Reed adjusting to Ivy League school
Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City. At Columbia, Reed is involved in clubs and activities and is majoring in operational research. COURTESY
Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed, second from left, traveled to Morocco in North Africa this past summer to teach SAT prep to Moroccan high school students wanting to attend college in the United States. COURTESY
Shown here with Colombia University mascot “Roar-ee” the lion, Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is a Columbia University dance team member. The team performs hip-hop, jazz and pom-style routines. It performs at home basketball and volleyball games as well as competes regionally and nationally. COURTESY
NEW YORK CITY – Cherokee Nation citizen Miriam Reed is in her second year at Columbia University, where she said she’s adjusting well to college life and New York City.
The 2016 Tahlequah High School graduate chose Columbia after attending its “Engineering Days.”
To pay for her higher learning, she received an annual scholarship of $73,000 for four years from the university and earned the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Receiving the two scholarships not only pay for schooling and books, it also covers living expenses. However, Reed still maintains a part-time job.
The transition to a big city and an Ivy League school was “surprisingly” smooth for Reed. She said she was part of an academic success program that introduced students to the campus and classes before their first semester began, which made adjustment easier.
“I was homesick at first. You miss trees more than you think you would and just little things that you wouldn’t think would be different,” Reed said. “I was part of a five-week program before classes even got started where there was fewer people, and they really took the time to introduce you to the campus and had crash course over the courses you were going to take before you took them for a grade. So it was a bit easier adjustment than it could have been if I didn’t have that.”
Now a sophomore, Reed has declared her major in operational research with hopes of working for a large corporation to understand finance and how businesses work.
“I would like to ultimately work for a nonprofit and maybe teach them how to get small businesses running or maybe teach finance classes to local communities,” she said.
She also enjoys participating in activities such as the Native American Council, Engineering Without Boarders Club, Society of Women Engineers Club, a sorority and dance team.
Being active and networking at Columbia also offered Reed the opportunity to travel this past summer to Morocco in North Africa to teach SAT prep to high school students looking to attend college in the United States.
“I got to go to Morocco to work for someone I met through Columbia. So I got to help them with their essays and help them study for the SAT and prepare them for what it’s like, taking any of their questions they had like what college is like in the United States and any misconceptions and really connect with them, which was really exciting,” she said.
She said she never expected to have so many opportunities, but she realized networking is important for opportunities.
Reed said attending an Ivy League school was intimidating initially, but now it’s home.
“I had this preconceived idea that Ivy League schools were terrible and you can’t ever sleep or work, but that wasn’t accurate,” she said. “A lot of people say you’re just a number when you go to a school that big, but I wouldn’t say that’s true at Columbia. I have professors that really care, like if you miss class, they’ll email you and make sure your doing OK. You can still find your place and not be just a passing face. It’s still possible to feel at home.”
She said even though being at home and around friends is comfortable, she’s happy she’s attending college outside Oklahoma. “Honestly, it’s been so rewarding, and I have learned a lot about myself, and I appreciate my roots a lot more now that I was able to experience being away from home and being around other people.”