Edit Page

Faces of New Paltz

Payal Batra, Journalism/Spanish

Past Faces of New Paltz
Ricardo Hernandez
Political Science/Journalism
Anne Concepcion
Psychology/Art/Disaster Studies

Hometown: Wantagh, N.Y.
Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2015
Major(s): Journalism (public relations concentration), Spanish

Why New Paltz?
To be honest, it wasn’t a school I was thinking about at first. I applied to eight schools, but when it came down to it, I wanted to be somewhat close to Long Island. It was between New Paltz and one other school, and when I came to visit, I really liked the location. I liked that there was a bus that could take me straight home. And they had my major.

I was a really shy freshman. There were a few people from my high school who came here, so I kind of stuck with them my first semester here. But the minute I started branching out and joining different clubs and organizations – it sounds cheesy, but I found myself, in a way. I’ve met a lot of people, and I’ve gotten immense opportunities from the school that I wouldn’t have gotten from any other place.

Something about this school I’ve learned is how welcoming and open the student body is. I didn’t have to beg to be a part of anything – nothing is exclusive. You can join anything here. We have over 120 clubs and organizations, and if you can’t find one, you can make one. You’ll always find someone to interact with – someone to be friends with, but also someone to share your interests with. There’s always something around the corner – a campus event, an activity. I went to a lot of First Year Fridays in my first year of college. It’s really easy to meet people and really easy to get involved.

What opportunities have you seized here?
One opportunity led to another. I was in the FYI Program, and they would advertise the Emerging Leaders Program, so I got involved in that. Then I applied to be a mentor the following year. Then I became a volunteer tour guide for open house events. Through that, I got the opportunity to become an NP Blogger. My sophomore year, I lived in Crispell Hall, and because I saw how close the RAs were with one another, I wanted to become an RA, and then I applied. Everything just led to each other – all of the timing was just perfect. I just fell into all these things, and I’m so grateful that I got all these opportunities.

What did you get out of studying abroad in Ecuador?
It was an unbelievable experience. I went from June to August 2013. I stayed with a host family, and they were all very nice. I interned at a day care, which was interesting. I would take the public bus in the mornings with one of my friends. I was working with 4-year-olds – 20 of them, all speaking Spanish at the same time! It was crazy, but I had so much fun, and they were so cute. I got to spend my birthday there, and they all sang “Happy Birthday” to me. I also took two classes there, so I’d go to my internship in the morning, have lunch with my host family, and then go to class. It’s beautiful there, and I got to experience a lot. I learned a lot of responsibility, as well – being forced into speaking another language and getting myself around. I learned about a completely different culture. The people there were so friendly all the time, and it gave me a whole new perspective on how we live here in the U.S., and how a lot of times, we just run around, rushing, not saying hi to people and not making time for people. We take life for granted in the U.S. sometimes. But in Ecuador, they take life a little slower than we do. Everyone smiles and takes the time to say “hello.”

What are your plans for the future?
When I first entered college, I dreamed of working at a PR firm in the city and representing a company. But now, I want to work for a university. I’m thinking about going into admissions, or in higher education in general. You know how people go to high schools and present on behalf of a university? I’d love to do that. I learned that from being an NP Blogger, trying to get our faces out there to prospective students.  I love representing something I’m passionate about – like New Paltz, for example.


Know any outstanding students, faculty/staff members, or alumni? Let us know!