Alana Zimmer (BA‘19, Social Sciences, Psychology concentration) returned to school at 27, not exactly knowing what she wanted to study. What she did know, however, was that the Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies (DAUS) was the ideal program in which to finish her degree. She was working full-time as a model and knew that a non-traditional program would offer the best fit for her. Enrolling in DAUS allowed Alanato take evening classes and to curate her course load each semester in order to balance life, work, and studies - some semesters only two classes, other semesters five. “I loved that it was so flexible,” Alana affirms.
Not exactly having a plan of study in mind, she explored different disciplines within DAUS and even other schools within NYU, in addition to global study programs. This exploration allowed her to grow and learn what she wanted to do, overcoming some mental barriers in the process: “I had complete imposter syndrome and didn't think I had what it took to study at NYU.” Aiding Alana’s growth as a student was DAUS Clinical Associate Professor of Writing, April Krassner, who taught a writing workshop in which Alana took part. Alana credits Professor Krassner with empowering her “to feel that I had what it took. I will never forget that workshop because it was so critical in building my confidence as a student. Thank you, April!”
Additionally, Alana was a Dean's Scholar for two years and served as a mentor in the Aspire mentorship program for high school students. “Being able to give back some of what I had gained in academia meant so much to me as that wasn't something that I ever thought would be part of my life. I am still in touch with my mentees and love seeing them succeed in their pursuits!”
By exploring every educational interest she had, Alana learned she could challenge herself and succeed in any area. This in turn gave her the confidence to apply to multiple master's programs in occupational therapy. Alana enrolled in Columbia University’s occupational therapy program. Since graduating with a psychology degree from NYU and an occupational therapy degree from Columbia, Alana has felt compelled to give back to the community by combining what she learned in higher education with her previous career experience. For example, she recently launched an online model support group with 150+ members.
“I am so proud to have completed the two degrees because I honestly never thought I would achieve an education past high school. I am so grateful to NYU SPS for empowering me to better myself and achieve anything I set my mind to.”