Columbia Alums Prep High School Students for SAT

Students during session

BROOKLYN—On Saturday, a team of volunteers representing the BAC shared an afternoon with over 40 high school students to tutor and teach smart approaches to taking the SAT.

The workshop, organized by the Catalyst Network Foundation (CNF), featured two sessions covering strategies for the math and verbal sections of the test. CNF engages under-served and high-potential youth with opportunities to grow through academic and career development programs and activities.

Volunteers from National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and alumni from Harvard and Princeton also partnered with CNF for the session.

Strategy Post ItsLarge Post Its used to outline key test taking techiques. Photo by Michael Rain

Joy Achuonjei ‘11CC, a senior admissions officer at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for Columbia College and SEAS led a presentation on the college application process. Students were led through a set of examples of comparative applicants to get a better sense of how the Admissions office approaches selecting candidates that offer a range of interests, academic records and leadership experience.

On the day, Ms. Achuonjei expressed that, “the impact of even small acts of community service cannot be overstated. After all, these are our communities and all of our futures.”

She added, “I was so impressed with the number of high school students who came out on a rainy Saturday morning to learn about how to prepare for the SAT. The energy in the room was almost tangible and there is no doubt that the participants walked away with more information about how to set themselves up for success in the college process.”

Also representing Columbia were volunteers, Dr. Tiffani Bright ’07, ’08, ‘09GSAS, Cristina Ciprian-Matthews ‘10CC, Kevin Matthews ‘80CC and Michael Rain ‘10GS.

Joy speaking with studentJoy Achuonjei speaks with students about admissions and the SAT. Photo by Michael Rain

Cristina Matthews teachingCristina Ciprian-Matthews leads verbal workshop session. Photo by Michael Rain

“We are truly appreciative of Black Alumni Council partnering with CNF and exposing young scholars to graduates of Columbia who share similar backgrounds as the students,” exclaimed Laurel Djoukeng, executive director of CNF. “This only strengthens their belief that they too can score high on the SAT and receive admittance to elite educational programs.”

“We look forward to collaborating with the BAC in the near future and hope to establish a long-term partnership with Columbia University,” said Mr. Djoukeng.

Last year the BAC partnered with CNF on a college panel, and is currently planning a Debate and College Admission events to take place this fall and next spring.

BAC Vice President, Kevin Matthews shared, “It is not only our privilege, but also our responsibility as black alumni to use all of our talents and resources to uplift our collective communities, particularly for the young people following in our footsteps.”

CNF SAT Workshop Group Photo 10_FotorBAC, NSBE, Harvard and Princeton volunteers with CNF team members. Photo by Michael Rain

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For more information about how you can get involved with BAC community giving contact Michael Rain at

For more information on the Catalyst Network Foundation visit:

Michael Rain is the communication chair for the BAC. He can be reached at