What is your current role?
I am a data associate at GiveDirectly in New York City. GiveDirectly is an organization that provides cash transfers to people with incomes below the poverty line across Africa and the United States. I own all technology-related aspects of new project launches. This includes working with our operations team to define and implement program requirements, project managing the implementation across multiple stakeholders, and analyzing, structuring, and acting on program data. Knowing that technology will play a critical role in enabling the next generation of cash delivery operations, I help design and implement data systems to effectively and efficiently enroll and pay recipients.
How did Lafayette prepare you for this role?
Being a data associate is interesting because you are dealing with a lot of numbers, Excel sheets, and code. I am constantly problem-solving on my computer, which can create a sense of removal from the people I am serving. During my time in the Anthropology and Sociology Department, I learned it is simply not enough to care about a topic—improving the world requires a great amount of critical thinking, care, and energy. In acknowledging my physical distance from the communities I serve, I am constantly trying to contextualize my work by talking to co-workers who work in these communities, reading current events, and challenging the way we do things in the nonprofit space. At Lafayette, I realized most things in the world do not work in a good/bad dichotomy. In moving through nonprofit work with my education at Lafayette, I try to think critically in how my decisions can affect the people I serve.
What are you most looking forward to when you return to campus?
Before the pandemic, I was able to attend graduation for the Class of 2019, so I had a chance to see what graduation could look like for myself. I remember the flowers, the excitement in the air, the smiles of the graduates, and I imagined the day when it would be my turn. To have that experience with my family means the world to me. My family had a huge, meaningful impact in me getting into college in the first place. And throughout college, they supported me the best they could, always taking calls whenever I needed them and sending care packages. To celebrate in the place where we had these experiences is extremely exciting, and I can’t wait to share this time with them.
Being invited back for this ceremony is very exciting for me. I definitely understood why we couldn’t have our celebration in 2020, but knowing that didn’t make it any less disappointing. Graduation for me is a time to appreciate the hard work that I put into getting through college and honor the people who supported me throughout it. Taking this time to celebrate with my friends, family, and professors will be very fulfilling, and I look forward to seeing them all together.