When Nainika Paul was in 6th grade her mom introduced her to the concept of international diplomacy by educating her about that career path. Shortly after that, she took Mr. Stawick’s Middle School Civics class at TCS. Since then, she’s had her heart set on becoming a U.S. diplomat in the Middle East.

Nainika graduated from TCS in 2015. Now just three years later, she is earning her Bachelor’s Degree in political science from Rutgers University. She also holds two minors in international and global studies & women and gender studies and will be honored with the Chancellor’s Award, which is a very prestigious honor at Rutgers.

Nainika is grateful for the foundation that was laid as a student at TCS and she is still seeing the impact it continues to have.

“I’m particularly thankful for the freedom Ms. Hartzler gave me to take AP U.S. History and A.P. World History, two AP courses that were not offered at TCS at the time. She allowed me to take them online. My Spanish class with Mrs. Solarzano also had a major impact on me as I learned just as much about the culture as I did the language. Also being a part of the debate team further opened my eyes to politics and morality – it really prepared me and gave me a foundation,” says Nainika. “The willingness of my teachers at TCS to listen and learn more about what I wanted to do was so encouraging.”

Nainika has also been studying Arabic since 11th grade – a language that will no doubt benefit her as she pursues her dream. In September, she will attend Johns Hopkins SAIS (School of Advanced and International Studies) in Washington, D.C. focusing on international relations with a concentration in diplomacy.

“TCS was definitely my home from 2-12th grade. The way I made Rutgers my home was to join several organizations including a Christian organization called YoungLife. To keep grounded in my faith, I was involved with my home church in Metuchen. I’m hoping I can find a church home and another space in grad school where I’ll feel as welcomed and have the unique Christian community experience that I had at TCS. Finding a new community is what I’m most nervous and excited about,” says Nainika.

This self-proclaimed planner realizes all the planning in the world will not prepare her fully for the future.

“You can plan 10,000 steps in advance but if you don’t turn to God every step of the way it’s not going to add up to anything. That’s the lesson that my parents and TCS taught me,” says Nainika.

Please join us in congratulating Nainika and praying for her as she takes the next step in her journey!

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