College Spotlight – Lynn University

College Spotlight: Watson Institute, Lynn University

Freshman Year Update

By Lima Sarhadi
May, 2020

College Expert Counselor: Ryan Luse

Lynn University

My name is Lima Sarhadi, and I am from Kabul Afghanistan. I am currently a Watson Institute Scholar at Lynn University located in Boca Raton, Florida! My dream to attend a U.S. college started when I was 14. Although I love my country so much, it wasn’t safe for someone who thinks of herself as a butterfly, as I do. Most of the time I wasn’t able to leave the house by myself. 

I was so lucky to receive a scholarship from North Cedar Academy, a private school in Wisconsin when I was 14. Even though I didn’t speak English yet, I knew this opportunity would change my life!

On the first day of my new school, the very first class I had was U.S. History. Since I wasn’t able to understand English yet, I just looked at my U.S. History teacher’s quickly moving mouth in awe for the whole period. After months of working hard on my speaking skills, I started communicating with friends and teachers. One day, a friend said, “Lima, you are talking to me!” I was finally able to explain to my friends that I am not a shy person, I just couldn’t communicate in English at first. 

I loved my new school even though it was very hard at first.  I became very involved in teaching art and cultural events, and I even volunteered at our local hospital.

My classmates at North Cedar Academy
Showcasing Afghan cultural items

I knew I wanted to attend college in the U.S., but unfortunately, North Cedar Academy lost our college counselor during my senior year, so I was left with little guidance to navigate the U.S college system. I met Ryan Luse and learned about College Expert in 2018 when Ryan came to North Cedar Academy to help my classmates and me with the college application process. I was able to get further support with Ryan and the College Expert team during that year’s Jam Sessions. 

Lima, Ryan & Prudence

Ryan encouraged me to apply to Lynn University because of its unique Watson Institute. The Watson Institute is a reimagined model of education for next-generation innovators, leaders, and entrepreneurs. Not only did I get in, but I also got a fantastic scholarship

My Watson friends

My first year at Lynn was life-changing. I made new friends and was involved with the Boca community.  Classes were difficult, but I had the Lynn University support system to help me when I needed it. There is so much I am doing at Lynn University, even in just my first year.

I landed an on-campus job in the IT department. I love it! My job requires me to issue ipads for new students, help students with printing & scanning, and update Apple. T.V.’s, and answer phone calls.

On the job with the IT department

I am also the President of Rotaract at Lynn University and a member of the Boca Raton Rotary Club who represents Lynn University.

Fellow Lynn University Rotaract members

I also landed my first college internship supporting Zaytouna Foods, Sales, and Marketing Specialist. As part of my internship, I am building a blog to add more content like recipes and showcasing products. Also, I am creating a newsletter with links to the blog, sharing everything on social media, and inviting people to go to the website. In addition, I am creating email marketing campaigns for customers. This internship allows me to think outside of the box and multi-task based on ideas, goals, and metrics. 

I joined the Map the System Oxford College. This worldwide organization is a competition. My two teammates and I passionately researched youth unemployment in Liberia, working hard every Friday from 9:00 pm until 12:00 pm for seven months to create our proposal, and it was accepted! In June 2020 we will present our research paper at Oxford University in London. 

Working with my teammates on the Map the System competition

During COVID 19, I started taking some online classes. Luckily I finished Essentials of Entrepreneurship: Thinking & Action from UCI, Behavioral Finance from Duke University,  Managing Project Risks and Changes from UCI. Looking forward to finishing Financial Markets from Yale University, The Science of Well-Being from Yale University, Introduction to Psychology from the University of Toronto, Professional Skills for International Business from the University of London. I am more than halfway through all of these classes. My goal is to finish them all before my Lynn University classes end. 

At the Watson Institute, I work on my mission, AFEC (Afghan Female Educational Center). Its goal is to contribute to women empowerment through education, income generation, and human rights awareness. I am trying to help anyhow, not just Afghan women but worldwide women who need help and support. 

I am also a part of B-Corp consultant students at Lynn University. I am working on analyzing and helping Kannico Agency, which is a nonprofitable business in Boca Raton, on integrating a social impact component into their business model, in turn, becoming B-Corp certified.

Thanks for reading my blog!  If you want to follow my journey or want to connect, you can follow me:

LinkedIn: Lima Sarhadi
Instagram: Lsarhadi, afec_impact
Twitter: @SarhadiLima, @AfecAfghan
Facebook: afecimpact 

Best wishes,

Lima Sarhadi


Lima’s father once told her, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” Like her father, Lima believes that education is the key to success and plans to fight to achieve her goals and ignore those voices telling her she can’t, not just for herself but for girls who can’t speak for themselves.