“I was drawn to the vibrancy of the Macaulay community and to the fact that within a larger CUNY campus, I could be part of this smaller, supportive community.”

Sara Babad has the kind of vision and commitment to service that makes a difference. Two years ago, while a sophomore, she and a friend founded an innovative after-school program to empower and engage teenage girls in their community.

Now, Sara says, instead of being on their cell phones, the girls are raising money for bone marrow testing; participating in workshops on teamwork, self-esteem, and peer interactions; and learning to be civic-minded community members. The program’s success has been supported and recognized by GenerationOn and with both a Disney NYC Service Clubs Grant and a UJA Micro-Grant for Teen Engagement.

The theme of service winds its way throughout Sara’s four years at Macaulay. As an intern at NYU Stephen D. Hasenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, she was part of the therapy team running the playroom. She also interned at the New York City Children’s Center, an in-patient children’s psychiatric unit, where she says she became even more committed to working with children and adolescents in her future career. Sara’s work has not gone unnoticed. In 2013, she earned a Pearson Prize for Higher Education National Fellowship for her distinguished academic excellence and community service.

Sara’s vision crosses oceans. Through the Macaulay Opportunities Fund, Sara went to Israel and worked at Bishvilaych, a women’s health clinic that services insular religious communities. While there, she helped provide basic medical knowledge to empower women of all ages who typically did not have access to this critical information. Educating women on health issues to prevent the onset of illness is, in part, what motivates her to engage in psychology research.

This fall Sara begins a Ph.D. program in Psychology at Queens College. In refecting on her four years at Macaulay, she remembers an “environment of growth and creativity.” She says that “Macaulay students are always creating something exciting and unique.” ”The bottom line, says Sara, is that she “loved Macaulay’s motivating and supportive environment.”

Photo of Sara Babad