International Student Talks CUNY Explorers and Academic Support

How Jobs at CSI Can Make a Difference

By:  Lucia Rossi

Nicole Agu balances her busy life at the College of Staten Island. (Credit: Nicole Agu)

Being emotionally invested in your college and/or occupation is something special that may be lacking among many students at the College of Staten Island.

For Nicole Agu, however, a 20 year-old international student from Nigeria, school involvement has become a major part of her life and career.

She is currently a sophomore studying accounting and international business, with a minor in management, and works three positions on campus.

She is also Vice President of the International Business Society club, and a member of the Emerging Leaders Program and International Student club at CSI.

Agu is a math and accounting tutor, a college assistant for the Office of Academic Support, and a tour guide for the CUNY Explorers program.

“As a college assistant, I serve as a front desk personnel; greeting students and staff and determining their needs,” she said. “I provide other basic clerical support such as making phone calls, filing papers, sorting mail, and helping students make tutoring appointments during the remedial program.”

As a math tutor, Agu provides one-on-one tutoring sessions for students to help them understand homework and to assist in preparing for exams.

CUNY Explorers is a program created by the Mayor’s College Access for All Initiative and is a particularly fulfilling job because it works to inspire young children into going to college.

“I give a college tour to 7th grade students, and emphasize on the benefits and resources they can obtain from college,” Agu said.  

“I also collaborate with other tour guides to create fun games and college topics that would help the students enjoy the tour and look forward to college.”

With this position, Agu seeks to encourage young students to be persistent in their goals through middle school, onto high school and eventually through college.

“I find it interesting to tell the students what to expect in college, so they will be ready,” she said.

“I hope to help students understand that college is becoming affordable through scholarships and financial aid. I also want to communicate to them the necessity of a college education to build a better life.”

The program’s main message to young students is that anyone can go to college, despite financial status or origin, and they should start thinking now about what they would like to do in the future and how they would like to get there.

This is important because middle schoolers don’t know much about the reality of what college is actually like besides partying and massive student loans.

“Students are encouraged to start their college plans by saving for tuition, studying harder and becoming more responsible,” Agu said.

She believes it is imperative that students are aware of all the choices they have.

“I applied for this job because I like to work with children, and I saw it as an opportunity to share my college experiences with them so they could be motivated and learn from it,” Agu said.

“I have worked as a tour guide for a year, and I believe I am constantly making a difference in the lives of the students.”

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