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January 10, 2019

Nahtahniel Reel-Yehudah: Building a Better Future

Nahtahniel Reel-Yehudah, 14′

Nahtahniel Reel-Yehudah was born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and was a product of the city’s public schools, but it was only on a trip to Costa Rica that he found his calling.

As a Levermore Global Scholar, ReelYehudah had the opportunity to learn about the connections between sustainable development and peace building that have been forged by Costa Rican city planners and elected officials.

“That molded my passion for structural development,” he said. “Costa Rica dedicated military funds for sustainable development. It’s a pretty dope country.”

Through Adelphi’s pre-engineering joint degree program with Columbia University, Reel-Yehudah completed two bachelor’s degrees and then went on to earn a master of science in construction management and administration from Columbia as well. Today, he is a project engineer at Transom Builders Group in East Harlem and mentors high school students interested in STEM topics.

Reel-Yehudah’s road to studying abroad and getting a degree at an Ivy League school wasn’t an easy one. While still in high school, he saw early that there would be challenges ahead.

“Toward my senior year, I realized that if I wanted to get into a really good college, I’d have to do extracurricular projects and summer programs,” he said. He enrolled in pre-college programs at Cornell and Princeton, pushing for courses in physics when they weren’t already offered.

“That sharpened my preparations for college,” he said. “Coming from an inner-city school, you’re not necessarily ready for college. And then Adelphi prepared me to transfer to Columbia. I was really ready to take on that curriculum thanks to Adelphi.”

Reel-Yehudah also found help in preparing for college life, transferring and eventually the working world through Adelphi’s Center for Professional and Career Development. With convenience on campus and tailored expertise, the Career Center was always there to point him in the right direction.

“I received much help with creating, editing and constantly updating my résumé with people like Ms. Bernadine Waller,” he said. “I also was given advice on the right Work-Study job on campus and summer internships and research. What made it convenient was that it was right near the bus stop, cafeteria and convenience store, and I would occasionally have class near the Career Center. Overall, they helped and assisted in any way possible when it came to furthering my career, both short term and long term.”

The 2014 graduate remains a presence at Adelphi. In 2017, he was named one of the University’s 10 Under 10 young alumni of achievement.

“When I got the letter from Adelphi, it really cleared up my journey,” he said. “I was very honored. My journey is still going but it started off pretty rough.”


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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves almost 8,000 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online. 

More than 116,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.

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