Office of Student Success

Mixner LGBTQ+ Equal Rights Fellowship

The Mixner LGBTQ+ Equal Rights Fellowship, in partnership with the CCNY LGBTQ+ Student Center, is a yearlong program for students leading the movement for LGBTQ+ rights and freedom. The fellowship is named for David Mixner, a lifelong political activist involved in the movements to end the Vietnam War, pass civil rights legislation, achieve nuclear disarmament, and create a humane, stigma-free, education-based and treatment-focused approach to the AIDS epidemic.

If you identify as LGBTQ+ or an ally AND want to work on LGBTQ+ rights, this is the program for you! Our workshops will introduce you to leaders in the equality movement who will share the experiences and strategies that have shaped their careers and achieved gains for us all. The fellowship enables you to intern at advocacy organizations such as Equality Now, GMHC, and SAGE. Alternatively, you might increase representation by joining an LGBTQ+ affinity group while interning at a corporation. The program is open to all CUNY students, not just those who attend CCNY.

Program Contact

Christine Garmendiz Headshot

Fellowships and Student Success Program Coordinator

Christine Garmendiz

Program Contact

Director of Fellowship Programs & Office of Student Success

Debbie Cheng

Program Contact

Director of Honors Program in Legal Studies

Jen Light


Fellows will receive a stipend of $5,500 for 300 internship hours based on a work schedule determined between the student and host organization. Internships are flexible, so you can work fewer hours if that’s what your schedule permits. Most fellows prefer to work during the summer but some fellows start their internships in the spring semester.

Professional Development

Accepted fellows will be connected to partner organizations based on their areas of interest and skills. We encourage fellows to use this opportunity to pursue internships that align with their career goals.


Applicants for the 2023-2024 fellowship:

  • must be full-time undergraduate students from Fall 2023 to Spring 2024
  • can be from any school/major
  • have no GPA requirement or citizenship requirement
  • must demonstrate interest in LGBTQ+ advocacy

Fellowship Meetings

Fellows will be required to attend monthly meetings each semester that introduce them to guest speakers and organizations working within the LGBTQ+ equal rights movement. In addition, they should attend meetings organized for Colin Powell School fellows and other relevant events.

2022-2023 Mixner LGBTQ+ Equal Rights Fellows

Arane Wilks

Arane Wilks is a political science major and minors in Legal Studies. She comes from a military background and moved from USAG Humphreys, South Korea. She chose CCNY due to its academic opportunities, lovely campus, room for advancement. She chose the Colin Powell School because it creates academic opportunities. She hopes to attend law school and major in business law. In her spare time she enjoys reading, thrifting, and watching TV.

Brian Edward (Blaze) Levario

Blaze Levario is a Mixner fellow who came back to school two years ago to pursue a further dream. They started out as a performer, and while they still perform throughout the country and the city, they wanted to use more of their skillset to help queer and LGBTQ+ youths and adults alike by opening their hearts and minds to the wonders of group and individual therapy. They are a firm believer that by meeting folks where they are at, you are more likely to connect to them and offer them a light where they may only see shadows. They are hoping to join a queer and sex affirming practice in the next several years, and in so doing also advocate for inclusive and comprehensive sex education across the NYC school system and eventually the country.

Josue Ramos Carpio

Josue is a sophomore at CCNY, majoring in Political Science and Sociology. He is from Mexico and grew up in the Bronx. He went to Xavier High School, where he founded a passion for starting conversations that were not typically talked about and begin his work in social justice his freshman year. He joined the CCNY community specifically for the Colin Powell School’s fellowship opportunities where he has been apart of the Social Change fellowship and is now part of the Mixner Fellowship. He enjoys reading, live music and hiking! Josue is excited in being part of the Inaugural group for the Mixner Fellowship.

Manfrer Espinal

Manfrer is an undergraduate student in the BA/MA CASAC program at City College. He joined this program because of his extreme urge to always try and help others. Manfrer looks forward to expanding his knowledge and skills, utilizing these experiences to aid his community. His main interests are working with substance use clients in the LGBTQ+ community, advocating for comprehensive guides to working with LGBTQ+ patients, expanding healthcare resources, and limiting biases and prejudices within the field of psychology.

Samir Malik

Samir is a second-year student at CCNY. His intended major is film/video production with a minor in history or international studies. He is a native New Yorker who comes from a first-generation Bangladeshi family. Samir is passionate about social advocacy, policy reform, and human rights. He likes to use creative expression to spread important messages and get people to start having meaningful conversations about issues.

Shantal Rodriguez

Shantal is in her second year with a major in Secondary English Education and minors in Psychology and Jewish studies. She is an Afro-Latina, a first-gen, and an NYC native. She came to CCNY for its fantastic education program and pursued this fellowship for the opportunity to remain involved in the fight for progress in human rights. She finds joy in the acquisition of learning and genuinely believe that passing on that knowledge is the most important job ever. Human rights and the role of equity in society are topics very close to her heart. Lastly, she loves to collect vinyls.

David Mixner Fellowship: Promoting social equity through opportunity

Why CUNY Students Make All the Difference

The City University of New York as the nation’s largest public university has been a driving force for equal access and economic opportunity since 1847. Our colleges, graduate, and professional institutions are comprised of students, faculty, staff, and allies that reflect the wealth of experiences, backgrounds, cultures, and diversity that define New York City. The David Mixner Fellowship is an opportunity to activate and invest in CUNY students and New York City’s LGBTQ+ community.

In June 2021, CUNY School of Law alum Jose Abrigo spoke with David Mixner to hear first-hand about his activism, career, movement building, and his hopes for the future.

About David Mixner

David Mixner is an advocate and political organizer for LGBTQ2IA+ rights and a prominent leader international human rights and American politics. For over 40 years, he has led efforts to prevent and fight HIV/AIDS in the United States and improve access, prevention, and treatment across the globe. As executive producer of House on Fire, he documented the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the African American community. Mixner has raised over $30M for not-for-profit organizations and candidates running for political office, including over $1M for openly gay and lesbian candidates. Mixner’s papers and correspondence as a peace and civil rights activist from the Vietnam War to the AIDS Crisis to his participation in political campaigns are housed at the Larry Kramer Initiative for Lesbian and Gay Studies at Yale University. He has co-written several screenplays: Dunes of Overveen (with Richard Burns) and Fire in the Soul and Jacob’s Ladder (with Dennis Bailey). He writes for Time, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and The Advocate, among other publications.

This project is in partnership with Mitchell Draizin, President of the CUNY LGBT Advisory Council, along with its 100+ members who aspire to connect CUNY students to New York City’s tremendous resources and opportunities for LGBTQ+ students and their allies. It is affiliated with the CUNY LGBTQI Student Leadership Program.