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Zarin Tasnim

College: Macaulay Honors College | Lehman College
Awards: Fulbright U.S. Student Program, 2014

Teaching English in Korea

As an immigrant from Bangladesh, 2014 Fulbright winner Zarin Tasnim faced resistance at home when she said she wanted to become a lawyer and work with survivors of domestic violence and others who have been disenfranchised.

“Because my cultural background has a very conservative view of women and their role in society, I had to work hard to convince my parents and others around me that I am capable of taking on such challenges and that it’s my right to do so,” says Tasnim (Macaulay Honors College at Lehman College, B.A. in political science and history, 2014).

She’s not afraid of challenges. She’s off to South Korea to teach conversational English to elementary or secondary school students through a yearlong 2014 Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. This is her second trip to Korea; in Fall 2012 she took advantage of Lehman’s exchange program with Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul to study Korean language and culture for the semester. She previously had spent a year studying Korean at Queens College.

She previously traveled to Florence, Italy, to study Renaissance History through the College of Staten Island’s Study Abroad Program. She has interned at the New York State Attorney General’s Office and at the New York Country District Attorney’s Office. She intends to apply to law school after her return from Korea.

Tasnim received a number of academic awards, including the Horace W. Goldsmith Scholarship, Jewish Foundation for Education of Women Scholarship, Freeman Asia Scholarship and a St. George’s Society Scholarship.

“She is definitely one of our stars,” says professor Gary Schwartz, a Greek and Latin scholar who directs the Macaulay Honors College at Lehman and the Lehman Scholars Program. “Zarin is an exceptional combination of intellect, tact, sensitivity, insight and leadership.”

“The reason I applied for the Fulbright, and all the other scholarships and programs for that matter, was because of Dr. Schwartz and my other professors – [cultural anthropologist] Richard Blot and [political scientist] Ira Bloom – who have been so encouraging and always pushing me,” Tasnim says. “It’s really inspiring to have people who believe in you so much.”