Academic Excellence: Shivanie Hariram ’24 Lands Fellowship and Consulting Job with the Help of the LEAP Program

Academic Excellence: Shivanie Hariram ’24 Lands Fellowship and Consulting Job with the Help of the LEAP Program

Academic Excellence: Shivanie Hariram ’24 Lands Fellowship and Consulting Job with the Help of the LEAP Program

In order to successfully navigate our rapidly changing world, it’s paramount that students seek to achieve academic excellence throughout their journey at John Jay College. The students featured in our “Academic Excellence” article series have actively demonstrated an outstanding ability to excel in their educational endeavors. As a result of their intellectual capacities, finely honed skills, and altruistic leadership qualities, these students are often selected for competitive programs, awards, scholarships, fellowships, and research opportunities that further enrich their studies. We hope that their accomplishments inspire us all to pursue excellence in our own academic and professional journeys.

When political science major Shivanie Hariram ’24 was a freshman, she received an email about LEAP (Linking Experience, Academics, and Practice) and sat in on a video information session about the program. “They announced who they were and introduced themselves. Afterward, Anita DeVarie, a LEAP advisor, reached out to me and we set up a time to meet. From there we really hit it off and built up an amazing relationship,” says Hariram. Beyond personally advising Hariram, DeVarie looked for opportunities that would enhance her student’s skills and leadership abilities. “Anita recently had me attend that same LEAP introductory meeting that I went to before, but this time I was talking about the fellowship I got through LEAP. Our relationship started through an email, but now Anita and the whole LEAP team are a tremendous support for my John Jay journey. They’re warm, comforting, and knowledgeable people who clearly want the best for students.”

Landing the America Needs You Fellowship
The two-year fellowship that DeVarie suggested for Hariram was part of America Needs You, an organization rooted in the belief that socioeconomic status should not be a barrier to college persistence or career success. They also focus on uplifting students, like Hariram, who are the first in their families to attend college. “They offer workshops on different topics like time management and interviewing skills. They require you to create your own resume and they have their own specifically designed resume that is identifiable with workplaces so that they know that this is an America Needs You student,” says Hariram. “Having an America Needs You resume is actually how I landed my consulting job for the summer.” Each America Needs You fellow is also matched with a mentor coach. “This is a professional who’s gone through college life and can offer you advice in any way you need it. They are absolutely amazing and you can really tell that they care about first-gen students, students of color, and underrepresented students.”

Discovering Her Passion
Hariram’s interest in political science and national security came directly from her family’s experience. She wasn’t born when September 11th happened, but her grandparents and parents had a long history of working at the World Trade Center before it was attacked. “It was 2000 when they all moved to Florida—that’s how I ended up being born there—but for years I’d hear my mom talk about the buildings and she wondered what would have happened if they had stayed there,” says Hariram, a sophomore who proudly identifies as Guyanese American and Hindu. Seeing her family’s anguish over 9/11 sparked Hariram’s desire to learn more about national security and political science, even prompting her to take college courses in those fields before she graduated from high school.

“Our relationship started through an email, but now Anita and the whole LEAP team are a tremendous support for my John Jay journey.” —Shivanie Hariram

Upholding Academic Excellence
Currently, Hariram has a 4.0 GPA and she credits that academic dedication to her parent’s work ethic and drive. “My mom and dad have instilled in me that my academics always come first. They showed me that I always want to put 100 percent effort and professionalism into everything that I do,” she says. “I’m one of those people who seeks out mentors, opportunities, and ways in which I can help others. That’s how I was raised and I’ll always strive to be that way.” 

Helping Others Succeed
Hariram’s desire to help others led her to another John Jay opportunity, becoming a Student Academic Success Programs (SASP) Peer Success Coach. “It’s really interesting learning how to navigate the students’ different needs and dynamics,” says Hariram. “As a peer success coach, a lot of it comes down to being able to communicate effectively.” She credits the program for giving her a boost in confidence, stronger interpersonal skills, a newfound awareness of her own conflict resolution skills, and a strong family of supportive staff members and fellow coaches.

“If LEAP has shown me anything, it’s that I have to be open to all the possibilities that life has in store for me.” —Shivanie Hariram

Looking Toward the Future
As a first-gen student who’s taken to academia like a fish to water, Hariram envisions herself diving even deeper into higher education in the future. “Higher education is for me. I feel like I can do something great with my education,” she says. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Hariram hopes to move on to a master’s degree and even a doctorate. “I want to be the first person in my family to obtain their Ph.D. I want to work in a government institution, maybe become an analyst for the NSA [National Security Agency],” she says enthusiastically. “If LEAP has shown me anything, it’s that I have to be open to all the possibilities that life has in store for me.”