Northeastern University

Lia Mayka - Class of 2012

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

I chose my major because I want to work in the non-profit sector and use my education to help people and solve social problems. So far I love my major. It is opening my eyes to all the possible career paths available to me and helping me achieve my goals.

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

I chose NU because I wanted to go to a good school that had something special that other good school's didn't. That special thing, for me, is co-op. So much of my major is getting out in the field, networking, and learning hands-on, and co-op has been an extremely valuable way to do those things.

How many co-ops have you completed?

One, but I am currently working at my second.

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

My first co-op was at Jobs for the Future as the Student Information System Research Assistant. At JFF my main responsibility was to update an expansive database with state-published data on Early College High Schools.

For my second co-op, I am currently working at Root Cause as the Social Impact Research (SIR) Program Assistant. I will be contributing research to SIR's Social Issue Reports, which identify the most effective and holistic ways to address social issues and highlight non-profits across the country that are best implementing these methods. The goal is to advise and inform investor decision-making to maximize social impact.

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 had the chance to study abroad and volunteer in Buenos Aires, Argentina for 6 months. My family is from another part of Argentina and this was a wonderful chance to further explore my roots, get acquainted with the capital of this beautiful country, travel, and, although I am bilingual, it was a unique opportunity to perfect my Spanish writing skills.

I also participated in the Social Enterprise Institute's Latin America Field Study Program, part of the Dialogues of Civilizations. In one month, we learned all about two micro-finance institutions in the Dominican Republic and Belize and did a special project for each organization involving extensive field research and borrower interviews. This program broadened my understanding of business in general and as a tool for solving poverty and improving sustainability in the social sector. It even inspired me to consider pursuing a career in micro-finance.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

The most valuable learning opportunities that came from my first co-op were the small things... getting comfortable in a professional setting, attending meetings, getting a feel for office etiquette and politics. It doesn't seem like much but learning those lessons can give you the confidence you need to succeed at other jobs in the future. Also, I had the chance to meet with people working on other teams at my company and interview them about what they do. Not only did I learn a lot about the different positions in a non-profit, but I met some brilliant people who now know me and could be very valuable for networking later on.

Questions Answered as of 07/07/2010