Daniella Gafen

MBA ’18

After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Architecture, I moved to New York to participate in a year-long service corps program focused on social justice and poverty alleviation. I was placed at the in-house non-profit of a Title 1 public high school in Brooklyn, whose mission is to fund and implement high-quality, individualized programming and counseling to prepare students for success in college and career. I worked to connect our students with enrichment opportunities programs around the city that are staples of more affluent school districts.

After four years, I abandoned my first career goal of becoming an architect and applied to business school, with the new goal of returning to the education sector after graduating. As an MBA student with “nontraditional” background and career goals, I was drawn to the Turner Family Center for the opportunity to complement my more traditional business classes with the kinds of conversations and work that is most meaningful to me, while challenging my own. Being a part of the TFC has challenged me to think about business and poverty alleviation through new lenses and enhanced my experience and learning at Owen by introducing me to some of my incredible peers across Vanderbilt’s graduate schools.


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