Emma Pontillo is a senior at Fordham University and will graduate in May with a BA in Digital Technology and Emerging Media. She is also pursuing a minor in International Humanitarian Studies. She discovered her passion for global aid after a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she worked with the Kliptown Youth Program. After witnessing the effort to provide education and resources to children there, she has become dedicated to pursuing a career that provides fundamental resources to individuals around the world. Here is some more information about Emma!

Where is home? I was born in Toronto, Canada but I call Albany, New York home.

Education: I am currently a senior at Fordham University. I study Digital Technology and Emerging Media (Communications). I am also minoring in International Humanitarian Studies, and hope to eventually pursue a graduate degree in Public Health.

CMMB volunteer post: I am interning with the Strategy and Innovation team as a content producer. I have been gaining so much experience and have started writing content for CMMB’s website. I am really looking forward to new experiences with this team as my time at CMMB continues.

If you were asked to sum yourself up in two words, which two would you choose? Lover of cats and anything chocolate

Why CMMB? I was drawn to CMMB primarily because of the importance of dignity and sustainability in all of their programs. It is one thing to provide resources to a vulnerable community, but it is another to provide resources in a sustainable way. I wanted to be a part of an organization that focuses on the long-term effects of their service, and CMMB is truly dedicated to doing so.

What are you most proud of? I think I am most proud of the connections I have made and kept over the years. Before I called Albany home, I moved around the country quite a bit. Making new friends every three years wasn’t always easy. But, because of it, I was able to meet so many different people from so many different places. I am most proud of the relationships I have kept with friends as our paths have changed.

Imagine you are stuck in an elevator. Who would you most like to be stuck with? And why? Definitely Misty Copeland. She was the first African American woman to become principle dancer for the American Ballet Theater. I danced all throughout high school and she was a role model for my dance team. She also didn’t start dancing until she was thirteen (most dancers who go on to be professionals, let alone principle dancers, have been dancing their entire lives).

You are featured in the NY Times or your national newspaper. What’s the headline? “Emma Pontillo, opens cat sanctuary in Vermont.”

What would be your theme song? The theme song to the Friends television series.

Imagine if you were an animal or instrument – which would you be and why? As a loving owner of three cats (yes I know, three cats is almost too many) I would have to choose a cat. My cats are most certainly spoiled and with the exception of going to the vet, they have the most relaxing lives. I wouldn’t be against trying it out for a day or two.

What is your hope for your experience volunteering with CMMB? I hope to gain some hands-on experience in the day-to-day operations of a leading non-profit. This is the type of work I hope to pursue post graduation, so I want to test out what it is like to pursue a career in the humanitarian sector.

Favorite quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

What book should everyone read? Why? Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand is my favorite book of all time. I read this book almost five years ago and it still stands as my favorite. The story is heartbreaking and inspirational, and it absolutely blew me away.

Who would you like to play you in the movie of your life? Emma Stone. Although the only things we have in common are our names and our short hair, she is my favorite actress.

What is your hope for the future? I hope to work towards a happy and healthy life not only for myself, but for others as well. I hope that whatever job or career I end up with works to better the lives of others.

Favorite speech or Tedtalk: Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech at the United Nations.

If you could solve one world problem, what would it be? The education gap is really important to me. I have volunteered in under-resourced schools during my time at Fordham. This experience taught me the importance of a well-rounded education the second children start school. It has also taught me the implications of falling behind, simply because of a lack of adequate resources.

What are the three things you are most grateful for? 1) My parents, 2)My friends, 3)My health

Who is your biggest inspiration? Why? Both my mom and my dad are my biggest inspirations. I would not be who I am, or where I am today without their support.


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