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February 2018

Special Feature: Scholar & Staff Conversation

Co-founder Soma Golden Behr (left) with 2017 scholar Nogaye at last year's awards event.

2017 scholar Nogaye and new staff member Anna interviewed each other to help you get to know them both. Here is what they learned...

[Anna] What was your favorite part of last summer’s programming? [Nogaye] My favorite part was working with the [New York Public Radio] employees. They really taught me more than the job itself; they gave me lessons and tips for life after college, and getting a job and finding a job and working with other people. They really made it feel like a community there.

What do you wish we had covered last summer before you went off to college? It’s a different environment. So coming from New York all the way to Boston, they are both cities, yes, but New York is a different kind of city, and I wasn’t expecting as much of a difference.

That’s a really good point. When you’re applying to colleges, the choices are so overwhelming, they’re often narrowed down to simple categories: city or countryside; big or small; university or college — just because this is a city and that is a city, they’re not the same at all. What do you think of living in Boston? You can be honest! I’m a NYC person and I’ll always be a NYC person, but Boston is like a slower version of New York. Everyone walks at a slow pace, does things at a slow pace [laughs].

Do you find yourself doing things more slowly, too? No, that’s the thing — that’s the problem! I’m always in this kind of rushed attitude and everyone is just, like, SLOW DOWN!

You know that happened to me in Australia, and eventually I did learn to slow down a bit and I really enjoyed it. I realized I’m not going to be less productive if I breathe more slowly; I can get as much work done, but it’s kind of nice to take a beat. 

How is this semester going? Second semester is a lot better — but harder! I took a lot more core classes at once but am getting a better handle on things. I know what to expect coming into class, like working around deadlines instead of working up to last minute. I feel like I’ve gotten more independent. In the first semester tried to do everything on my own, but I realized that wasn’t really working for me. I realized ... office hours are not only for when you need help.

Do you have a message for your sponsor or the Scholarship Plus community? Giving students an opportunity really does help in the long-run. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have this opportunity if I didn’t have Scholarship Plus, so I want [the SPlus community] to know that students who do work hard and students who have a passion toward things, that they can only go so far to have an opportunity or have a chance. It’s programs like this that give students a push to go further and do more than what is expected of them.

The table turned and Nogaye had some questions for Anna:

[Nogaye] What interested you about Scholarship Plus? [Anna] I was a Seinfeld Scholar from Brooklyn myself, so I feel very close to the mission of Scholarship Plus. I have always felt strongly about “paying it forward” — an idea both scholarships embody — and so it is a privilege to be working directly with a new generation of scholars.

If you could re-do your college years, what changes would you make? Good question! I might have been a little bolder with my course choices. I went to Amherst College, a liberal arts college that had no core curriculum, and yet as a high achiever in high school, I was sometimes afraid of exploring courses where I thought I might fail. For example, I think an introductory philosophy course might have served me well!

What do you hope to accomplish with Scholarship Plus? My driving forces are equity and access. I am excited to work closely with the summer program development and maintaining those two tenets, as well as community-building, at the very core of what we do, as Scholarship Plus has always done.

How did you change personally throughout college? I was nervous about going from a diverse, public school in Brooklyn with over 4,000 students to an elite school in New England less than half the size. I think that in the beginning, I was focused on finding my place, and putting much more effort into fitting in somewhere that already existed. In some ways I found my space, and in others, I created it. I think as I got older and progressed through college, I got better at doing the latter.

What was your most rewarding college moment? There were many pivotal moments along the way — but most rewarding of all may have been graduation when I was able to honor my late dad’s dream of me going to a strong school that would be foundational for my future. That was a special day.

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