When Rose Cherubin ’15 began her new job as a college and career access coach at BUILD in February, she had no idea the world was about to change so drastically. “I had two weeks of onboarding,” she says, “and then my first day after that, we had a staff meeting and decided to work remotely for the pandemic.”
Despite this setback, Cherubin has been working virtually with New York City high schoolers for the non-profit organization, whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth from under-resourced communities and propel them to high school, college and career success.
Cherubin, who formerly served the Colleges as senior assistant director of admissions and multicultural recruitment, has found plenty of advising tasks as she co-leads the BUILD NYC college access and alumni network program. The program adds on to what the students are learning in the classroom and from their counselors. “I’m not reinventing the wheel, but I am adding some extra shine to the rim,” she says.
She’s been meeting virtually with 30 students from three different city high schools who are graduating from BUILD’s four-year program of support, helping them navigate the college landscape and life after high school. “[We work on] applying to college, the decision process, the financial aid process and what different careers look like,” she says.
With their zeal for education, combined with entrepreneurship knowledge and credentials, Cherubin says, they have a more confident outlook on their post-secondary endeavors.
For over two decades, BUILD has successfully served thousands of Black and Latinx youth nationwide through real-world, project-based learning that makes high school engaging and relevant. Through the empowering experience of running a real business, students demonstrate increased proficiency in these critical competencies and develop a vital sense of self-agency over their education and careers. Throughout all four years of BUILD, students receive mentoring on a weekly or bi-weekly basis from caring adult role models from the business community. BUILD mentors play a vital role in helping students develop and grow their micro-enterprises, persist through high school, increase social capital, and build their professional network.
Cherubin says having regular, consistent access to the students has been rewarding. “I’ve created a relationship with these students where they trust me,” she says. “To have that level of trust — I never take it for granted.”
A public policy major with a minor in anthropology, Cherubin credits her HWS education and especially the classes of Professor Emeritus of Public Policy Craig Rimmerman, Associate Professor of Anthropology Christopher Annear and Associate Professor of Anthropology Jason Rodriguez with providing the tools that she’s taken with her from her job at HWS to her new position with BUILD. “Their classes taught me about doing the research, and about never taking anything for face value,” she says.
She also credits the work done by the Intercultural Affairs office, led by Director of Intercultural Affairs Alejandra Molina, for providing a space for her to learn and be challenged, developing her passion for the empowerment of young Black and Brown students.
Cherubin says that in addition to her work with BUILD, she is finalizing her enrollment to start a master’s program in education policy and leadership this fall. “I want to have a helping hand in the policy that impacts these students’ lives,” she says. “I enjoy bringing different partners and ideas together and working towards a common goal.”