Photo: Chanelle Sears working hard in Nicaragua during Alternative Winter Break. Photo taken by NYIT alumna Naja Baomani. Photo at left taken by NYIT student Gianna D'Aloia.
10 Questions with Chanelle Sears
NYIT student Chanelle Sears may have received her undergraduate degree in behavioral science, but a trip to Nicaragua helped her to see herself in a new light: as an environmentalist. Sears is now a graduate student studying environmental technology and sustainability and hopes to work as a service learning coordinator one day.
She sat down with The Box to talk about her time at NYIT and her passion for helping others.
What is your undergraduate degree in?
Bachelors of Science in Behavioral Science with a concentration in sociology/social work.
You got your undergraduate degree at NYIT. Why did you decide to continue on for your masters here?
During my undergraduate time, I decided that I was going to take a graduate level environmental course. I never saw myself as an environmentalist, but I was compelled to take a class. Later on that semester, I attended my first Alternative Spring Break trip to Nicaragua. That trip motivated me to continue my education and get my degree in environmental technology and sustainability. I knew that through this degree, I would be able to contribute more than just my time and effort. I can now contribute skills.
What has been the most rewarding experience during your time at NYIT?
One that stands out the most happened during my first semester. I was selected to attend the National Center for Student Leadership Conference in Miami, Fla. Through that experience, I was able to propel my journey to becoming a student leader on campus. From there I held so many positions including orientation leader, first year mentor, student ambassador, resident assistant, vice president of operations for Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, hall director, and student assistant for the Alumni Mentor Program.
You’ve participated in two Alternative Spring Breaks and one Alternative Winter Break . Why do you keep going back?
I keep participating in these trips because they are an opportunity for me to give back on a global scale. It allows me to understand the world as a whole through first-hand experiences.
How have these trips impacted you?
These trips have helped me find and develop a focus and a passion for service.
What are your career goals?
I hope to get a job as a service learning coordinator at a nonprofit and still participate in service learning trips both on a domestic and international scale.
How do you feel NYIT has prepared you for the future?
NYIT allowed me to discover what I am truly meant to do in the world. It has prepared me mentally, emotionally, and academically to succeed in my future endeavors.
What would you tell a prospective student about NYIT?
If you are looking for a place to develop your global citizenship, then come to NYIT. If you are looking for a place that allows you to live/experience one of the most diverse and inclusive cities in the world, then come to NYIT. If you are looking for a place that allows you to experiment, take risks, and develop a support system, then come to NYIT.
What is the most important thing you learned as an NYIT student?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E. E. Cummings
This interview has been edited and condensed.