applied and was accepted as a Max Berger Pre-law Fellow, and then paired with alumni mentor New York Supreme Court Justice (and former NYC Family Court Judge) Juan Merchan (’90). Merchan’s work, which involved problem-solving to avoid the mentally ill going to prison, was of such interest to Michael that it became the subject of his fellowship thesis. Next stop was an internship in the District Attorney’s Office, where, he says, exposure to criminal-law practice proved eye-opening.
“At Baruch I found what I was looking for,” says Lomtevas, “a curriculum that would get me to challenge myself, to see the other side of the coin, to always look forward.”