Pay It Forward

January 9, 2013
Event location: 

 New York University

By Jamie Primeau

Last year, the NYWICI Foundation awarded $130,000 in scholarships to 18 high school, undergraduate and graduate students. On Jan. 9, 2013, a panel of former NYWICI scholarship recipients gathered at the Pay It Forward event to share what the scholarship and organization has meant to them. Describing NYWICI, Mariama Keita said, “It’s bigger than sisterhood. It’s a pool of firsthand mentors. It’s this network of great, amazing women.” 
The panel was moderated by Kim Last, Conference Producer at the RealShare Conference Series at American Lawyer Media and offered advice about topics ranging from choosing colleges to making the most of internships to landing first jobs. Here’s a breakdown of the most memorable take-aways from the panel discussion:

Taylor Trudon, Associate Blog Editor at The Huffington Post
  • “Don’t be afraid to promote yourself!” Tweeting a column from her college paper led to a blogging opportunity with Huffington Post.
  • Social media are a great way to stay in touch with former bosses. If you come across an article they would enjoy, shoot them an email.
  • Use Ann Shoket’s interview advice: Always sit on the edge of your seat.
Stephanie Guzman, Intern at Weber Shandwick
  • Research not only the company, but also the person who is interviewing you. Make sure you know as much as you can about the company.
  • The power of a handwritten thank you note. Make it personalized and mention something that stood out from the time you spent with them.
  • Letters of recommendation are a way to give a first impression. “Sometimes it can benefit to go to a teacher who teaches a subject that’s not your strongest suit so they can speak about your hard work.”
Mariama Keita, UN Fellow at the Office of the Senior Advisor to the Executive Direction at UNAIDS
  • Internships can lead to jobs. Impress your bosses. “People like to hire whom they know.”
  • Interviews: “When you are confident about what your passions are, just make them a conversation.”
  • “I didn’t really think about money (when applying to school). I wasn’t afraid to take out loans. Investment in your future is important. If you’re academically strong, there are scholarships you can apply for.”
Nkechi Hooper, Junior Digital Analyst at Code and Theory
  • Make your scholarship essay as personal as possible. “Really dig deep and get those emotions out. That’s what your story is going to be.”
  • Picking colleges: “I knew I wanted to be in New York. I knew I wanted to do business. So I picked a school that had a reputable business program.”
  • If they ask you if you have questions at the end of the interview, make sure you have questions.
The scholarship application is open until Jan. 25. Visit for more information on submitting the application.


Moderated by:
Kim Last - Conference Producer, RealShare Conference Series at American Lawyer Media

Panelists include:
Stephanie Guzman - Intern at Weber Shandwick
Nkechi Hooper - Junior Digital Analyst, Code and Theory
Mariama Keita - UN Fellow, Office of the Senior Advisor to the Executive Director, UNAIDS, New York Headquarters 
Taylor Trudon - Associate Blog Editor at The Huffington Post

Hosted by the Master's Program in Graphic Communications Management and Technology: preparing innovative managers for high growth careers in media and communications. For more information contact Bonnie Blake, program director at or 212-992-3222.
Photo credit: Jan Goldstoff
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