LaQuis Harkins - Graduate StudentWhat is your particular area of interest?
My background is in performing arts and working in youth development. So, I would like to work within an organization that uses the arts and entertainment for youth development and enrichment (i.e. self-esteem building, conflict resolution, goal setting, etc.).
What projects have you worked on that you are most proud of?
I crafted and coordinated a project called “Reality vs Reality TV” for a non-profit girls mentoring group. We used the images portrayed by women in reality tv shows and talked about the real life consequences if you choose to behave in the way the stars of those shows do.
What are your goals of being in this program?
I want to learn how to create and sustain a program. Many organizations die after a few years, but I want to learn how to keep reinventing myself as an artist and as a non-profit professional.
What classes at Columbia are helping you to achieve that?
Fundraising. As the professor (Kathy Butera) has been teaching us, it is not just about money, it’s about relationship building, strategic planning, foresight, and passion for what you do—and being the best at it. The things that we are learning in that class are tying everything together.
What words of wisdom or advice would you give to the current students?
Don’t lose track of why you are here. When you feel overwhelmed by school, work, socializing, etc., don’t lose track of your personal and professional goals. They may evolve as your education unfolds but there is a reason you chose to study within the program. Stay focused and you’ll make a great lasting mark on your industry.