As a youth growing up in the Bronx, Tylik Stevens says he learned the importance of having strong role models to look up to. So when he arrived at Northeastern, Stevens, AMD’16, embraced the opportunity to take on that role for area inner city youth.
Through Northeastern’s Civic Engagement Program, and co-ops like the one he did at Harvard Medical School organizing an educational program for more than 400 public school students and 30 science labs in Boston and Cambridge, Stevens saw firsthand the benefits of giving back to the community.
He also did co-ops worked at Booker Software and the Boston Consulting Group, and participated in Dialogue of Civilizations programs in London, Sydney, and Edinburgh, Scotland, while at Northeastern.
Stevens, who graduated on Friday with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies, also delivered the student address at the Torch Scholars ceremony last week. Here, he shares what he learned from his wide array of Northeastern experiences.
What was your most significant learning experience at Northeastern?
My most significant learning experience at Northeastern was through co-op. The co-op program allowed me to learn about myself outside the classroom. While on co-op, I was able to learn more about how I work with others and how I perform under pressure. Most importantly, it helped me navigate my experiences to better suit what I want to do in my future career.
Why is helping inner city youth a passion of yours, and how have you been able to realize that passion while at Northeastern?
Helping inner city youth is one of my passions because I was once in their position looking for a role model to look up to. The inner city youth are important because of their experiences and how different their lifestyles are. While at Northeastern, I’ve been able to realize the importance of giving back to the community because of the neighboring communities around campus and Northeastern initiatives such as the Civic Engagement Program, in which Northeastern students conduct 100 hours of civic engagement activity each year with organizations such as the Yawkey Boys and Girls Club and Generation Citizen.
What were your co-op experiences like?
My co-op experiences were very helpful because they helped me realize what I wanted to do for a career. As I went through my three co-ops, it was a progressive development.
I discovered I like working in business and specifically with clients. And then I learned I enjoyed helping organizations from within in terms of restructuring or finding ways to make them better. And in my third and final co-op, I realized I was passionate about the consulting realm, and that is what I would like to focus my career on.
Most college students take courses and hardly experience what it’s like to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real professional settings. My co-op experiences allowed me to be in a position to make decisions for companies and institutions that actually made a difference.
What is your fondest memory from your time at Northeastern?
I traveled to London with a Dialogue of Civilizations that focused on documentary filmmaking and learning more about English culture. Our group chose to do a short film about the Southbank Skatepark, which has a tremendous amount of history dating back over the past four decades. We learned a lot about skateboarding subculture, where it falls within English culture, and what the skate park means to them.
What motivates you?
What motivates me is the knowledge that nothing is ever perfect, but I still have the pleasure and opportunity to work hard and strive to reach perfection in every aspect of my life. That is what keeps me going.
What is your advice for next year’s incoming class?
My advice for next year’s incoming class is to take full advantage of the experiential opportunities at Northeastern, because those opportunities will allow them to challenge themselves professionally, academically, and culturally. In addition, it will give them the opportunity to become a well-rounded person and student.