PATERSON, NJ- Intashan Chowdhury's shares a family story of immigration, assimilation, and educational success, one that is repeated time and again throughout Paterson's diverse neighborhoods.
A lifelong resident of Paterson's 2nd Ward, Chowdhury told TAPinto Paterson of how his family, led by his father who fled "an oppressive government" in Bangladesh over 30 years ago, was one where "our values were cultivated by our faith, and education was a norm."
Chowdhury, who attended School 27 before graduating from Passaic County Technical Institute in 2014, considers himself a "proud product" of the Paterson Public School system, and said that Paterson has been "part of (his) growth." Being from Paterson, he hopes to show others, "is a blessing, not a burden."
"Our city has tremendous potential and needs as many people involved as possible to make it thrive," he offers as his reasoning for his study of public affairs and administration which he hopes to use to become "an agent of change" for Paterson rather than "abandoning it like most people have done."
TAPinto Paterson is proud to share, with permission from the Rutgers University Newark Undergraduate Commencement Committee, this video, and more of Intashan's story as highlighted when he received a Bachelors of Arts Degree from the School of Public Affairs and Administration earlier this month. with our readers
Why did you enroll at SPAA?
I enrolled in Rutgers SPAA because it provided me with the platform to pursue opportunities in the field of public service and government. This program has world-class faculty (both practitioners and researchers) and a diverse student body that adds a unique perspective in terms of the learning experience within the classroom. Being nationally ranked in various areas of public affairs and management showed me the commitment our program has to the success of its students.
What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
Since I am a BA/MPA student with my BA portion completed, I am now finishing up my MPA degree while working in the Borough of Prospect Park, NJ. With my undergraduate degree, it now provides me the necessary foundational learning and practical concepts of understanding organizational management and its implementation. This degree will guide me in everyday situations whether I continue to work in local government or if I move on to state and federal government. Overall, with my degree I hope to become a major asset to my organization when it comes to delivering sound public policy and management practices.
Favorite SPAA memory?
My favorite SPAA memories were two moments – the first was the day I walked into Dean Stroye’s office as an 18-year-old prospective student and she was the first to believe in my ability to ascend in public service after hearing my story. The other moment was having the opportunity to conduct an independent study on achievement gaps in New Jersey K-12 education for a semester with Dr. Newbold. That project gave me access and insight that improved my research skills and the one-on-one guidance helped develop my passion for many social issues in the public sector that I felt I could tackle.
My biggest challenge was accepting that nothing happens overnight. Good government does not happen overnight. Opportunities to prove yourself in a field like public administration do not happen overnight. Patience is very important and you cannot always be perfect. You can only be yourself and work as hard as you can to achieve a particular goal.
My next steps are to finish my MPA studies and continue to serve the Borough of Prospect Park under the leadership of Mayor Khairullah. If the opportunity arises to lead a particular local government, I would be the youngest in the country. My ultimate dream is to find myself leading public policy efforts in Washington D.C.
Advice to incoming students?
My advice to incoming students is to find your passion and more importantly to be you. You never stop discovering yourself in a program like SPAA and you will never stop relying on the support SPAA provides you to reach your potential. Everyone works at their own pace and success will come to you if you do your part utilizing the resources SPAA has to offer.