When LIU Post’s College of Education, Information, and Technology’s Student Council held a meeting for students interested in joining the organization, it wasn’t only to inform students about the council itself, but also to warmly welcome CEIT’s new Dean, Dr. Barbara Garii.
The CEIT Student Council is a group of students, led by president Sarah Naqvi-Syed, who studied Adolescence Education with a concentration in English and graduated with a Bachelor in English Literature from the university.
At the meeting, which took place on Thursday, Nov. 13, Naqvi-Syed said the organization was dedicated to bring together the students and the faculty of LIU Post, provide networking opportunities for students that are interested in internships, and broaden the horizons of all students enrolled in at Post.
“We are trying to make our presence known on campus, and let you know what our mission statement is, which is to facilitate communication among students, [and to] bridge the gap between the students and the faculty,” Naqvi-Syed said.
Students and faculty were brought together as Dean Garii and CEIT professors held the “Dunkin’ With the Dean” event, where Dean Garii did not spend much time hiding. Garii was sincere with the students, and made everyone feel comfortable, not wanting us students to feel that she was hiding behind a huge bureaucracy – the first word that popped into my head when The Pioneer interviewed Dean Garii was “transparency.” Garii pointed out that she wants to engage communication, as well as hear the opinions and requests of the student body. “We are a team,” Garii said.
Dean Garii is a person filled with enthusiasm and energy, and that is not only inherent in her presence, but also through her career. Garii started her undergraduate career dreaming of working within TV and radio. She managed to get a full time job as a talk show-host and producer, until one year after working in the sales industry landed a job at an insurance company. This career change prompted Garii to pursue a master’s degree in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling at Seattle University.
During the years that followed, she developed an interest in public health, especially the tools associated with advancing the general health of communities; she went back to school for a PhD. in Epidemiology. Before becoming CEIT’s new dean, Garii worked as a middle and high school mathematics teacher for 10 years, which lead her to train educators at Lesley University in Cambridge. Through Lesley, she got to Oswego, where she became an Associate Dean. From Oswego, she found a new home at LIU Post.
“Why did I tell you this long, convoluted story? Because it wasn’t linear; because where I started out dreaming, where I wanted to be, is not where I am, yet every job I had helped me get to where I am, and I think [w]hat we all are trying to say is that have your passion,” Garii said. “Have your dream.”
Garii then explained how she wants students to get that entry job, which in her eyes is the first step on the market that later will lead you to your dream job, even if you are unaware of where it is yet. This is Garii’s main drive – to give students a fair chance of using their theoretical skills in a real environment, and to gain experience from their choice industry.
“The past few years there have been some great things going on, and we are developing some partnerships with K-12 [online learning] schools in our teacher prep-programs. We have partnerships that we are establishing with businesses, industries, and hospitals in the region, and I want to build on those,” Garii explained.