Debora Mahgerefteh graduated from Queens College this past summer. A first-generation American, her parents fled from Iran over twenty years ago. Deborah speaks Farsi and she is the first woman in her family to attend college and follow a professional career path. She is currently in graduate school at Long Island University and is getting her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology.
We asked Deborah to share with us some thoughts on her college experience.
JFEW: What was the most inspirational or memorable experience that you had while in college?
DM: I interned in a preschool as part of the JFEW summer experience and it was one of my best memories from college. It was my first step into the real world. I was so nervous and I loved every minute of it. I still reflect and look back to that summer. I learned so much in just eight weeks. I learned how to work with special needs children, their parents, and their friends. I also grew to become more understanding and sympathetic. Also, that internship validated my passion for wanting to become a Speech Language Pathologist.
JFEW: What do you wish that you knew then that you knew now?
DM: All of this studying you’re doing, all of the parties you’re missing, the time you are spending with friends - it all will pay off. You will get to graduate and get into grad school! You can do it! Not getting in was one of my biggest fears. Also, a piece of advice is to keep in touch with your professors.
JFEW: What was your proudest accomplishment during your time in college?
DM: My proudest accomplishments included getting the JFEW scholarship, graduating with honors, and making lifelong friends.
JFEW: How did your scholarship help you?
DM: It is because of this scholarship that I graduated debt-free and had the chance to really explore my major (internships, meetings, conferences). Without this scholarship, I would have never had the experience that I do today.
Likewise, I would not have been part of such an amazing network of people. I am so proud to be a part of JFEW. I believe that if I did not have this scholarship, I would not have gotten into graduate school. It truly has helped me in so many ways. Honestly, it makes me teary-eyed. It sounds a little silly, but it really means a lot to me.