I Got This

Kayla Stadeker ’23

For me, spending these past four years at Hofstra has been truly magical. Hofstra makes it easy to explore all my interests and customize my degree. I have three minors, I am an athlete, and I was able to study abroad in Spain, which changed my life and inspired me to apply to Columbia University.

Some of my favorite moments include being involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Black Student Union (BSU). Wednesdays and Thursdays are always my favorite nights because that’s when BSU and SGA meet. Even though the nights are sometimes long, knowing we’re doing work that’s going to impact students’ lives in a positive way makes it all worth it.

Everyone genuinely cares about how you’re doing here. When you’re not doing well, faculty and friends are there to support you. When you are doing well, they are around to praise you. We’re truly a family here.


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Kayla Stadeker knew Hofstra was for her when she was driving away.

Kayla Stadeker

“I had just finished my campus visit with my dad and as we were leaving, I was thinking: ‘I want to go back’,” Stadeker said.

A native of Smyrna, GA, Stadeker was looking to get out of the South for college, and liked the idea of being close to, but not in, New York City. The opportunity to be on the Division 1 cross-country track team sealed the deal.

Despite her demanding schedule as a student-athlete, Stadeker had time to discover passions she didn’t know she had, and a career path she never could have imagined four years ago. She took on three minors - Spanish, Criminology and Civic Engagement, along with her major in Global Studies and Geography.

In addition, she’s been a fellow with the Center for Civic Engagement and the Hofstra Votes voter registration campaign, as well as president of the Black Student Union, a Student Government Association officer, and a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She also served as a peer teacher for one of her professors, studied abroad in Spain and did internships with the national organization, Brady United Against Gun Violence, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia and the Suffolk County (NY) Human Rights Commission.

“There’s so much flexibility to take classes in so many disciplines. I know it might all sound a little random, but it really does fit together nicely,” she said. “Going someplace so far from home can be overwhelming, but the chance to explore my interests in athletics and outside athletics has made all the difference. I honestly don’t know that I would have been able to do this at any other institution.”

Her interest in social justice issues began in high school but blossomed during college. She also began to explore a new interest in international human rights and develop her leadership skills.

“I definitely didn’t envision myself being the president of BSU, but once I got involved, I wanted to go further and further into it,” she said. “It was such a welcoming space that I knew I wanted to create that for others, too.”

Now, her work with the BSU and SGA have become some of her favorite college memories.

“Those two organizations are the ones I think of the most when I think of favorite moments,” Stadeker said. “Just knowing that the work we’re doing benefits all students on campus, and we have fun doing it.”

Her summer in Spain solidified her interest in international affairs and inspired her to apply to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, where she’ll pursue a graduate degree in international affairs, with a concentration in human rights and humanitarian policy. She hopes to one day work for the foreign service, the United Nations or a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Even with her resume, though, Stadeker felt intimidated at the prospect of applying to an Ivy League graduate school.

» Kayla’s story isn’t unique. In fact, among Hofstra University’s 2020-2021 undergraduate degree recipients, 97% of alumni from the Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (65% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation. Visit our outcomes page at hofstra.edu/outcomes for detailed information.

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