April 2020 Student Spotlight
April Student Spotlight with Soleil Griffin, BSPA ‘20
Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs student, Soleil Griffin tells us about her nonprofit, working in Albany as a New York State Assembly intern, and more in this month’s student spotlight.
Can you tell us about becoming a New York State Assembly intern and what your experience in Albany has been like?
Being an Assembly intern is not what I imagined. There’s a lot of jargon and a way to conduct yourself that’s different from any other “job”. You not only work for your elected official; but the constituents. The purpose of the job is to serve the people. When a constituent comes in with a housing complaint, I need to ensure that I listen more than speak. Everyday isn’t the same. Sometimes you have to go to meetings or hearings. You also have lobbyists advocating for different causes.
Why did you choose to come to the Marxe School and enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs program?
I didn’t choose to go to the Marxe school, I was pushed into it. Life becomes easier when you follow your heart and not your head. I always had an interest in advocacy. I even participated in an advocacy leadership group, Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, and ran for student government while attending Laguardia Community College. I was orginally an Industrial Organizational Psychology major. I really enjoyed what the psychology field had to offer. However, I wasn’t happy in the program. I felt like I should do more. I wanted to be able to serve people in a different way. Thus being apart of the BSPA program seemed fitting. It was also the best decision I made.
What do you aspire to do with your undergraduate degree?
After graduation, I plan on continuing to build my nonprofit organization Inspiring Change Within the Youth (ICWY). My nonprofit provides yoga classes, financial literacy and personal development workshops to junior high school students ages 12-14. I also provide free yoga classes to anyone within the community during the summer at a foundation called Thomas White Jr. Foundation. I have 2 online courses that I’m developing for the youth (ages 13-17) and adults on personal branding and financial management. These two courses will be featured online so that people can easily access it. I also plan on going to grad school to obtain a J.D. degree.
What are some of your favorite classes in the BSPA program?
My favorite courses in the BSPA program were qualitative studies of communities (3015) and nonprofit administration (3100). I enjoyed my qualitative course because I had the opportunity to delve in a topic that interested me. I chose to focus on how teachers promote student engagement in the classroom while following the common core standards. The class enabled me to see how far my writing has come. I enjoyed the peer reviews that were held during class and my Professor provided helpful feedback on every writing. I enjoyed my nonprofit administration course because it gave me the tools I need to better run my nonprofit. For instance, my favorite topics were fundraising, how to make your mission statement concise, and theory of change. Developing a theory of change made me focus on what I wanted the outcome of my nonprofit to be.