Northeastern University

Krupa Asher - Class of 2011

Human Services and International Affairs

Krupa was a 2011 recipient of an Outstanding Co-op Award - to read more click here

Why did you choose this major, and does/did it seem like the right major for you? Why?

Entering college as an undeclared freshman, I took a wide variety of courses in many different fields before choosing HS. I heard about Human Services at an undeclared majors fair and learned that I could to a dual with International Affairs. I declared the dual major in the Fall of my sophomore year before I had even taken either class! I think the HS department has an amazing energy and vibe about it and am so thankful that I was able to be a little part of it. The HS/IAF dual major was the perfect fit for me - it has allowed me to think big picture and all the while gain hands-on experiences in the field.

Why did you choose NU? Was/is this the right school for you?

I visited NU as a junior in high school during our college trip and was immediately drawn to the unconventional work and learn schedule. When it came to decision time, I was choosing between a tiny liberal-arts school in California (where I'm from) and a big city 5-year school. I have no regrets about coming to Northeastern as it's been the perfect match for me - I've been challenged, supported, taught to think out of the box, and really grown into my own person through the opportunities that NU has opened up for me. The flexibility of the co-op program, the range of international and domestic programs available and the location, are all a few reasons that NU is an incredible school.

How many co-ops have you completed?

I completed three co-ops at NU and graduated in 4.5 years.

If you participated in co-op, can you list give a quick synopsis of what you did?

  • Seattle Mayor's Office of Film and Music - Intern

  • For my first co-op, I wasn't sure what I was looking for but the Seattle Mayor's Office of Film + Music (which sits within the Office of Economic Development) ended up being a great stepping stone for what lay ahead. First of all, I absolutely loved the city of Seattle. Secondly, my co-workers were fabulous and I learned a lot about a field I knew very little about. I had to learn fast and not be afraid to make mistakes. It's a good thing my boss was very encouraging and a great mentor. The office is in charge of boosting Seattle's economy through the film and music industries.

    I gained an insight into what it takes to get permission to shoot a film in a city and how much of an impact it makes on the local community. I also learned a great deal about Seattle's music industry and was put in charge of helping organize the first annual "Seattle City of Music" event - drawing thousands of professionals and artists. I was able to improve my communication skills a great deal and this first co-op really gave me the confidence that HS/IAF was the right major for me.

  • Parikrma Humanity Foundation - Community Development Intern

  • I was sure that for my second co-op I wanted to go abroad. I was fortunate to be a part of an incredible student group, Peace through Play (formerly known as Social Change through Peace Games) who was also looking to expand their initiatives to a global level. Our student group formed a partnership with an NGO in Bangalore, India who provides free and quality education to the poorest of the poor slum children.

    Thus, with the guidance of the director of the student group, we created a curriculum called "Leader and Changemaker of Tomorrow" that would inspire the youth to problem-solve and change issues they saw in their communities.

    Since this was an unpaid co-op, I worked hard applying for grants and fundraising with Peace through Play and was finally successful in raising close to $3000 in one semester. I was awarded 3 grants through NU - the Provost Undergraduate Research Grant ($1000), the Experiential Learning Grant ($1000) and the Honor's Travel Grant ($500). These grants did not come easy - with the help from Lori Gardinier, I wrote grant proposals, in-depth project description, budget outlines and research methodologies.

    In the end however, all that hard work paid off and I set off to Bangalore for five months, not sure of many logistical details but confident that I would be able to figure it all out. I struggled in the beginning, adjusting to the different work ethic, the sense of time and their lack of taking the curriculum seriously but I persevered and feel I was able to make a difference in the children I worked with.

    Krupa's Parikrma co-op was highlighted on NU's web page here...

    Krupa maintained a blog while she was in India.

  • I wasn't planning on completing a third co-op and instead was going to find something to do over the summer. I found out about a competitive summer internship program partnering 10 American students with 10 Indonesian students and placing them in NGOs across Indonesia for 10 weeks. Immediately interested, I began the application process for the Freeman Indonesia Nonprofit Internship Program.

    Another plus about this opportunity was that all expenses were taken care of. I was shocked and thrilled when I was selected to participate as the Economic Development intern!

  • Lisa mentioned that I could actually turn this internship into a co-op and so I decided to spend my summer before leaving for Indonesia researching NGOs and social businesses there and upon my return, comparing my research against my actual experience there.

    My experience in Bandung, Indonesia was beyond words and I would LOVE to be back there engaging with all the wonderful people I met and encouraging the potential that lies there.

    For 10 weeks, the six of us fellows who were in Bandung took a Bahasa Indonesia language class in the mornings then parted ways to our respective NGOs to work the rest of the day. I worked at PUPUK - an NGO that works for the advancement of small enterprises - providing technical assistance among other things to small business owners trying to make a living. At PUPUK, my partner and I developed a business plan for how PUPUK could convert into a social business so as to be more sustainable in the long run.

    Two months were too short but I'm thankful for what I learned because this final co-op truly solidified my plans for after graduation. This is the blog I kept while in Indonesia - Summer of 2010.

    Did you have any other "learning from outside of the classroom" (service learning, student leadership, study abroad, research, or volunteering) that also enriched your time here?

    I have taken several service learning classes, been on a dialogue of civilizations to Mexico, and volunteered through student group, Social Change through Peace Games. In the Fall of 2010, I was a Service Learning Teaching Assistant (TA) for Lori's Social Policy, Advocacy and Activism class. I was also in the Honor's program, a Resident Assistant (RA) and a Conversation Partner for the English Language Center. All these activities really enriched my experience at NU and I'm glad that I kept active and was extremely busy for all 4.5 years at NU!

    Have you Graduated from NU? If Yes, please let us know what you are doing and if you think your co-ops and experiential education have helped you in your career path.

    I graduated in January of 2011 and have since been back at home in San Diego, finishing my applications for grad schools and fellowships. Starting this Fall 2011, I will going to India for 10 months as a Clinton Fellow for Service through the American India Foundation. Following the fellowship, I have deferred my admission to the London School of Economics to pursue a one-year Masters degree in Development Management.

    Krupa has a blog for her 1 year post-grad in India (2011-2012)... Feel free to check it out.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Co-op was absolutely fantastic! The common thread among all of my co-op's was that I was able to travel and see a new city/country and learn about different fields. I opened myself up to new and unfamiliar situations and that was what allowed me to gain the most from each experience. I was able to build confidence in my skills and have a better direction for my future goals and this was only possible because of co-op (and Lisa Worsh!)

    Questions Answered as of 9-19-11