Across NYU Schools, Cathy Thinks Critically and Explores Liberally

As an undergraduate, Cathy Zhang explores her diverse interests at CAS, Stern, and Steinhardt

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Cathy posing next to a pond for a photo.

 

Cathy Zhang has always been an entrepreneur at heart. At age 12, she noticed that everyone was wearing hair bows and promptly started her own hair bow business. “I remember walking around campus with ribbon samples and paper to log purchases,” she recalls. Then, three years later, she started an online store selling apparel and accessories. Buoyed by her early business successes, Cathy chose to major in Economics at the NYU College of Arts and Science (CAS). But she also wanted to keep exploring. “Economics is the foundation of many other subjects, and at NYU, I’ve realized how to apply it in a liberal arts context,” she explains. Now, she’s studying across NYU schools, minoring in Business Studies at the Stern School of Business and Digital Art and Design at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. And her diverse interests don’t end there.

An Entrepreneur and an Explorer

In just one year of selling hair bows to her fellow middle schoolers, Cathy earned over $600. But it wasn’t just the financial success that appealed to her. When it came to her online store, she wanted to build a business from the ground up. She ran its social media channels, purchased a website domain, and began learning the basics of graphic and web design. At NYU, she’s been able to combine and build on these varied interests and skill sets.

In addition to her major and two minors in schools across NYU, Cathy stays busy outside of the classroom. She’s worked as a teaching assistant, held multiple internships, joined cultural clubs, and tutored her fellow students. “There are opportunities to get involved at so many different points during your time at NYU,” she affirms. “It’s a great place to explore multiple avenues of study and find engaging experiences to suit any interest.”

The Quantitative and the Qualitative

At first glance, Cathy’s minors in Business Studies and Digital Art and Design appear unrelated. But that’s what attracted her to the fields in the first place. “I like engaging the left brain and the right brain—the quantitative and the creative,” she explains. “I really like how NYU gives you so much flexibility in choosing majors, double majors, minors—however many minors you want. I’ve been able to explore so many classes outside of my major and minors, too.”

According to Cathy, the Business Studies program provides an opportunity to develop her quantitative skills and think analytically and critically. At the same time, the Digital Art and Design program offers an artistic outlet, blending technical skills with creativity. Furthermore, by studying across NYU schools, she benefits from the rich and varied knowledge of their respective professors—all established professionals in their fields.

Cathy and friends sitting next to the fountain in Washington Square Park.

Clubs, Organizations, and Other Activities

Over the past four years, Cathy has used her time outside the classroom to explore new areas, build on her current skill set, and learn new skills. And even her extracurriculars have spanned across NYU schools. During her junior year, she tutored students in economics through the University Learning Center. After taking Introduction to Web Design, she approached the professor to become a teaching assistant and graded coursework for the spring and fall semesters. As a Chinese American, she’s treasurer of the NYU Asian American Women’s Alliance (AAWA). Moreover, Cathy has studied abroad in Shanghai and interned at a manufacturing company and a real estate brokerage firm.

“When I came to NYU, I had no expectations about where university life would take me,” Cathy concludes. “I took every day as it came and talked to as many people as I could. I viewed choosing classes as an opportunity to learn things that were intrinsically motivating to me. NYU provides so many resources to find your niche, so even those studying similar subjects can have an entirely different story. It’s an amazing part of this school.”