Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Degree: Master of Science in Administration with a concentration in project management
College: College of Education and Human Services
Graduated: May 2021
Job Title: Area manager with Amazon in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Namita Chauhan knew when she started her graduate degree that the job market would be competitive.
"That is why you have to stand out. You have to do more than what's required to have a fair chance," she said. So, that's what she did. She volunteered, took on leadership roles with student government, and became a Global Ambassador.
It all led to a career, one she secured six months before graduating. In June, she'll begin her career as an area manager with Amazon in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Namita came to the United States in 2018 to be with her husband, Kunwar Singh, leaving New Delhi, India, where she grew up. Kunwar had a job in Mount Pleasant, so she decided to begin the Master of Science in Administration program with a concentration in project management. She was confident her undergraduate education in India prepared her academically. Her biggest concern was similar to any new student: making friends and connecting with others. The difference for Namita: English is her secondary language.
Using Engage Central, which connects students with volunteer opportunities and registered student organizations, she sought activities to improve her communication skills and build confidence. She volunteered as a Global Ambassador, where she spoke on a student panel, led cultural discussions with freshman classes, and visited local elementary schools.
She immersed herself with American students on an Alternative Break to Troy, New York, where they worked on an urban farm that grows fruits and vegetables for Capital Roots, an organization that tries to reduce the impact of poor nutrition.
She also took a leadership role as a R.E.A.C.H. (Recognizing Education Aspirations & Career Horizons) Career Peer, providing cover letter and résumé feedback to undergraduate students preparing for an internship/job interview or networking event.
For the 2020-2021 school year, she's the chair of the Student Budget Allocation Committee for the Student Government Association. This role determines whether student organizations receive funding for a project or event, a challenge given the current restrictions in place for in-person events and travel to conferences.
"It's been a challenging year and promoting virtual events and conferences was difficult. I was sad when I knew I didn't have enough good things to report," she said. "But others gave me positive encouragement that I was able to still make it happen. I felt more confident after that."
But it was the graduate assistantship experience with Dr. Yucel Thomas that helped Namita define the transformational leader she wants to be.
"I want to lead project teams in a multicultural environment and help my team grow along with me," she said. "Things might be slightly difficult in the beginning, but you can overcome your challenges and rise to the top."