Past Features

July 11, 2005 (Vol. 1, No. 10)

Friendship Follows Two Students into Graduate School

Robin Vaughn (l.) with Shannon Gilstad
Robin Vaughn (l.) with Shannon Gilstad

For almost two years, sociology majors Shannon Gilstad and Robin Vaughn have been partners in academics, pushing one another to set higher goals and then reaching for them. Although the two graduated from Lehman in June, they will have a chance to team up again in graduate school–they've both been accepted to master's programs at the New School University.

Gilstad, who is considering a career in urban renewal, has been accepted into the Urban Policy Analysis and Management program. "There is no place like the Bronx," she says, "and one of my dreams has always been to purchase and restore buildings in the South Bronx."

Vaughn will be attending the New School's program in sociology on a partial scholarship. Her plans for the future include earning a Ph.D. and becoming a professor of sociology. "I want some day to apply my knowledge and experience to the betterment of society in the name of progressivism," she explains.

As an undergraduate, Vaughn was enrolled in the SEEK Program, the Lehman Scholars Program, and the McNair Scholars Program. She credits Professor Gary Schwartz of the Languages and Literatures Department with motivating her to succeed. "Without his guidance, I would not have accomplished half of what I have," she says. "It is through these programs that I have learned to go the extra mile." Vaughn also draws inspiration from her SEEK family, which she has remained loyal to by continuing to serve as a tutor in the SEEK Tutoring Center.

At Lehman, the two women were also involved in running the sociology club–Vaughn was its president and Gilstad served as vice president. Gilstad says that joining the club gave her a sense of belonging.

Both women agree that their friendship has helped them remain focused and driven. Each achieved membership in the Golden Key, Alpha Kappa Delta and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.

"Though Shan and I will be attending different programs, I am positive that we will meet up together as often as possible, just because we have become great friends," says Vaughn.