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Empowering Success

Like most of her peers in the incoming class of 2015, Ilana Seidl, NTC ’20, fell for Tulane. 

That emotional tumble, however, was quickly followed by a real-life fall. Early in her first semester, Seidl tripped on a jagged sidewalk outside of campus and tore a ligament in her foot. The injury required surgery and a three-month recovery period with no walking. Feeling this was no way to start college, Seidl took a leave of absence from the university. 

Returning to campus the following year, she praises Newcomb-Tulane College’s Success Coaching program as being “one of the best things Tulane has” in preparing her comeback and setting her up for success.

“Anyone can use coaching,” says Seidl. “The most successful people in the world hire coaches and have people that help them reach levels of success. It has nothing to do with needing extra help in a negative way.”

Partnering with Success Coach Kimberly Charlesworth, Seidl says she used their meetings to develop her personal management style. The pair focused on her ability to break larger projects into smaller, more actionable goals, which gave her the confidence in tackling her work and encouraged her to be more flexible in her high expectations for herself. 

She also used her sessions to explore her academic interests, plunging into the idea of learning computer science. Seidl did not believe herself qualified to pursue the subject despite her persisting curiosity. Conversations with Charlesworth, however, paired with the academic skills she was developing in coaching, changed her perspective. 

“It’s just working hard and not what my math grades were in high school,” says Seidl. “That’s not really what will dictate my success…just sticking through it and continuing.”

With that in mind, Seidl signed up for her first computer science class her second semester back at Tulane. Now, she’s a senior double majoring in psychology and computer science.

Seidl continues to apply her coaching-developed workflow as a teaching assistant for the computer science department and when working on The Root;  a weekly, female-focused financial newsletter she co-founded with 2,000+ subscribers.

When looking forward to life beyond Tulane, Seidl hopes to combine her interests in the financial tech field. She wants to further develop financial management tools and make them more user friendly to eliminate barriers to investing, money management, and education. Seidl feels this work aligns with the “New Orleans and Tulane culture, of friendliness, caring for others, and being aware of those around [her].” 

“I became an adult in New Orleans and at Tulane,” says Seidl. “What I expect out of the rest of my life will be shaped by that experience.”


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