student Spotlight

February’s Student Spotlight with Alejandra Villanueva (MPA '15)

February 15 Student Spotlight

As a graduate assistant, Hagedorn scholarship recipient, and handpicked representative at certain outside events, Alejandra is one of the most involved students at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs. We speak about her scholarship, her assistantship, and what she learned at the Private Women’s Hemispheric Network event.

Can you tell us what is was like becoming a Hagedorn Graduate Scholarship Recipient and how you believe it will benefit you?
Being notified that I was chosen as a Hagedorn Graduate Scholarship Recipient was a great honor. Being a part of the scholarship program has given me an increased sense of responsibility – I have always focused on school and classes, but being a recipient has definitely pushed me to focus more and excel. We contacted Mrs. Amy Hagedorn, to thank her for giving us the opportunity of receiving the scholarship, and we communicated about our aspirations, and how being a Hagedorn Scholar will help us with our goals. I have met a few other Hagedorn Scholars, and we all agree that this is a wonderful opportunity that has helped us with our studies.

What projects are you currently working on for your graduate assistantship? How do you believe its preparing you for what comes next in your education and career?
As a Graduate Assistant, my main focus has been on the Executive MPA Program. We currently have a very exciting project; we’ve developed an application specifically focused on providing news and information to the Executive MPA Alumni to ensure there is a connected alumni base. That’s where the app, the LinkedIn Group, and various other initiatives come in, creating a platform for alumni to feel connected to themselves and the program. It has been a new experience, and interesting to be a part of.

This has prepared me to begin creating innovative solutions and looking at issues through different points of views. I began at Baruch immediately after completing my undergraduate degree, and while I have had internships in the past, this Graduate Assistantship has taught me about the fast pace needed to work. But aside from this, I have dived in head first into many topics and ideas of economic development that I wasn’t aware of before, and this is information I can use in my future job. Overall, I have been very fortunate, because as a Graduate Assistant I have been able to work on various skills needed for my professional future.

You represented the School of Public Affairs at the Private Women’s Hemispheric Network event at the Council of Americas. What did that entail and what did you learn?
The Private Women’s Hemispheric Network event consisted of two parts: Networking and discussing the development of women. There were representatives from the private and public sectors, and various countries. During the panel discussion, the five speakers discussed their career trajectory, and the various obstacles they faced. The keynote speaker, Gillian Tett, the U.S. managing director of the Financial Times, expressed that the future is not just a straight ladder, but a curved path that will constantly change. For someone who is preparing herself to begin her career, knowing that changes in my career path are normal, necessary, and should be embraced was, honestly, a relief.
We also broke into smaller discussion groups, where we began the networking portion of the event, and discussed the importance of female leaders in current economic issues. There were women at distinct levels in their careers, but everyone had the similar underlying ideas of creating change in their respective fields, which was inspiring to see.