Born and raised in Barcelona, Spain, Pau Aragay Marín M.P.A. '15 never thought he would leave home for a journey in the nonprofit world in New York City, but his eagerness to learn and bring more to the sector has taken him through a bi-continental adventure that started at Seton Hall.
His fascination with nonprofit organizations began at the age of 19 when he joined a group of young entrepreneurs as part of the founding team of a nonprofit organization in Barcelona, Spain. His experience building this organization with the team was a challenge that later on in his life opened the door to new opportunities. Continuing his education, Aragay decided to obtain a certificate in Non-Governmental Organization Management Training at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. During his year in business school, Aragay was highly encouraged by his professors to pursue a Master in Public Administration degree in the United States. His interest to learn drove him to research schools in the U.S. and the requirements needed for him to achieve this next goal in his education abroad.
Aragay was no stranger to the United States but his time here, on a Big Apple vacation trip, was no longer than weeks. After a lot of in depth research of schools, years of saving and intensive English lessons, Aragay started his journey by visiting schools in the greater New York area. From NYU, Columbia and many other reputable schools, Aragay's heart stayed at The Hall, "Seton Hall University was the perfect combination of what I was looking for; a good, well known school, financially affordable and only minutes away from New York City," said Aragay adding that his two-day visit to campus as a guest student allowed him to meet up with M.P.A. students and professors who gave him a better understanding of the quality, workload and the student-professor relationship value offered at Seton Hall.
As an international student, Aragay also had to face a difficult college and student visa application process that can be stressful and intimidating for many, but for Aragay, the willingness of Seton Hall's instructors, students and staff to help him made this process seamless, "My visit was a big part of my decision, I felt welcomed and guided," he recalled.
During his time as a student at Seton Hall, Aragay had the opportunity to build up his professional experience. He worked as a graduate assistant at the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute on campus and during the summer he interned at Summer Search and ACS for the Homeless, two nonprofit organizations where, through his research, he learned an extensive amount about New York City's education system needs.
Right after graduating from Seton Hall, Aragay was offered the senior evaluation manager (SEM) role at City Year in New York City, another nonprofit organization that, alongside their AmeriCorps members, help provide necessary support for those students in high poverty areas to graduate high school. Here, Aragay completed his Optional Practice Training (OPT), a work permit given to international students after completing a degree in the United States.
The time came for Aragay to say goodbye to the big city and return to Barcelona to begin working as a consultant in the nonprofit sector, but the goodbye was more of a 'see you later.' Aragay returned to New York after a few months as an in-house consultant for The JED Foundation, an organization that helps protect emotional health by educating college students and eliminating the stigma attributed to these illnesses.
Aragay's advice to students is to be involved in the community Seton Hall provides, "go to events, make friends and connections, and you will feel welcomed, be involved on campus because that's where your career begins. Always remind yourself why you were eager to study." He emphasized that what students will get out of their education is what they put into it.
During Aragay's work as a graduate assistant, he helped Seton Hall's Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute execute their 10th anniversary black-tie fundraising gala in October of 2015 at the New York Athletic Club. The effort raised monies to support student scholarships at Seton Hall. To learn more about the institute or to financially support the institute, click here.
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