December 2018 Student Spotlight
December Student Spotlight with Gohar Chichian MPA ‘19
The Marxe School is known for its delivery of opportunity for students that go far beyond the lecture hall. We speak to Gohar about the opportunities the School has afforded her, her Huffington Post article on a topic she is passionate about — immigration, and her role at Literacy Partners.
Your piece in The Huffington Post on your family’s experience as immigrants was a great read. If you could write a follow-up either from a familial, personal, or political perspective, what would it be about?
Immigration is a hot topic in the current political climate. Based on my family background and work at Literacy Partners, I’d love to write a piece about the current crisis on family deportations. A parent is a child’s first teacher – without them, children are subjected to long-term psychological trauma, development delays, and fall behind with education. Families should not be torn apart for the sake of politics. This is no longer a political issue, but a human one.
Tell us about receiving the Consolidated Edison MPA Scholarship. What was the process like? How has it helped you personally and academically?
Baruch made the application process very easy and straightforward. As a first-generation college student and the first of my family to pursue a Master’s degree, I am extremely grateful to receive this scholarship. The scholarship has helped me fulfill my academic interests and professional goals. Since I became an MPA student in January 2016, I have gained an intellectual home, a supportive network of friends and peers, and the opportunity to help others in turn through the MPA Club and as a Marxe ambassador – something I could not do without this financial support.
What do you do as president of the MPA Club? How can people get involved?
We serve as a resource for Marxe and MPA students by providing social and professional networking opportunities, career panels, volunteer service days, and a variety of events. We serve the Marxe student body by giving them opportunities outside of the classroom to connect with their peers and alumni, discuss their passions and current events, and give back to the community. Some of our most popular events are our volunteer service days – we’ve worked with New York Cares and Partnership for Parks in the past year. We also partner internally with other Baruch members, including HEA Club, Grad Pride, Pi Alpha Alpha, and Career Services.
MPA students can get involved by following us on Facebook or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org – everyone is welcome to attend any of our events. We’re always looking for new members and ideas on how to provide engaging events!
Can you talk a bit about your position as Senior Manager for Development & Communications at Literacy Partners? What are some initiatives you’ve worked on and how did they turn out?
At Literacy Partners, we provide free English and high school equivalency classes, as well as a home library, for immigrant parents across New York City. My role at Literacy Partners is two-fold – to help raise funds for our programs, as well as build awareness of our cause and tell our students’ stories. One of the initiatives I manage is recruitment for the TD 5 Boro Bike Tour and the NYC Marathon each year – those interested in biking for books and running for literacy raise funds and awareness for our students as part of Team Literacy Partners. This year, our Bike for Books team raised close to $10,000, and our NYC Marathon team raised over $15,000 in support of our students. We are already beginning planning and recruitment for our 2019 teams!
Other initiatives include communications campaigns and writing material for social media, our annual Gala, print and e-newsletters, the annual report, and appeal letters.
I also served as campaign manager on an exciting PR campaign called Subway Reads with the MTA and major publishing housesto bring the love of reading and books to subways across the city this summer. I hope you’ve spotted the ads taking over your commute! The website features 250+ exclusive book excerpts on topics like Immigrant Stories, Black Voices Matter, Women’s Leadership, and more. It also features stories of our students and easy-to-read stories for the many New Yorkers of all ages who are learning to read – there is truly something for everyone! The campaign has attracted over 100,000 readers to the site – check out subwayreads.org!