Morristown, N.J. (February 1, 2017) – Ananya Kadir, '17, computer science and math, loves to travel. The international student from Bangladesh used this passion to become the first ambassador from CSE in the Yes We Must Coalition (YWMC) Student Exchange Program with Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) in Daytona Beach, Fla., last semester.
The YWMC exchange program gives first-generation students the opportunity to study at partnering universities for new academic and personal experiences. There are 35 universities that are members of the YWMC, and CSE and B-CU are a part of seven schools that participate in the exchange program that has been in development for the past three years.
Fall 2016 was the program's inauguration with the B-CU and CSE's partnership as the "test case," said Dr. Anthony Santamaria, CSE's dean of arts and sciences. Ananya applied to the program to gain more experience in computer engineering, and broaden her overall college experience. She was chosen by the academic and student affairs staff because she fulfilled all of the program's requirements: choosing courses that are equivalent to ones she would take at CSE and committing to contribute to the curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular opportunities on campus.
"Ananya is also very service-driven, and is focused on building leadership and character in both herself and others; like CSE, B-CU's mission and values align perfectly with such goals and principles," Santamaria said.
In her classes, Ananya said she felt like a freshman again because everyone was so friendly and welcoming. During the semester, she became the lead researcher in a professional development program aimed at showing students in different majors uses for data science in their fields. Ananya researched resources, and created, managed and promoted the website.
She has been recently accepted to present at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields in March.
She is thankful for how the B-CU took care of her during Hurricane Matthew.
"There were volunteers who risked their lives to come and stay with us so they could take care, mentor, and guide us during those times," Ananya said. "That's one thing that I appreciate, because as an international student I didn't have many places to go to."
Ananya wants to encourage B-CU students to participate in the exchange program and will mentor them through the application process.
"The highlight was being surrounded by a new culture and different people," she said. "This was an amazing experience. I didn't want to come back to New Jersey because of the cold!"