The Rising Scholar

March 9, 2021

Pforzheimer Honors College student Debra Perlman ’21 has been extremely busy in her time here at Pace. She’s been part of the first-year and second-year honor societies, Alpha Lambda Delta and Lambda Sigma, a member of the Pace Women in Tech organization, a participant in Pace’s NYC Design Factory, and even a 2019 Forbes Under 30 Summit scholar—not to mention her internships with major companies.

Before all of that success, though, she told us that she’s always had her eye on attending Pace. “I had been interested in Pace since I was a freshman in high school,” Perlman explained. “I ended up visiting campus multiple times. Each time, I had this feeling, like this is where I belong and this is where I need to be.” She met extensively  with staff members from the Admission team, Seidenberg, and the Honors College, which further solidified her decision to attend.

Originally, Perlman chose to major in computer science, but she was struggling to learn code in high school. “Though I still wanted to go into computing, I also had an interest in business, as I was planning to and already pursued marketing, accounting, and other business-oriented classes,” she explained. She attended a Pace Admitted Students Day event with this in mind, and spoke to a staff member from Seidenberg about her interests. That’s when she found out about a different major. “Information systems combines two of my favorite subjects and passions—technology and business—into a degree program that is perfect for me,” Perlman said.

She took those passions all the way to the top: along with three of her fellow Seidenberg students, Perlman attended the 2019 Forbes Under 30 Summit as a scholar. There, she got the chance to network with other like-minded peers and attend several panels, one of which left a lasting impression on her. “[It was] about social media influencers and design in the media,” she explained. “At that time, I was apprehensive about my own social media and public media endeavors, but seeing this panel [...] gave me the new perspective that social media isn’t all about the likes, it’s about the engagement with others, and showing them and yourself your passion.” Since then, Perlman told us she felt empowered to post more about fashion on her social media, and gain followers “organically over time.” You can read more about her experience at the summit on Seidenberg’s blog.

But Perlman’s ambition didn’t stop there! She’s also interned for two major (and very different) companies: Mount Sinai and 1-800-FLOWERS. “This was my first ever job,” she said of the Mount Sinai position, where she filed claims for a government project concerning hospital expenses. “My small team had to file millions of these claims in a short time,” Perlman told us, going on to explain that her coworkers “took me under their wing” to explain the ropes of the job and the industry. “Working there was an experience that changed my life, giving me both life and corporate skills.”

Her internship in the marketing department for 1-800-FLOWERS was more “technology and project management-based,” she said. “I was responsible for many tasks including email marketing tasks, website QA (quality assurance), assisting in managing offshore developer tasks, daily sales reporting, and [more].” Perlman said the office environment was very inclusive, and the team made great efforts to involve their group of interns in many activities. Her advice to students looking to get the most out of their job opportunities? Ask for help.

“I know that asking for help, especially for me at first, was embarrassing, and I felt like I did not want to bother my managers. But I learned it is more efficient to ask for help rather than have to [redo] a task or have it taken away. Asking for help no matter when I needed it is one important reason why I was so successful.”

Wise words that will surely carry Perlman through to her next incredible opportunity. We can’t wait to hear what she pursues next!