Rochester Student Works for International Relief
Most college students see their undergraduate education as a time to learn and hone skills in an environment where the only consequences for errors are lower grades. College courses are a good way to learn to avoid mistakes without facing consequences that might arise in the work place.
However, some students have decided they are ready to make a splash now want to dive in without testing the waters. Lendsey Achudi, a student at the University of Rochester, knew she wanted to have some hands-on experience before she graduated. However, she wasn’t sure what direction she wanted to take. Once she stumbled upon an unlikely mentor, she was given opportunities she could have never imagined.
As a child in western Kenya, and just one of 80 or more students in a muddy and rusty classroom, Lendsey might have been overlooked by many people as someone who would achieve greatness. However, her mother knew there was more beneath the surface, and sent her to a private school where Lendsey excelled.
Her history of striving for better may have led her to her position today. A sophomore international relations major at the University of Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., Lendsey was the only undergraduate and only female intern at the Kenyan Mission to the United Nations.
“It’s strange sitting here as a sophomore because they receive applications of people with Ph.D’s just asking to be interns,” Lendsey said. “I spoke with Ambassador Ojiambo at a conference in Washington D.C. last year and I didn’t even know if there was an opportunity to be an intern. If I hadn’t tried and gone out of my way to meet her and ask her questions, when I sent my application, she probably would have said she’s just an undergrad and it wouldn’t have gone any further.”
Last semester, Lendsey traveled between Rochester and New York City every week. She took classes Monday and Tuesday before flying to the city Wednesday evening for her internship Thursday through Saturday. Although the schedule was grueling, Lendsey is thankful for the opportunity she’d been given to work with a prominent woman from her country as well as meeting high-level diplomats from around the world.
“It is a challenge because sometimes you’re tired and all you want to do is sleep and relax,” Achudi said. “But Dr. Ojiambo is a hardworking woman and full of integrity. She’s made me feel more empowered and working with her makes me work harder and strive for more. Some people, even though they’re very smart and get good grades see boundaries. I don’t believe in boundaries. Go out and try for what you want to achieve.”
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