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Face of CUNY: Zicklin Undergraduate Erin McCarthy Is #BaruchUnstoppable

March 26, 2024

If you’ve ridden a subway or PATH train lately, you might have seen a CUNY ad featuring a smiling, flame-haired young woman sitting under a tree, working on a laptop and holding a cat. It’s CUNY’s “A Degree for Every Dream” campaign featuring real students, and this one is Zicklin digital marketing major Erin McCarthy (BBA, ’26) of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She sat down for an interview with Zicklin News. 

Zicklin News: How did you get chosen for this campaign?  

Erin McCarthy: I saw a post on @cunybystudents, CUNY’s Finsta [unofficial Instagram account], that said they were looking for students. They told us to tag ourselves. I’m a model and an influencer so I have a big social media following. They found my Instagram page and chose me.  

ZN: Is that your cat in the ad?  

EM: Yes! They asked me at the last minute if I had a pet I could bring. Her name is Saoirse [pronounced “Seer-sha”]. She was on a leash so she would stay on my lap.    

ZN: Tell us more about being a model.   

EM: I’m signed to the Wilhelmina agency in New York and Los Angeles. I’m in the sports and fitness division. I’m an athlete—in high school I was on the varsity teams for soccer, softball, and basketball. I also played golf but my school didn’t have a team, and I competed on my own in Olympic weightlifting.  

ZN: Tell us more about being an influencer.  

EM: I have 39,000 followers on Instagram and 12,000 on TikTok. I post content about mental health. I’ve had a lot of mental health diagnoses and I’ve always been an advocate. I post knowledge so people have support.  

ZN: How did you end up at Baruch and the Zicklin School?  

EM: I was very familiar with Baruch because my sister was a Macaulay Honors student here. My first career choice was to become a lawyer and a judge. I studied law for two years at University College Dublin in Ireland and decided the law wasn’t for me. But I also did a business minor and when I got back to New York that’s what I pursued.  

ZN: Tell us about some of your favorite classes. 

EM: I really enjoyed studying Microeconomics with Sebastien Buttet and Business Communication with Marcus Dargan.  

ZN: What’s next for you?  

EM: I have a lot of ideas. I’d like to work in fitness—I’ve worked as a fitness instructor and personal trainer at several gyms. One day I’d like to have my own gym and leverage my digital marketing skills to grow the business.  Erin McCarthy, smiling woman with long curly red hair

ZN: Is there anything else you’d like us to know?   

EM: If you’re struggling with mental health issues, know that you’re not alone. I’ve had to withdraw from classes when my mental health challenges got overwhelming, but I’m still here and I’m on track to graduate in 2026. Don’t give up; keep looking for help. I was recently diagnosed with autism and I’m 24 years old. Now I have a new treatment plan with very different therapy. It’s been amazing! 

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