TARUNA SADHOO, 2003 QUEENS COLLEGE GRADUATE:
DETERMINED TO IMPROVE EDUCATION FOR WOMEN AND THE POOR
NEW YORK, May 16, 2003 -- Taruna Sadhoo, who wants to spend her career improving education for women and poor people here and abroad, already has impressive international experience.
The native of Guyana—who moved to Queens when she was three years old—has worked for Save the Children’s education program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and has taught English to elementary students in Shanghai, China, as a volunteer with a organization called Cross-Cultural Solutions. Thanks to a Steppingstone Fellowship, she will be in Boston the next two years, helping underprivileged fourth and fifth graders receive the extra help they need to be admitted to private and competitive public schools. Afterwards, she plans to get her master’s degree in education.
“There are so many disparities in the educational system,” says Sadhoo, who cites the exceptionally high drop-out rate for female students abroad.
The first member of her family to attend college, Flushing resident Sadhoo is former president of the Queens College SEEK Student Association. SEEK, which stands for “Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge,” is a state program that provides academic assistance, financial aid, small class size, advising and other special services for students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. At Queens College, more than 800 students are enrolled in the SEEK program.
Like many highly motivated SEEK graduates, Sadhoo is destined for a distinguished career. At the Queens College commencement on May 29, she will receive a B.A. in psychology, having made the National and college Dean’s Lists and membership in the Golden Key International Honor Society. In addition, she was chosen for the 100 Black Women Role Model Program, in which professional black women mentor undergraduates. With her major in psychology, Sadhoo was assigned role models in clinical psychology from Harlem Hospital and Columbia University’s School of Social Work.
Sadhoo is also the recipient of a Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship. This fellowship, awarded annually, funds summer internships for three consecutive years for 15 New York City undergraduates who demonstrate leadership, academic excellence, and a commitment to building a better society.
On her first assignment, she worked for the New York State Criminal Supreme Court, where she studied case records and prepared digests to assist judges. Although she had thought of becoming a lawyer, reading through the evidence of already badly damaged lives proved too distressing. “I would rather play a role in the initial, developmental stages of someone’s life—for example, as a teacher or mentor,” she observes.
Through the Watson fellowship, she also interned at the Institute of International Education in New York, where she assisted with the Lucent Global Summit, which brought international students to Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs to meet scientists and work in teams. Through her third Watson internship, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she analyzed and assessed education programs for “pastoralists,” people who pursue a nomadic life based on raising herds of livestock.
Staying open to new experiences is one of the keys to Sadhoo’s success. Some advice she gave herself? “Don’t just sit back and let opportunities pass you by.”
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), founded in 1937 and located on a 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens, enjoys a strong national reputation for the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs. Master’s degrees are offered in nearly 50 disciplines. Queens College was founded on the conviction that a high-quality education should be accessible to talented individuals from all backgrounds. Its 16,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak 66 languages—creating an extraordinarily diverse, and welcoming, educational environment. Students are taught by an award-winning faculty renowned for scholarship and dedicated to teaching. Many special programs are offered for honors students, students in pre-law, pre-med and business, adults and “fresh start” students; weekend learners; and students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.