Meet Tara Staines

Tara Staines is a sophomore here at TCNJ, studying Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics and minoring in Actuarial Science. She is so dedicated to her work that Tara spent almost an entire year at TCNJ, minus her spring break! When Tara’s not solving the world’s problems with math (honestly I have no clue how it all works, I’m just a Liberal Arts student), she’s trying to catch a New Jersey Devils game. That, my friends, is called balance and Tara is great at it. 

IMG Source: Tara Staines

Tara is a part of the EOF Program, as well as a mentor for the P.R.I.D.E Mentoring Program, and an Alumni/Company Outreach Chair for Actuarial Science Club. I had the chance to ask Tara some questions about her  time here at TCNJ!

2. What was the highlight of your year?

Tara: It was hands down working for TCNJ’s EOF Program. This past summer I was a Study Coach/Program Assistant (PA) for the Summer Scholars Program. For those who don’t know, the Summer Scholars Program is a 5-week program for incoming freshmen students (the majority of those coming from low socio-economic backgrounds). During the program, I tutored a STEM Innovations course that centered around Astrodynamics and Electrical Circuits. This opportunity allowed me to better develop my leadership skills, work closely with and support the incoming freshmen, and go through the Summer Scholars Program a second time but as a PA instead.

IMG Source: Tara Staines

2. If you could change one thing about your freshman year, what would you change and why?

Tara: If I could change one thing about my freshman year, it would be the expectations I set for myself. While I believe in the importance of setting the bar high for yourself, it’s important to make time for your mental health along with maintaining your academics. After experiencing burnout, I’ve become more mentally aware of my limits which I am thankful for. This is something I often lost sight of and wish I could’ve changed sooner than I had.

3. What is a favorite memory you’ve made at TCNJ so far?

Tara: My favorite memory I’ve made at TCNJ so far is being a part of the Summer Scholars Program as a student. I tended to be very focused and timid all throughout high school. Through the program, I learned that it’s possible to succeed academically while also maintaining a social life and giving back. If I didn’t have this experience, I might not have changed my perspective. I could have easily missed out on the incredible opportunities and people that TCNJ has provided me this far so I am incredibly thankful and blessed for this experience.

4. What are your goals you hope to accomplish by the end of your sophomore year at TCNJ?

Tara: I hope to pass my first actuarial exam (hopefully on the first try!), make Dean’s List, obtain an internship, and be proud and cognizant of my achievements along the way.

5. What advice do you have for students at TCNJ? 

Tara: I would tell them to stay focused but to be open to new experiences. At TCNJ, you meet so many new people who have very different backgrounds. You shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself. At times your friends might ask you to do something you might have never considered such as singing karaoke at a TCNJ CUB event, running for Student Government, or joining a club that you were embarrassed to go to alone. Embrace who you are and enjoy the fun moments that college has. You can only experience this once, so do what makes you happy and keep your academics a priority in the meantime!

Tara is dedicated not only to her studies here at TCNJ, but also everything else she puts her heart into. From being a student in EOF, becoming a PA and being able to tutor students who shared the same passion as her, Tara continues to shine her way through college. 

IMG Source: Tara Staines

She plans on taking her first actuary exam in January and as for the future, despite being in the School of Science, she hopes to work in business postgrad. I absolutely wish the best of luck in everything she does, as she is one of the kindest people I’ve had the chance of meeting last year in EOF. If you see her around campus, make sure to say hi!