Nicole DaSilva

Q: Nicole, how would you describe your role as Macaulay’s Project Coordinator of the Hertog Scholars Program, and how does it impact Macaulay students?

I joined Macaulay Honors College four months ago as the Project Coordinator of the Hertog Scholars Program, a unique and exciting program that’s also new to Macaulay. Through the Hertog Scholars Program, first-and second-year Macaulay students are immersed in a series of multidisciplinary seminars focused on close reading and discussion of enduring texts that ask vital contemporary questions. The combined seminars and mentoring from the faculty and staff help students to develop their full academic and intellectual potential.

As Project Coordinator, I support current and prospective students throughout their involvement. I travel with Darren Staloff, Director of the Hertog Scholars Program, to the Macaulay Honors offices at our partner campuses to present information about the program to prospective students. I coordinate the application process and notify students of their acceptance into the program. I also work closely with current students to assist with the registration process, ensure that they have all the course materials and books  and learn about their interests to match them with rewarding summer study opportunities.

Learning about and providing assistance to this dynamic group of students is one of the most rewarding aspects of my work at Macaulay. Though the Hertog curriculum is liberal arts-based, the diversity of the first cohort of scholars — their academic pursuits and extracurricular interests — suggests the program has a wide range of appeal. For example, Jenna Peet ’14 (Macaulay at Brooklyn) is a Physics Education major who works with first-year students as a peer mentor and is an activist fighting mental health stigmas among college students. Raj Basak ’15 (Macaulay at City College) is an intended Physics major interested in medicine, global health, and research. He is also a musician, actor, singer, and the founder and musical director of The Macaulay Triplets, Macaulay’s first a cappella group. Mikhail Relushchin ’15 (Macaulay at Baruch) is an intended Public Affairs major who serves as Vice President of the Baruch Model UN and the Baruch Writers’ Society, a creative writing club. These unique students, with varying personalities and interests are united by their common drive and value for challenging academics which serves to enrich the Hertog Scholars Program, and my job.

Because the Hertog Scholars Program and my role at Macaulay are both brand new I’ve been able to constantly adapt, change and grow according to the needs and desires of students. I have progressively grown in this role, learning from our students to better tailor the Hertog Scholars Program to meet and exceed their academic and intellectual needs. The flexibility and dynamic nature of this job (and the Hertog Scholars!) makes every day an exciting learning experience.