February 7, 2022

DAUS Alumni Spotlight: Fatima Ahmed-Farouta (BA ‘14), Social Sciences, International Studies concentration

We always love hearing from our alumni! It means so much to us that they have taken the time to share how they are doing and what they are up to. It’s wonderful to hear from graduates across generations describe how NYU, SPS, and DAUS made a positive impact on their lives.

The Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies (DAUS) is lucky to have such a strong and diverse network of accomplished alumni. Recently, Fatima Ahmed-Farouta shared her SPS story and what she’s been doing since graduating with a BA Social Sciences degree in 2014. After graduation, she enrolled at the London School of Economics to complete a Master's degree in Anthropology. Currently, she works as the Head of Solutions Mapping for the United Nations Development Programme in Ghana. As she relates below, her SPS experience prepared her for success in the international arena. 


What prompted you to pursue your degree at SPS? 

I had taken a long break from school and a friend recommended NYU SPS to me. I was torn between the program and a similar one at another institution also aimed at non-traditional students. Ultimately, I chose SPS and DAUS because the school resonated with me. The course offerings for International Studies seemed like the right fit for me, and the admissions counselor allayed all my fears and concerns.

How did your coursework inform your current career with the UN Development Program? 

I find myself constantly drawing on my studies to inform my current work. I think the courses on International Relations and Political Science nurtured my interest in the international system, and yet, I would probably not have thought of a career with the UNDP if not for Cultural Anthropology and the numerous courses I took in history. These courses subliminally led me to think of the impact of the global system on the lives of people, and how we make choices that can have a positive impact. I particularly enjoyed the history offerings, and I would have signed up for all of them if I could.

I have a lot of appreciation for Professor Clif Hubby and my advisors. They provided me with a lot of gentle guidance and care, and I credit my broad and versatile outlook to them.

What did the SPS college experience mean for you? 

I gained a lot of confidence in my abilities from SPS. The small classroom size, faculty’s open-door policy, and the family atmosphere helped to nurture me. I was in a bad place emotionally at the time of enrolling. I had lost my father and was still flailing. I felt centered at SPS, and safe. The takeaway for me is that we can carve out oases of sheer joy even in the midst of trauma. SPS helped me to heal.

Why did you want to get involved with the UN, specifically in their Accelerator Labs?

The promise of impacting lives directly. There is nothing more rewarding than the ability to connect local visionaries and innovators to a global network that not only promotes grassroots innovation but is also slowly transforming the narrative around development and the global south. This is why I joined the UNDP Accelerator Labs and this is what makes me wake up every day excited.

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