As a person who came to the United States from Pakistan as a teenager, Amna Azeem feels her future is informed by her background. “Being a ﬁrst-generation immigrant and an ethnic and religious minority have helped my academic interests and career goals,” she said.
Azeem graduates from Lehman College this spring with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She earned her degree as a student in the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies (CUNY BA), an individualized program based at The Graduate Center that allows self-directed undergraduates to take classes throughout CUNY. In the fall she will begin her year as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ruse, Bulgaria, where she will teach eighth-grade students. She also plans to provide support to Bulgarian students applying to schools in the United States and serve as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. At the end of her Fulbright year, she’ll begin her doctoral studies in political science at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
As an undergraduate, Azeem served as an intern, volunteer and mentor with Lehman College’s Institutional Advancement Office and its Office of Prestigious Awards; the district office of New York State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan; the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops; and the We Speak NYC program with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She said her work with We Speak – a program that organizes English-language learner groups for immigrants, founded by a Lehman alumna – was one of the experiences that led her to apply for a Fulbright: “It not only helped me identify my love for teaching but also served as an opportunity to grow and demonstrate my capabilities as a teacher.”