“I have always loved learning,” says graduate student Shalena Broadnax, “but I was never a traditional student.” A Brooklyn native, Broadnax was looking for a graduate program that had “an interdisciplinary approach to exploring big ideas.” She is studying New York City history and the way individual experiences shape and are shaped by residential and commercial infrastructures. “I grapple with what it means to be from this city," she adds, "as it has changed so drastically from the memories I have from my childhood."
Broadnax points to Professor David Moore’s proseminar on Community Studies as a particularly inspiring class, allowing her to explore the concept of community. And her adviser, Professor Jack Tchen, she says, “approaches teaching by meeting people where they are and delving deeply into his students’ passions and motivations, which keeps us engaged in the classroom.”
A fellow in NYU's Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Program in Social Entrepreneurship, Broadnax also received the Dalai Lama Fellowship to launch a Compassion-in-Action project at NYU. Her project, MI-NYU (Mindful Innovation), will bring together students and community members to implement solutions for issues faced by marginalized populations in New York City. “The goal,” she says, “is to create a bridge between what is learned in the classroom and lived experience.”
“I went into Gallatin,” says Broadnax, “with the assumption that I would not bond with my classmates or professors because I would be taking classes across campus. In fact, I found amazing friends, colleagues and a wealth of supportive people who believe in my sometimes-wild ideas and who help me figure out ways to bring my ideas to fruition.”