Baruch names Chiandredi Johnson salutatorian of the Class of 2021

CJ Profile

Baruch College

Farah Javed, Managing Editor

Baruch College named the salutatorian of the Class of 2021 as Chiandredi Johnson, a Macaulay Honors student who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in accounting.

The distinction of salutatorian comes with the honor of being the second highest-ranking student in a graduating class. In addition to achieving academic excellence, Johnson gave back to the community through both leadership roles at Baruch and volunteering.

Though Johnson came to Baruch inspired by high school business classes for a career in accounting, she joined the Pre-Law Society her freshman year.

“My experience was honestly lifesaving,” she said. “PLS was with me all four years of college, and because of the inspiring professionals and students I met through this club, I could honestly feel my personal and professional growth.”

Johnson is appreciative of the skills she learned, such as networking, managing finances and organizing events. She cites all of these as building a strong foundation for her future career.

Having held positions in PLS every year of college, from assistant treasurer to treasurer to finally co-president, Johnson said she plans to pursue law school one day.

“I chose law because I think it’s the ‘language of society’ and loved the combination I got with accounting and law,” Johnson said. “I want to understand my country, and I want to understand all the effects it has on my community, whether through business or the law. I feel with both careers, I am giving myself the most options to get involved and help.”

She also dedicated her time as a Honors Ambassador and Honors Program Peer Mentor to not only provide knowledge to potential students, but also to represent other women of color.

“As a woman of color, I wanted to be a recognizable face for students who are like me,” she said. “Coming into Baruch through Macaulay, there weren’t a lot of Black students I could connect with, and I was the only student recruited into Macaulay from my high school, so I felt alone. However, by stepping out of my comfort zone and reaching out to my classmates, I was able to overcome a lot of social challenges.”

By acting as an example of success, she said she strived to inspire women of color following a similar path as her to feel less alone and afraid.

In addition to extracurricular activities, Johnson volunteered with Services for the Underserved, a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring every person has housing and has their needs met. She also volunteered with the New York City Animal Care Center.

In her spare time, she could be found destressing through kickboxing or playing a game with the New York Rugby Club.

Her post-graduation schedule is just as busy.

This summer, she is interning at PwC’s Real Estate Tax Group. In the fall, she plans to get a master’s degree in taxation at the Zicklin School of Business.

She then hopes to transition to PwC full-time and finish her CPA requirements. After, she wishes to attend law school and become a real-estate/M&A tax attorney.

Still, she maintains entrepreneurial aspirations, with hopes of starting “many businesses” in the future.

Johnson punctuates her undergraduate career at Baruch with encouragement for her fellow graduates.

“My experiences are unique to me, but I hope everyone can look at themselves and realize the worth in their journey and how amazing they are for reaching their current stage,” she said. “I don’t want people to compare their accomplishments with mine. I want them to say, ‘Ah, she’s working hard. I have my own goals and will work hard too.’”