Affectionately referred to as the “Mother of UMLA” by her fellow peers, Deborah Alves serves as a true inspiration to single mothers and non-traditional students. After transferring to BMCC from the Brooklyn College BC Bound HSE program, Deborah struggled with remedial math. She connected to UMLA on the recommendation of her BC Bound director and received the mentoring she needed to pass her course. After satisfying her remedial coursework, Deborah continued to excel academically, earning a place on the Dean’s List. She went on to become an Each One Reach One peer mentor and UMLA Ambassador, helping her fellow students to achieve academic success at each step of the way. Deborah provides a great example for her three daughters, two of whom are attending college at the same time as her!
Deborah graduated from BMCC with honors in spring 2017 and will travel to Greece in summer 2017 to study Political Science. In fall 2017, she will return to Brooklyn College to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Sustainability with a concentration in Economics.
Fabrice Charlemagne continues to set the bar for student success at BMCC. As an UMLA Ambassador and STEM advocate, Fabrice worked to expose his fellow students to opportunities in research and the sciences. He served as the treasurer of the Honor Society of Black Student Scholars, and worked on research projects through the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP). Fabrice also was a volunteer research assistant at the NYU Conceptual Development and Social Cognition Lab.
Fabrice has participated in numerous pipeline programs to enhance his knowledge of the medical/health field including the Summer Health Professions Education Program at the University of Florida, the Try on White Coat Program at SUNY Upstate University, and the Mentoring in Medicine Community Health Ambassador Mentoring Program.
Fabrice graduated from BMCC in spring 2017 with a degree in Liberal Arts and will pursue a double-major in Biology and English at Stony Brook University beginning fall 2017.
John Fields first connected with UMLA at the 10th Annual CUNY BMI Conference at John Jay through a chance meeting with CUNY BMI University Director Dr. Jermaine Wright. Since then, John has exhibited exemplary leadership on the BMCC campus, where he is a “big brother” to many. As an UMLA Ambassador, John met with school leaders to propose new programs to provide resources to formerly incarcerated students. He served as the treasurer for the Urban Mentors & Leaders Association Club for the 2016-2017 academic years, and was a student representative for the BMCC Student Government Association. Additionally, John was a mentor for the College Initiative program, where he provided guidance to students at BMCC who were impacted by the criminal justice system. John was a recipient of both the College Initiative and Pinkerton scholarships. As a CUNY Service Corps member, John worked at the 125th Street Business Improvement District to improve the experiences of those who live, work, visit and invest in the Harlem community. John was recently elected to the BMCC Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee, where he will advocate for student rights throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.
John graduated in spring 2017 from BMCC with a degree in criminal justice, and will study Criminal Justice with a minor in Security Management at John Jay in fall 2017.
Before joining UMLA, Tredesha Howard served as the Secretary of the BMCC Student Government Association, where she worked to enhance supplemental academic resources for students and support student clubs on campus. She became a member of UMLA on the recommendation of a fellow executive in her student government. Tredesha served as the president of the Honor Society of Black Student Scholars Club, was an UMLA Ambassador, and supported students who were struggling academically as an Each One Reach One peer mentor. Tredesha was a key figure in the successful effort to bring an Honors Program to BMCC, which was a major victory for students interested in transferring to highly competitive four year colleges. Tredesha is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. As a result of her exemplary leadership efforts, Tredesha earned a CUNY Vice Chancellor’s Award for her participation in the CUNY Malave Leadership Academy.
Tredesha graduated with honors from BMCC in spring 2017 and will attend Baruch College in fall 2017, where she will major in Finance.
Through focus and hard work, Emmanuel Loyoki has established himself as a model CUNY BMI student. Emmanuel served as the secretary of the Honor Society of Black Student Scholars, where he helped to build a thriving community of high-achieving students of color. He utilized his leadership skills to help struggling students improve their grades through the BMCC Strive for Success program. He is also an active member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. In 2016, Emmanuel was selected to become an UMLA Ambassador, where he further enhanced his leadership and presentation skills. Emmanuel is also an Out-in-Two Scholarship award recipient.
Emmanuel graduated with honors from BMCC in spring 2017 with a degree in Liberal Arts. He will attend Brooklyn College beginning fall 2017 and study Kinesiology.
Mallah-Divine Mallah has made a remarkable transition after nearly 20 years of incarceration. He enrolled at BMCC just nine months after his release. Since coming home, Mallah has published a book, The Hidden Hand: Duality of Self, served as an UMLA Ambassador where he led numerous workshops on topics involving the criminal justice system, and was a key contributor to The Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the successful #Closerikers campaign. A sought-after speaker and youth advocate, Mallah has used his incredible story to educate others on criminal justice reform and prison labor. Mallah is currently one of the chief organizers of the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March, which takes place August, 19, 2017 in Washington D.C. Mallah also served as the secretary for the Urban Mentors & Leaders Association Club.
Mallah graduated from BMCC in spring 2017 with degree in Computer Network Technology and will pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems BTech at New York City College of Technology beginning fall 2017.
Tiffany Diaz is an alumnus of the Future Now Program. Tiffany graduated with her GED in 2013 and then enrolled in BCC as a Human Service Major. She also completed the Burberry internship. She graduated from Bronx Community College in 2016 and is now attending Lehman College obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. Tiffany’s persistence and dedication has led her to great success in her academic journey. She works at Future Now peer mentoring college students and helping them to persist with their dreams. Tiffany’s goal is to graduate with her masters in Social Work and help the youth in her community.
Bryan Ramirez is an alumnus of the Future Now Program. Shortly, after obtaining his High School Diploma and completing college prep, He enrolled at BCC as a computer programming major with the ambition to become a software developer in the nearest future. Bryan is most known for his hard work and dedication. At Future Now, he has served as a tutor and a mentor. With his amazing computer skills he has assisted the college team with handling large amount of data used by the program to make informed decisions and predictions. Bryan graduated from Bronx Community College on June 2017 and has been accepted to Baruch College for the fall 17 as a Computer Programming major.
Veronica Rodriguez is an alumnus of the Future Now Program. Shortly, after obtaining her GED Diploma and completing college prep, she enrolled at BCC as a Human Service major with the ambition of becoming a School Social Worker Veronica is most known for her ambition and dedication as a mother and student. At BCC, she has served as a peer-mentor for the Counseling Center. With her amazing skills in case management and outreach, she helped assist the college team in bring awareness in mental health. Veronica graduated with her Associates Degree in June 2016 and is now attending Lehman College where she is pursuing a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Social Work
Salim Sabi is an alumnus of the Future Now Program. Salim started attending the Future Now program in March 2013; when he first arrived at the program he was at a Pre-HSE level. He later passed the Tabe exam and was eligible for the regular HSE classes. Despite having a language barrier, he was able to pass the predictor, passed the HSE exam, attended college prep, took the CAT and passed the whole exam avoiding any remedial courses. He enrolled into the spring 2014 semester and graduated with honors in 2016. He is currently attending City College where he is majoring in Biology. Salim plans to start attending medical school next year.
Jazmin is an Anthropology and Caribbean Studies double major. She is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow at Brooklyn College as well as a CUNY Pipeline Fellow. As a Mellon Mays Fellow, Jazmin has been able to use her research on the media representations of Neo-African religions and its practitioners in order to serve the broader community and help alleviate the stereotypes which often shadow these particular groups. Jazmin is also the Alumni Coordinator for the non-profit organization Egbe Iwa in which she helps graduates from the Yoruba based rights of passage program to return and mentor new students. She has also made it her responsibility to tutor elementary and high school students in the areas of social studies, U.S history, and Chemistry. While maintaining a 3.9 GPA, Jazmin has been accepted into a Global and Sociocultural Studies PhD program at Florida International University in which she will start in the upcoming Fall 2017 semester.
Shadiq Williams was born and raised in Brooklyn by parents who came to New York City from Trinidad. By the sixth grade, he joined the Legrosports Judo Club and took second place representing the United States alongside them in the 2010 Barbados International Tournament. After officially retiring from judo in 2011, Shadiq became a founding father of the New Design High School Gentlemen’s Group, which is a mentorship program for young men in that high school. Shadiq taught himself graphic design along the way and decided applied to Brooklyn College to invest in his growing interest in technology with hopes of eventually becoming an entrepreneur. Throughout his time as a Brooklyn College student, he became a student ambassador for the Black and Latino Male Initiative, was elected president of the NAACP club, joined Nu Omega Chi Community Service Fraternity, Inc., became the first student member of the First College Year Advisory Board, and co-founded the Brooklyn College Student Diversity Advisory Board — all while maintaining a 3.76 GPA. Shadiq stated “I owe all of these accomplishments to the greater Brooklyn College community that helped foster my growing investment in activism and my Caribbean heritage”.
Shoshana M. Brown
Shoshana M. Brown is a proud graduate of the CUNY Law Pipeline to Justice Program. During her law school tenure, Shoshana contributed to numerous student organizations, including CUNY Law Review, the Advanced Trial Team, and the Black Law Students Association. She received fellowships from the national Ms. JD program and the Sorensen Center for International Peace and Justice. Shoshana’s passion for human rights led her across the globe as a legal intern for the U.N. Tribunal in Cambodia and domestically as a law clerk for the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights. Prior to law school, Shoshana worked for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Caribbean Women’s Health Association. Shoshana earned her Masters of Public Health Degree from NYU and received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Miami.
Liliana Canela is a native of the Dominican Republic and migrated to the United States when she was 11 years old. She grew up in Queens, New York and attended Brandeis University as a recipient of the Posse Foundation Full-Tuition Scholarship. As a student at Brandeis, she interned in Massachusetts’ former Governor Deval Patrick’s Constituent Services office, and through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, she interned at US Senator Charles Schumer’s Washington, D.C. office. After graduation, she worked for former New York City Council Member James Sanders, Jr. and then went on to work as a paralegal at the Legal Aid Society, Civil Practice. After working at the Legal Aid Society for over two years, she enrolled at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law to pursue her dream of becoming an attorney.
In her first year at CUNY School of Law, she was selected to participate in the New York City Bar Association’s Diversity Fellowship and was placed at Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, where she was exposed to the world of civil litigation. Liliana continued to supplement her legal education and her passion for public interest by interning at the New York City’s Human Rights Commission, in Governor Cuomo’s Tenants Protection Unit and with Judge Margo K. Brodie in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Liliana was also selected to participate in the New York City Law Department’s Summer Honors Program, where she will be working upon graduation as an Assistant Corporation Counsel.
Jennifer Magarinos is a first generation American preparing to graduate from CUNY Law. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from SUNY Old Westbury. During her time at SUNY Old Westbury she helped start the History & Philosophy Club and participated in the Student Government Association.
After college Jennifer was accepted into the CUNY Law Pipeline to Justice Program where she was offered support and mentorship for both the LSAT and her law school career. At CUNY Law Jennifer was involved with campus life as a board member for the Public Interest Law Association, the Domestic Violence Coalition, the 2017 Graduation Committee, and as a staff member at CUNY Law Review. During her 3L year at CUNY she worked in the Immigrant and Non-Citizens Rights Clinic’s Deportation Defense Docket as part of a student litigation team representing clients in immigration proceedings.
While at CUNY School of Law, she was awarded the Columbian Lawyers Association Scholarship, the CUNY Law Pipeline fellowship and the Public Interest Law Association fellowship. In the fall she will be starting her new position as a staff attorney at Brooklyn Defender Services in the Family Defense Practice.
Victor E. Negron, Esq.
In 2006, Victor E. Negron, Esq., began to attend Lehman College. While he attended Lehman College, he was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha the National Political Science Honor Society. In 2010, he ultimately obtained from Lehman College a Bachelor of Arts with a major in political science.
After extensively studying the political and social conditions of minorities in New York City, coupled with the disparate treatment that he was subjected to as a young Hispanic male by the NYPD, it created within him a deep-rooted desire for social change and justice.
In 2011, CUNY School of Law bestowed upon him a life changing opportunity, by inviting him to participate in the CUNY Pipeline to Justice Program. In the Pipeline to Justice program, he received guidance and instruction for the LSAT examination. In 2012, he was accepted to attend CUNY School of Law. In 2014, he was chosen to take part in CUNY School of Law Defender’s Clinic. In 2015, he graduated with a Juris Doctor from CUNY School of Law, and in the same year he passed the New York State Bar Examination.
Today, Mr. Negron, Esq., is employed with Maldonado & Cruz, PLLC., a boutique law firm located in the Bronx, focusing on criminal defense law, elder law, landlord and tenant disputes, estate law, and election law.
Cesar Vargas was the National Latino Outreach strategist for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign and a nationally recognized leader and innovator at the forefront of the fight for immigration reform and the DREAM Act. He has been recognized by Huffintonpost’s 40 under 40 Latinos in American politics. Cesar was brought to New York from Mexico at age 5 after his father passed away. He excelled academically and was an honors student in both college and law school. As an undocumented law graduate from CUNY School of Law, he led the fight for equal opportunity and access to the practice of law.
Cesar works at the heart of the DREAMer movement, the most-vigorous pro-immigrant push by the advocacy communities to date. Nationwide and on Capitol Hill, Cesar and his organization he co-founded, the Dream Action Coalition, have taken the gloves off in the policy battle for a better immigration policy. His advocacy and story helped in the national efforts to convince President Obama to broaden opportunities for millions of undocumented by expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and creating the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA.
Cesar applied to join the New York bar in 2012, but the Second Department’s Committee on Character and Fitness recommended against his application because of his immigration status. In June, 2015, and after nearly three-years legal battle, a five-judge panel in New York ruled that Cesar can be admitted to practice law in the state he has called home for most of his life. On February, 3, he was finally sworn-in as a licensed attorney making history as the first undocumented lawyer to openly apply to the state of New York.
Tiheba Bain graduated CUNY Baccalaureate Interdisciplinary and Unique Studies Program in New York. Her focus and field of study is Psychology and women and the criminal justice system. She is a visionary who shares her experience and views as a public speaker, educational mentor, social justice advocate, and recovery coach.
Ms. Bain enrolled in Bronx Community College in August 2012, while there; she became actively involved in numerous organizations such as CUNY Black Male Initiative, College Initiative, College and Community Fellowship and Just Leadership USA.
During her tenure at B.C.C. Ms. Bain was president of the Speech Drama and Debate team and made the finals in the 2013 national competition, placed second in the 2015 Victor Hussein Essay Writing Award Competition, she was named the College and Community Fellowship 2015 Valedictorian and was recently honored at the 3rd Annual Recognize the Real Award Ceremony. She received her Associate’s Degree in 2015. Tiheba also a Justice-in-Education Scholar graduate of Columbia University. The Justice-in-Education Scholars Program provides educational opportunities at Columbia for formerly incarcerated persons through the School of Professional Studies.
Hondo Martinez participated in Hostos Community College Initiative’s summer intense program during the summer of 2013. He completed the program and attended Hostos C.C. in the fall. After completing one year at Hostos he earned top honors as a Dean’s List Award recipient before transferring to Lehman College. While at Lehman, Hondo received the ‘presidential scholar award’ (3.9 GPA) six consecutive semesters in addition to the; ‘Lehman’s Hero’s Award,’ ‘Lion’s Heart Award,’ and ‘Academic Excellence Award.’ Hondo graduated from Lehman at the end of the spring 2017 semester with double bachelor degrees. The first, a B.S. in Health Education & Promotion (3.98 GPA) and the second, a B.A. in Sociology with a concentration in Urban Studies & Social Inequalities (4.0 GPA.) He also graduated with Latin honors of summa cum laude (3.98 cumulative GPA) and departmental honors from sociology as well as being inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta (the international sociology honor society.) Hondo is the first in his family to graduate from college and plans to obtain a master’s degree in public health from Columbia University by 2020.
Ashley Baxter graduated in May 2017 from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and double minors in English and Political Science. She will be attending the University at Buffalo School of law in the fall 2017.
As a Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program and Urban Male Initiative Scholar at John Jay College, Ashley was a mentor and member of the Faculty-Student Disciplinary Committee. A firm believer in social justice, she volunteered at the John Jay Women’s Center for Gender Justice and advocated for restorative justice through the Prison-to-College Pipeline Program. This summer, she will be an RHB Bridge Intern at AXA Equitable. Ashley was a peer mentor for the Prep Program I students. She hopes to pursue a career in public interest law to protect the rights of disenfranchised people.
Mileika Lovick graduated with a BA in Law and Society and minors in Dispute Resolution and Latin American and Latina/o Studies with Honors. Mileika completed both summer programs and has continuously been on the Dean’s List. She has completed internships at the Queen’s Legal Aid Society, at the Brooklyn Criminal Court with Hon. Joanne Quiñones, the NY Office of the Attorney General in Harlem and at the Kings County Supreme Court with the Hon. Justice Francois Rivera. Mileika was a peer mentor for the Prep Program I students. In Fall 2017, Mileika will be attending the University of Buffalo Law School.
Yuleisy Michel Audain
Yuleisy Michel Audain is an alum from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, originally from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. In the spring of 2016, she received her B.A. in English with a minor in both Film Studies and Theater Arts at John Jay College. During her time at John Jay, she worked with the Lloyd Sealy Library as The Lab technician, where she is responsible for lab oversight while helping students with tech support, a Peer Advocate with the Urban Male Initiative, aiding young mentees to understand their strengths and resources they have available at John Jay and has been part of many clubs on campus such as Campus Activity Board. Yuleisy has been an intern at Resonance Ensemble, where she assisted in producing groups of related theatrical presentations that resonate across countless times and cultures and confront universal themes and ideas significant to audiences of today.
Yuleisy also completed an internship at the Broadway League in the Education and Engagement department, which creates and supports Broadway industry education and community engagement programs for live theater. She is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honors Society for her outstanding grades and improvements in the English major throughout her college years. In the winter of 2016, Yuleisy became the Marketing and Communications assistant at Urban Male Initiative and as of the winter of 2017, she supervises the Peer Advocates Program
Paola (pronounced Paa-ohh-laa) Castillo received her Bachelor’s degree in English and minor in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Throughout her undergraduate carreer she was extremely involved on campus, her most memorable experiences were the ones created while being a Urban Male Initiative as a Peer Advocate, SEEK student and studying abroad. During her undergraduate career, Paola has studied abroad in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, Ecuador, Greece and Brazil.
Exceeding her own expectations by studying abroad in four separate occasions, has been a great influence in helping her choose my career path. Her undergraduate opportunities have sparked her interest to become a professional in Student Affairs, and for this reason she went on to pursue a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Western Michigan University and completed this milestone this past May. She finds Student Affairs to be the vehicle in which she can merge both her cultural curiosity and passion for learning
Bevaughn Charles has been a student, volunteer, mentor and office personnel of the Urban Male Initiative at John Jay since 2010. In his early college career, Bevaughn wasn’t determined to finish college but a meeting conducted with the Urban Male Initiative program during his sophomore year heavily influenced and inspired him resulting in his completion of college and graduation with the class of 2013.
The leadership team of the organization inspired his efforts and he too took the initiative to lead other students to access and achieve their potential for great academics and extra-curricular activities. The vision of Black Male Initiative and their willingness to promote growth of student body and in and involvement in activities for brighter futures, laid the groundwork for an increasingly active role for Bevaughn. As a graduate student now, Bevaughn still keeps contact with many of the students he has mentored and even offers advice to the new and upcoming members of the Urban Male Initiative. He has been rooted in the vision and the steadfast in the path, looking to carry others onto a legacy of their own throughout the program.
Landy Familia is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who works with other health care professionals to provide basic emergency services to victims of trauma or acute illness before and during transportation to a hospital or another healthcare facility. Landy believes in delivering quality health care while maintaining a vision. People call an ambulance for a perceived emergency. Upon every encounter, no patient is the same and as such, each patient requires a level of care that is tailored to them. He is dedicated to providing compassion, kindness, respect, and love towards all patients.
Healthcare goes beyond a diagnosis and medical intervention; the human element is an integral part. People are more than their illness or symptoms and they need to be reminded of that through their moments of distress. Prior to becoming an EMT, Landy is currently a research assistant for the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies. In conjunction with his experience in the field and working alongside professionals representing the various facets of emergency management, his work is bridging the gap between theory and practice. Landy holds a BA in Fire and Emergency Service from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Jaraed J. Thomas
Jaraed J. Thomas graduated from John Jay College of criminal justice in June 2015 with a Bachelors of Arts with a major in Forensic Psychology and minors in Africana Studies and English. At John Jay, he was heavily involved in several student affairs offices such as the Office of Community Outreach and Service Learning, The Urban Male Initiative, Center for Career and Professional Development, Office of Strategic Initiatives, Office of Residence Life, and the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership. Jaraed won several awards during his undergraduate career such as the Vera Fellowship, Malcolm/King Scholarship, Dean’s list award and the C.U.N.Y. Vice Chancellors Excellence in Leadership award.
After graduating from John Jay, Jaraed accepted a position in a college preparatory urban boarding program, Boys Hope Girls Hope of New York. He works as a residential staff member and the Director of Admissions for the Boys Program. Jaraed works with 39 young men and 50 young women to help them gain access to higher education. In the fall of 2017, he will be matriculating to Loyola University Chicago to pursue his Master’s in Education with a concentration in Higher Education. During his time at Loyola, he will serve as the Quad Residence Director with a focus in Multicultural and Diversity programming at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. In the future, Jaraed J. Thomas plans to pursue a Ph.D. and hopes to better help serve students of color as they gain advancement in education.
Compton Alford has graduated from Kingsborough Community College with an associate’s degree in Liberal arts during winter 2017. He chose Liberal Arts because he wanted trying to find what really interested him the most. He has gained a lot of knowledge from most subject’s such as literature, speech, sociology, psychology, etc. this has helped him mature more in thought, especially attending the Men’s Resource Center. This center assisted him in reaching heights he thought were impossible and thanks to the resources that was provide he was able to obtain his first actual full time job. Now he is currently working in IT department learning about computer programming.
Kwesi Baird is a graduate of KBCC and now pursuing a BFA degree in acting. At Brooklyn College. He has tried many different hobbies in his life such as piano, boxing, poetry and art, but he says that nothing has given him the joy that acting has. He aspires to be a person of positive change, something that was in stilled in him from his peer-mediation days. Going into the BFA program, he would like to be an Actor, Poet, and Writer. He wants to have his own show and tell a story that can affect the hearts of a growing and changing world for the better. He would like to live a life that can inspire love and patients.
Upon graduating from KCC, Herve Bertrand aspires to continue his studies in Psychology with a focus on how it pertains to athletics. With this, he would like to help athletes achieve maximum performance through mental skills training. As a former collegiate soccer player, he has come to the conclusion that a great deal of achievement in any sport comes as much from mental fortitude as well as physical.
In addition to Sports Psychology, he would also like to establish a sporting event company. He believes that the inner city athletes have large amounts of potential but are mostly not championed because of their lack of exposure. He said “With this platform, we can help players gain exposure in order to collegiate scholarship or professional contracts ultimately improving their quality of life”.
He feels that being a part of BMI has helped to transition back to my academic career smoothly. With the sense of community established by mentors and fellow students, BMI has become a catalyst for success. His contributions to the group will be to close the loop that he was offered by returning and offer mentoring services to younger students. With a focus on athletics, he hopes to better prepare athletes with techniques in mental skills training, helping foreign players transition, and peer to peer counseling.
Shadrach Farquharson is currently a Kingsborough Community College student who is majoring in Business Administration. After this semester, he will graduate from Kingsborough Community College. During the course of his school year, he has shifted his mindset to excelling in social and academic excellence. Thanks to the BMI program Shadrach feels that he now has a clearer path to success. He is very interested in attending Howard University, as well as, Baruch.
During his years at Kingsborough he has successfully managed Brothers United serving as President, while sustaining my 3.15 GPA. He loves to volunteer in much campus activity as possible so this way he’ll be able to better improve student body and mindset. His plan for the future is to develop a lounge for African Americans to strive for a New Age of Enlightenment. By opening up this specific lounger he will gather old and new minds so that this way everyone will be able to develop a healthier, sustainable, and collaborative world.
Eudy Lopez received his High School Equivalency diploma as a participant in the Lehman College Adult Learning Center in 2015 and immediately enrolled in Borough of Manhattan Community College for the fall semester of 2016. Eudy was recently awarded the Peter Jennings Laurel Scholarship, which is given to exemplary HSE students who continue their college study at CUNY. He maintains a 4.0 grade point average at BMCC, is currently on the Dean’s List, and intends to continue in his studies at CUNY. Eudy is interested in studying psychology and plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree with the hope of pursuing an advanced degree in the field.
Diane Butler graduated from Lehman College with a Bachelor’s Degree in History with a minor in Childhood Education, Magna Cum Laude, in spring 2017. Ms. Butler joined the Urban Male Leadership Program in fall 2013 and was inducted into the UMLP in May 2014.
The UMLP has been a great asset to Diane throughout her time at Lehman College. The workshops, mentoring, academic assistance and keynote speakers, have assisted her to grow as a leader in her academics, personal and social life. She has received great a lot of support from UMLP staff members, as they have helped guide her through her academic career. She was recognized as the Urban Female Leader of the Year in May 2015 due to her consistent dedication and commitment to the UMLP and Lehman College. Diane was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at Lehman College in 2017.
In fall 2017, Ms. Butler will begin her Master’s Program at Lehman College in Childhood Education. She plans on teaching in the New York City Public Schools. After obtaining teaching experience, Diane intends to teach in Children’s Cancer Hospitals.
Ernesto Escobar graduated from Lehman College in spring 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Italian. He joined the Urban Male Leadership Program in 2013. During his matriculation at Lehman, he was also a member of the Lehman Scholars Program and the CUNY Service Corps during his senior year. He has also volunteered for an organization dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault. Ernesto was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at Lehman College in 2017.Ernesto anticipates pursuing his Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in Psychology.
Growing up as a youth in Queens, Willie always pictured himself pursuing a higher education. His parents played a major role in grooming him to become a Black professional in society. He started at Lehman College in fall 2012. The Urban Male Leadership Program allowed him to enhance his leadership skills and he was inducted in May 2013. While at Lehman College, he received the UMLP Service Award in December 2015 and the UMLP Humanitarian Award in May 2017. He graduated from Lehman College in spring 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree, Cum Laude, in Health Services Administration.
Rilloux was born and raised in Haiti. He came to New York after the devastating earthquake in 2010. He then attended Lehman College, where he was inducted into the Urban Male Leadership Program, during his freshman year in May 2013. Rilloux graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Services Administration in spring 2016. He immediately enrolled within a Doctoral Program to pursue his Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy at Clarkson University. Rilloux hopes to open a clinic in Haiti, where he can aid those who have been affected by the earthquake and other social or economic challenges.
Candace Nepal graduated from Lehman College with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting, Magna Cum Laude, in spring 2017. Ms. Nepal was inducted into the Urban Male Leadership Program in May 2016 and holds membership in the Lehman Scholars Program. Candace was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society at Lehman College in 2017. Additionally, she is involved in the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance & Accounting (ALPFA) and the Lehman Bollywood Dance Club.
Following graduation, Candace plans to work at an accounting firm, prepare to obtain her CPA license, and then pursue her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).
Joshua Davis was born April 3, 1993 in Brooklyn, New York. A recent graduate is Medgar Evers College-CUNY, Brooklyn New York, where he was be awarded a Baccalaureate Degree of Science in Public Administration, May 2016. Being inducted into Pi Eta Kappa honor society in the spring of 2016, ignited a flame for academic excellence. He spearheaded mentoring programs in 3 New York City‘s public high schools, which got the attention of some of New York City’s prominent government officials. Gathering and compiling research on trying to close the achievement gap, morphed a short documentary film about a success story that benefited from the Brotherhood Mentoring Program: https://vimeo.com/77644692. From advocating in front of State and City Legislature to sitting on panels such as the Blue Ribbon Committee on education in the State of New York, Josh has receives numerous awards for community engagement and was even featured in online education publications and television networks talking about current politics and fighting to safeguard voters rights. You can catch him facilitating and designing programs for college students through the Black Male Initiative at Medgar Evers College.
Cyril Morgan is a Biology major who is in his junior year at Medgar Evers College. He is a proud product of the Medgar Evers BMI Pre- College program. Morgan believes the BMI Pre-College program is more than just a program to him. This is because program has provided him with the opportunity to go on and earn an Associate Degree with Honors ‘Magna Cum Laude’. He believes that the BMI pre-College has taught him how to persevere, and as such, he is not going to stop. Now, he is on his way to earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Cyril says he is more than grateful for the BMI Pre- College program and what it has done for him. He wants to everyone from the program who believed in him for their continued support and the awesome staff who works at the Medgar Evers Pre-College program.
Marc Reyes is a 21 years old student who enrolled in the BMI Pre- College Program at Medgar Evers College in January 2017. This fall 2017, he will be attending Medgar Evers College pursue a degree in Social Work. Growing up in a single parent household, Marc experienced a lot of struggles. Because of the difficulties he faced growing up, he lacked the motivation to continue high school, and eventually he turned to the streets. There were six siblings and his mother in the household and because she was a single parent, most of the time the children had to be dependent upon themselves for their survival. After dropping out of high school and turning to the streets, he found himself on the wrong side of the track. It took him 5 years to get a reality check, but he finally realized he wanted to change his life because he noticed everyone was moving on and he was still stuck in the same place not believing in himself. Eventually, he decided that he needed to make a change. As a result, he decided to get his HSE. Diploma, so he registered at the program at Medgar Evers College and quite recently he was successful in achieving his HSE Diploma, now he volunteers in the program as a peer-mentor., and he wants to study Social Work so that he can help others in his community aspire for a better life.
Nalda joined the BMI during her first semester in college in 2015 and ever since then she has been a member of the BMI. Although she is extremely brilliant, she faced many challenges due to her courses, but the BMI was able to help her get through it. In addition, she was able to pass Chemistry both Fall and Spring semester because of the tutoring that was offer in the BMI program. This semester she got an A in chemistry which is a big accomplishment especially since she didn’t think that it was possible, but the support that she received at the BMI office made her think that it is possible. She will be graduating in the Spring Semester of 2017 with an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts and Science while obtaining a 3.7GPA, but her journey doesn’t stop there. Nalda will be transferring from City Tech to Brooklyn College to continue her studies while majoring in Biology. Moreover, Nalda’s long term goal is to become a dermatologist or a Physician Assistant in dermatology.
After serving in The United States Marine Corps as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) and after the completion of two tours of duty during OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom). Javier came back to City Tech to finish his degree as an Applied Mathematics major. Coming back to school after being out for a considerably long time was an obstacle for him and he had to catch-up in most of the science and math courses. This meant a lot of self-study and discipline to refresh what Javier had previously learned. During his time in school, he worked as a Math tutor at the Veterans office at City Tech. As a member of City Tech’s BMI program, Javier also worked as part of the Peer Lead Team Learning (PLTL) in Chemistry and Mathematics. He presented and completed research programs in Mexico, Texas, Washington D.C., and New Mexico, in the United States as well in a 2016 summer internship program in Brookhaven National Laboratories. Javier received a National Science Foundation Scholarship during his last three semesters in City Tech and graduated as part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars with a Magna Cum Laude degree designation. His future plans are to continue giving back to the community and to continue on to graduate school for Computational Mathematics.
Francois J. Mertil
Francois J. Mertil graduated in fall 2016 with a Bachelor of Technology in Telecommunication Engineering Technology from New York City College of technology. Francois is a Peer Leader in Math – he conducts MAT 0650 (Remedial Math) and MAT 1575 (Calculus II) workshops. He is also a member of Honors Scholars Program, National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), Student Success Leader and the Black Male Initiative (BMI) program where he spends his entire undergrad years mentoring and tutoring his fellow students in STEM related subjects. Hence, his time is split between assisting, mentoring, and tutoring fellow students while simultaneously conducts cutting-edge research. Francois was a Scholar of Integrated Optics for Undergraduates (IOU) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Columbia University. He conducted research on “Programmable 4×4 Silicon Photonic Switch Fabric Composed of Mach Zehnder Interferometer (MZI)”. He is a former scholar of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) in Satellite and Ground-Based Remote Sensing at the Cooperative Remote Sensing Science and Technology (CREST) center, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). He was selected to participate in the Microsoft Research Data Science Summer School for summer 2017, and he was accepted to Cornell University to pursue his Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer engineering starting in Fall 2017.
Alexandra was an ESL Teacher in Far Rockaway, Queens for several years before returning to college to pursue an Associate in Science in Chemical Technology at the New York City College of Technology. She graduated in January of 2017 and plans to apply to Physician Assistant School next year. During her time at City Tech she was a recipient of the NSF S-STEM scholarship, Dean’s List, and the Academic Excellence Award in Chemistry.
Alexandra was actively involved in the Emerging Scholars program where she conducted research on photosensitizer and protein interactions. She gave presentations of her research at the American Chemical Society Undergraduate Research Symposium and at the 11th Annual City Tech Research Conference. Alexandra was also a Chemistry tutor for the Peer-Led Team Learning program and BMI STEM Tutoring program.
Nigel Barker graduated cum laude in May 2017 with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Corporate Finance. On campus, he rechartered and served as President for the National Association of Black Accountants, worked as a Supervisor in the Freshman Year Initiative program, and served as a mentor in the CUNY Black Male Initiative’s Project Excel program on campus. Off campus, he has volunteered to teach financial literacy to NYC high school students through Cents Ability and has played an active role in government as a Board Member of Community Board 12.
Nigel will be working full time with JP Morgan Asset Management and hopes to be a strong leader in business and government.
Project ExCEL (BMI) coordinator Rajiv Singh graduated Magna Cum Laude honors with his Bachelor of Arts degree in English in the fall of 2016. During his time at Queens College, Rajiv served as a peer mentor for Project ExCEL as well as a student ambassador for the SEEK program. Upon graduating, Rajiv was the recipient of the prestigious SEEK recognition for “Excellence in English,” as a result of his high GPA of 3.8 in his field-of-study in conjunction with the “Community Service Award” for his extensive work as a college ambassador.
In 2014, Webster Almonor after serving eight years in prison, joined the College Initiative where he met his mentor, Counselor and friend, Jessica Jensen. Through her guidance, Webster was able to enroll into City College of New York where he majored in Music in pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree. After enduring through so many adversities, Almonor has graduated from City College on June 2nd. Although re-entry continues to provide obstacles, Almonor plans to pursue employment in the field of music while continuing to learn and create from this art.
Salim Gnabode was born in Benin (West Africa) and graduated with a degree in Math from York College. He was extremely involved in the college community and was a member of the honor program, an elite group of students from the college. As well as a member of Pi Eta Kappa, the former President of the Premed Club and Vice-President of the Student Government Association. He was a physics tutor in the Earth and Physical Sciences department. Salim worked with Dr. John-Thones-Amenyo from the math department on a malaria project, and the Institute of Electrical Engineer Journal published their papers. He has been a Dean List recipient every semester, and received different awards, including the Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence in the Sciences and Math from the York College Foundation in 2014. The Thomas Jefferson Award is given to a student from the Natural Sciences and Math Departments after the chair of each department has nominated a student. The scholarship committee then chooses a recipient from the nominated student list. Salim will be attending Duke University School of Medicine Master of Biomedical Science from July 2017 to May 2018. His goal is to apply to medical school and become a spine orthopedic surgeon.
Irshaad Ishmail is an English Literature major. When asked why he chose York College to pursue his degree he had two simple reasons and they were that his elder brother was a student here and it was close to home. In retrospect, he said these should not have been reasons to choose a college, but it worked out for the best. What assisted him in being successful while attending York was being a part of a fraternity like PEK, which helped him throughout the years in the completion of his degree. In addition, interacting with students who, semester after semester studied hard and attained straight A’s was an effective source of motivation. His fraternity brothers also challenged him to be a better student. According to Irshaad, three factors contributed to achieving his goals in the last four years. The first was having a supportive family. The second was having mentors such as the Director of the Men’s Center, Professor Quash and lastly, putting in hard work. Success varies in meaning depending on the person. Figure out what it means to you, and while you are trying to attain it—what motivates your definition of success. Moreover, do not be afraid of that definition or you changing what that means to you along the way.
Durrell Washington is a Social Work major at York College. When asked what compelled him to attend York College his answer was, “York College is one of the best schools in New York City offering an undergraduate degree in Social Work.” As for what aspects of his experience at York assisted him in completing his degree, Durrell said some exceptionally supportive staff and faculty within the Social Work Department, the Men’s Center, and the Student Development Office surrounded him. Also, being heavily involved in student activities such as the CUNY York College S.W.E.E.T. (Social Work, Empowering, Encouraging Together) Club and serving as the Vice President of the Male Initiative Program, and the Social Work Departments Academic Advisory Board, and serving as a mentor and guide to lower-level social work students has helped him to stay focused and obtain his degree. According to Durrell, what contributed most toward him achieving his goals was the support and guidance he received from his family, mentor -Dr. Selena T. Rodgers, and other faculty and staff such as Dean Paola Veras, Mr. Jonathan Quash, and Ms. Isabelle Hubert just to name a few. Mentorship goes a long way in helping to spark motivation, and serves as a professional advisor. Also, getting involved in student activities can help with gaining access to resources to help make college life easier.
Lordani Bonaventure graduated in May 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Hunter College. As a student, he participated in a variety of clubs and organizations including, the Hunter College’s Brotherhood for Excellence Program and Hunter’s Association of Business Students. He managed to be on the Dean’s many semesters, while working more than 30 hours a week. He participated in summer internships at the Council of Foreign Relations, Infor, and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations. Lordani Bonaventure plans to pursue his master’s degree after a few years in the workplace.
Rick Hiciano was born and raised in the Bronx where he attended All Hallows High School and is currently graduating from Hunter College with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Chemistry. During his time at Hunter College, Rick was on the Dean’s List several times, worked (currently still does) part-time at Weill Cornell Medical College. He volunteered in a Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Inpatient Unit, was a Team Leader for the Hunter College BMI program, was the President of the Psychology Club of Hunter College, conducted research in the Psychology Alcohol Lab of Hunter College, and maintained a GPA above 3.6. Rick has won several academic awards such as the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Grant, Outstanding Student Leadership Award, and the Livingston Welch Award for Service and Academic Excellence within Psychology. In addition, he was inducted into the International Honor Society of Psychology (Psi Chi).
Post-graduation, Rick will be taking a gap year to continue his undergraduate research, study/take the MCAT exam, apply for Medical School (he wants to be a Pediatric Psychiatrist) and begin an online business centered on Mental Health and Fitness. Rick’s goal is to be a Psychiatrist who can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and provide proper education/insight on exercise and nutrition among the minority population. He further also plans to act as a mentor to students from his high school.
The CUNY Black Male Initiative (CUNY BMI) was Jorge’s launching pad in order to pursue his dream of attending medical school. Also, CUNY BMI has influenced him to seek opportunities above and beyond. In his first year at Hunter College, Jorge was inspired to apply to Summer Health Professions Education Program (SMDEP), an intensive summer premedical program at different sites around the country. He was accepted at the SMDEP site at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. That experience intensified his passion and desire for medicine and he has continued to engage in research. He has been a Undergraduate Volunteer Leader at Weill Cornell Heart-to-Heart-Campaign and part of the NYU Langone Bellevue Hospital Emergency Department as a Research Associate. In addition to CUNY BMI, he has also been part of the Hunter music scene as a clarinet player in the orchestra. Jorge has kept up a strong GPA well above 3.0 and will be applying to medical schools this fall.