Lazar Paroški ’25 Integrates Classroom Knowledge to Make Real World Impact

The International Student Gained Recognition for his Invention, Algea3, at the Environment Assembly in Washington, D.C.

Student Success, Entrepreneurship

New Rochelle, N.Y. -- Lazar Paroški  ’25 is a shining example of what it means to make an impact. At Iona, Paroški is dedicated to merging his passion for science and entrepreneurship to creatively solve today’s most pressing issues. As a freshman, he wasted no time getting involved in numerous clubs on campus: Model UN, Iona International, and CEO club. He actively blends what he’s learning in the classroom and practically applies it to real-world scenarios.

“Iona literally shaped me into the person I am today,” he said. “Iona and being away from home gave me the opportunity to get to know myself first and after that to be independent and prepare for life after college.”

I am confident that my education at Iona will open so many doors and allow me to enter those doors with confidence.

This year, Paroški demonstrated his leadership skills by competing at the state level with the New York Venture Hub in Syracuse. Paroški placed first in his track for the Safety, Power, and Mobility category. He also took home $10,000 for his innovative idea, Algea3, which is a multifunctional park bench that cleans the air in urban environments with limited green space.

“Even as a biology major, I was able to dive into the business world as something that was always interesting to me and has something to do with any career path,” he said.

His commitment to being a changemaker continues with the Model UN club as well. Paroški participated in the Environment Assembly in Washington, D.C., where he won the Honorable Mention Delegation Award.

As a political science minor, Paroški maximized what he was learning inside the classroom during his internship at the General Consulate of the Republic of Serbia. He was responsible for representing Serbian students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States. Iona is 20 miles away from midtown, which made the opportunity easily accessible.

“When I was looking for schools in the USA, my plan was to look for small schools next to the big city. I never imagined being this close to New York City,” he said.
Paroški remains hopeful about the future. He feels well equipped and well connected with an Iona education. “I got so many opportunities to meet great alumni that can possibly help me with finding jobs and career paths in the future,” said the junior senator of the Student Government Association.

We talked recently with Paroški to learn more about his Iona journey. Please enjoy!

Student Name: Lazar Paroski
Graduation Year: 2025
Major: BS in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Environmental Biology
Minors: Political Science
Hometown:  Srbobran, Serbia

Why did you decide to attend Iona?
When I was looking for schools in the USA, my plan was to look for small schools next to the big city. I never imagined being this close to New York City.

What distinct advantages have you gained from your Iona experience?
Iona literally shaped me into the person I am today. Iona and being away from home gave me the opportunity to get to know myself first and after that to be independent and prepare for life after college. Something I gained from Iona and some of the reasons why I love this place so much, is the fact that Iona cares about its students. They want to help us achieve our goals and mold us for whatever path we choose to take. Some of the ways they do this is by having a huge alumni networking system where they bring alumni back to campus to talk about their experiences.

Even though I am a biology major, I was able to try myself into the business world as something that was always interesting to me. I gained experience with the business world through the Hynes Institute where I am developing my business idea and making it possible.

Have you interned anywhere? If so, how did you find the opportunity? What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I interned at the General Consulate of the Republic of Serbia when I was a freshman. I got this opportunity through the organization that I am part of outside of Iona, in which I serve as president for the region of the USA. I represent Serbian students studying undergraduate and graduate programs in the whole country. We help them come from Serbia and make sure they’re connected with other Serbian students in the areas where they are about to study.

Something that I enjoyed the most from this internship was the opportunity to work with amazing people in the consulate and learn all the services that one consulate or embassy offers to its citizens. This was also a great opportunity for me to experience working in Manhattan. Iona prepared me for this internship.

Tell us about your plans for the future. In what ways has Iona prepared you for the next step you will be taking?
As a biology major my plans are to continue my education after I graduate from Iona. I am confident that my education at Iona will open so many doors and allow me to enter those doors with confidence.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a positive impact on your future that you would like to mention?
One professor from Iona, Dr. Smiljana Petrovic, who is from the same city as me in Serbia introduced me to Iona over the phone. I checked Iona’s website and social media, and immediately fell in love with the school. Everything else when I came here is history.

What clubs, organizations or service projects are you involved with beyond the classroom?
I am involved in so many different things on campus. I decided to join rowing and continued doing it my whole freshman year. I have had the opportunity to experience what it means to be a Division I player. My freshman year, I was also in the Iona Players. I felt that I needed to be involved even more and give myself the opportunity to grow in so many different directions as a person and as a student. My sophomore year, I became a resident assistant, President of Iona International club, Gael guide, and I joined Model UN club where I got hands on experience talking at the various conferences about my passion with biology and climate change, combining that with my minor in political science. I am also on the e-board of the Gael Guides, serving as the co-development chair; I joined Bio club, CEO club, and I became junior senator with Student Government Association.

Some projects that I do outside the classroom are midnight runs with the Iona Mission and Ministry Department. I am also actively working with Hynes Institute and bringing my business idea to reality by competing in business competitions.

Is there anything else you'd like to add about your Iona experience?
Last January, the Iona International club organized the Serbian Day Festival where we got one of the best turn outs ever for the program organized by a few student run organizations. Having almost 200 people in attendance, professional Serbian dancers brought cultural aspects, as well as the consuls and vice consul from the General Consulate of the Republic of Serbia together. They all had the opportunity to try some Serbian food, learn about history, geography and be able to dive deeper into the culture of Serbia.

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.