Haby Gadio, a student and Let’s Get Ready Site Director at Barnard College, is a natural leader and high-achiever, with her eyes set on a career in helping others as part of a nonprofit or governmental organization. “I hope to make a positive impact in my community and on a global scale,” she asserts, and she’s already proven that she can.

Soon after starting her freshman year in college, Haby began the Columbia-backed project Bac in Senegal, working in the small villages of the country from which her parents emigrated. The program was a peer-to-peer tutoring effort that helped students pass a college entrance exam (the baccalaureate), a method which, as Gadio points out, is very similar to how Let’s Get Ready helped her as a high school student in New York City.Haby, outside, in front of a brick wall

“Going to college was my dream!” says Haby. “My parents didn’t go to college, so I had to learn how to navigate the application process and SAT.” Her high school counselor introduced her to Let’s Get Ready, which provides free SAT tutoring as well as help with college selection and application to students from low-income backgrounds.

Haby took full advantage of Let’s Get Ready’s College Access program. “My SAT score improved tremendously,” she says of her 300-point increase. “Writing used to be the most difficult subject for me, but my verbal coach Nicole was dedicated to making sure I succeeded and determined to help me improve my score.” Nicole helped Haby on her college application essay while offering “tricks” to help her improve her Writing section score.

“My math Coach Sarah was great because she made sure that I continued to practice my math skills all throughout the summer,” Haby adds. “We are still in contact after many years, and we both became Site Directors!” With her coaches’ help, Haby made a successful bid for the selective Barnard and began her studies in the fall of 2015.

As a Site Director at Barnard, Haby recruits and oversees a team of coaches, and takes great pleasure in maintaining a positive culture among her team. “These students are some of the most dedicated I have ever seen, and each semester the applicant pool is even more talented and committed to Let’s Get Ready,” she says. “Some travel for more than 2 hours just to get here. The students all have different backgrounds and experiences, and as a Site Director I get the chance to learn from them as well. I love to interact with them and listen to their stories.”

Armed with her education, leadership skills, and drive Haby Gadio is poised to realize her dream of a career in civic service. She has been approved to pursue a combined major in both political science and human rights.