Tamana “Tami” Sarwari began working as a senior barista at the Noble Cafe in Sparkill, NY, last year, serving up artfully designed lattes and other coffee crafts to St. Thomas Aquinas College professors and students. Day after day, the friendships she developed through these over-the-counter conversations piqued her interest in becoming part of the STAC community. Now, with their support behind her, Tami is officially a Spartan—and a first-year psychology major.
After getting to know Tami from her frequent visits to the coffeehouse, Dr. Staci Shultz says she is confident that Tami will impact people’s lives when she enters the psychology field. “When the cafe first opened, everyone was excited about a new space to come together, but Tami, with her big smile and kind nature, quickly became the star,” she says. “When she decided she was interested in STAC, she had a built-in community of mentors lined up to provide support. Based on her interactions with customers, it doesn’t take much effort to imagine what a natural she will be with clients.”
Dr. Shultz points out that Tami brings the same level of dedication to her studies as she does to her job. “In her first semester, she has proven herself to be as diligent with her schoolwork as she is with her work at the coffee shop,” she says. “In fact, you can often find her there during the quiet periods, typing away on an assignment.”
Tami, a New Jersey native, credits her positive attitude and dedicated work ethic to her greatest role model, her mom. “She is a hard-working mom who goes above and beyond to make us happy,” she says. “She inspires me to do everything I do, and she’s always told me to stay positive and smile. I love her so much!”
She has applied her mom’s advice to her client-facing job, which has also helped Tami overcome shyness and bring her communication skills “to a new level.” These skills, which she is continuing to develop as a STAC student, are essential in every career, but especially in her field of choice.
Being a commuter student is convenient when it comes to her busy school and work schedules, but Tami is also eager to be involved in student life on campus. A member of the Psychology Club, she encourages other students to join clubs and activities as a way to meet new people. The connections she’s already made in her first semester are opening new doors for her as well. After chatting with a friend about STAC’s Criminal Justice program, she’s considering the possibility of a minor in that subject as well.
The future looks very promising for Tami. In five years, she plans to have a bachelor’s degree and a real estate license so she can pursue dual professions. “I want to become a psychologist for teenagers and have a side job in real estate,” she says. “I want to save money, invest in properties, and rent them out.”
In her free time, Tami listens to international music, binge-watches the Netflix show Cobra Kai, and enjoys outdoor adventures like zip-lining.