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Alumna receives coveted hosting job with ProjectExplorer.org

 

When Vijaya Selvaraju (BBA, 2008) first walked into instructor James Howard’s management communications class at UTSC, she had no idea that her future had already begun. At the time, Selvaraju was pursuing a BBA management and life sciences degree, but was beginning to worry she’d picked the wrong career path for herself. A few classes with Howard convinced her of this.
“Instructor Howard changed my life,” says Selvaraju. “He taught me how to be a professional, polished speaker. I’ve always been a very confident person, but needed a nurturing mentor to help me realize my full potential and the power of my own voice. James Howard was that person."
Inspired, Selvaraju began experimenting with video production in her free time, hosting promotional clips for the management co-op program. Upon graduating she travelled through Europe to produce her own YouTube series about international cuisine called Foodcapades.  Soon, Selvaraju had committed herself to building an on-screen career. “The way I communicate my passion and enthusiasm is through video,” she says. “My experiences at UTSC helped me figure this out.”
While working as an assistant talent coordinator on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Selvaraju never stopped dreamed and scheming for her big break. “The truth is, I secretly wanted to be in front of the camera myself!” Selvaraju kept at it, and finally, the belief in herself that she’d found in that classroom at UTSC paid off.
Last March, Selvaraju received a highly coveted hosting job with Projectexplorer.org, an award-winning non-profit organization based in New York City that creates free educational travel videos for children and school teachers. Last June, she spent three weeks having the time of her life in Mexico City, Oaxaca and the Yucatan Peninsula, hosting 25 short videos for ProjectExplorer.org’s new Mucho Mexico series.
"I was the vehicle through which students learned about Mexico, “says Selvaraju. “From mountaintop temples to local markets, the series covers a wide variety of subjects. And I am consistently able to see the immense benefit that students receive from our programming. This re-energizes my pursuit to be a better educator."
Selvaraju used to obsess over National Geographic magazine as a child. Now, she is bringing her own magical experiences to children everywhere.
Not unlike her alma mater, the mission of ProjectExplorer.org is to foster the next generation of global citizens by encouraging them to think deeply about the larger world. Last year, the NGO won the prestigious Parents’ Choice Gold Award, which honours the best in educational resources for children. And this April, Selvaraju will leave for her next international assignment—in Thailand.
“Knowing that my BBA education would support me no matter what I pursued,” says Selvaraju, “I decided to transform my passion into a career. Presenting for ProjectExplorer.org is a dream job, and I feel fortunate to have found it so soon after leaving UTSC.”




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