Say hello to Athena Abadilla, a first-year master’s student in our Higher and Postsecondary Education (HPSE) program and also one of our stellar Student Ambassadors! We sat down with Athena recently as she answered our “fast five” questions to give us a glimpse into her life at TC:

Why did you choose TC and your specific program?

As someone who had the privilege of being adjacent to Teachers College as a Barnard College student during my undergraduate years, I was inspired by the student affairs practitioners that I met throughout Columbia who attended TC. They encouraged me to look into the Higher Ed program here! I decided to stay in New York City and attend TC to further build personal and professional networks in an environment that’s both supportive and full of growth opportunities. 

What are your personal and/or professional goals after you graduate?

My goal is to continue to develop my practice as a young student affairs professional. I hope to find myself in a role that allows me to do work that is student-centered and rooted in diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism. Personally, I’m manifesting a future career that brings me geographically closer to my family in the Pacific (fingers crossed!) 

Describe one of your most memorable experiences at TC thus far.

Throughout my virtual classes, I’ve enjoyed getting to know my cohort through Zoom breakout rooms and group projects! I’ve especially loved being in the company of three other HPSE student friends who linked up following our first semester and have casually referred to ourselves as the “AsianAm Dream Team.” 

What’s your favorite class that you’ve taken at TC?

Student Personnel Administration: Programs & Services. Teachers College promises a dynamic blend of theory and practice. Dr. Corlisse Thomas, who is also the Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at Rutgers Newark, definitely delivered. This class was so valuable in learning student development theory that informs the work we do and solidifies the type of practitioner I want to be. I’m grateful to Professor Thomas, the guest speakers she invited, and my classmates for sharing their experiences as we discuss approaches to tackling some of higher education’s biggest challenges yet!

If you could describe your TC experience in three words, which would you choose and why?

  • Collaborative: Self-explanatory
  • Challenging: In the best way possible during this global pandemic
  • Clarifying: So helpful in reminding me why I’m passionate about impacting 2positive change within the field of education

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