Office of Student Success | Colin Powell School

Office of Student Success

Racial Justice Fellows Program

Launched in August 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the Black Lives Matter protests, the Racial Justice Fellows Program is a joint initiative between the Colin Powell School and CCNY’s Black Studies Program, based in the Division of Humanities and the Arts. The fellowship places students at the center of efforts to work on systemic change, creating a pipeline for them to become deeply involved in antiracist movements. By supporting fellows financially and programmatically, we will cultivate a new generation of leaders who can help build a more just and equitable society.

The program is directed by Bianca Guerrero, who is also the Early Career Programs Manager at Leadership for Democracy and Social Justice. Through monthly events and summer internships, students learn about different approaches to achieving racial justice. During the 2022-2023 academic year, we convened panels on the New Deal for CUNY campaign, pathways into mental health careers, and more.

The fellowship starts in the Fall semester each year.

Applications for the 2024-2025 fellowship are now closed. Applications for the 2025-2026 fellowships will open in Spring 2025.

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


Fellows will receive a $5,500 Summer Internship Stipend for approved summer internships.


Six intensive workshops will take place over the course of the Fall 2025 and Spring 2026 semesters. They will feature speakers who are activists, policymakers, academics, and more. Topics may include efforts to reform the criminal justice system; fight voter suppression; empower Black communities; address environmental justice concerns; and close the racial education gap. The workshops will also provide professional development to assist fellows with their job applications.

In addition to the workshops, fellows will be expected to attend CCNY public events focused on racial justice.


Applicants for the 2025-2026 fellowship:

  • must be full-time undergraduate students at CCNY from Fall 2025 to Spring 2026
  • can be from any school/major
  • have no GPA or citizenship requirement
  • must demonstrate an interest in racial justice

Summer Internships

Students will be supported in their applications to summer internships at nonprofit organizations and government agencies working on racial justice and equity. They will not be assigned to organizations, but will be guided through the application process and connected with partner organizations. Fellows are encouraged to think about the particular issues that they want to tackle and the organizations where they would like to intern.

Past fellows have interned at New York Communities for Change, the African Union, International Rescue Committee, MOMA PS1, and the Social Science Research Council.

Application Questions​

Please upload responses to the following questions through the application form. Write your name on all application materials.

1. How do your educational and professional experiences so far shape your long-term interest in working at a senior level on racial justice and equity issues? Upload an essay that is between 250 and 500 words.

2. How would you like to see your career develop over the next decade or two? Upload an essay that is between 250 and 500 words.

3. What are three substantive questions that you would like to see addressed as part of the program?

2024-2025 Racial Justice Fellows

Abiola Laguda

Abiola Laguda

Abiola Laguda, a Nigerian-American native New Yorker, will be a senior majoring in Biomedical Science at Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education during the 2024-2025 school year. His passion for health equity and health advocacy drives his pursuits as an aspiring physician, with a keen interest in addressing social determinants of health and implicit bias in medicine. Alongside his academic endeavors, Abiola engages in various hobbies including running, photography, and serving as a treasurer for the Student National Medical Association undergraduate (SNMA) club. His dedication to promoting food equality is evident through his role as a Federal Intern at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. At CCNY, Abiola has conducted research focusing on minority health, particularly in genetics and nutrition. As a Colin Powell Racial Justice Fellow, he aims to delve into the intersections of race and healthcare access for Black and Brown populations, utilizing his education in Population Health and Epidemiology. Abiola eagerly anticipates the opportunity to participate in workshops and engage with advocates and political leaders, learning how to empower Black people as a medical doctor, and fostering connections essential for his future career.

Chyenne Osondu

Chyenne Osondu is a junior at CCNY, majoring in Sociology and International Studies with a development concentration. Her interest in these majors came about during an Introduction to Sociology course she took in a College Now program at her high school. Afterward, she volunteered at a local park for her methods class, where her interest in community efforts grew. In the summer of 2023, she had the opportunity to join her professor in a research project where she examined how efforts to prepare the Lower East Side for climate change impacted seniors at a Mitchell-Lama co-op called Masaryk Towers. Being a minority herself, she is dedicated to improving the well-being of minoritized groups within the city. She enjoys learning about the social world and how our lives are interconnected. For leisure time, she enjoys working out at the local gym and recently added baking as a hobby.

Eki Theresa Igbineweka

Eki Theresa Igbineweka is a senior pursuing her BA/MA in Psychology, with a focus on Substance Abuse Counseling. Growing up in a multicultural household, she witnessed firsthand the disparities in mental health awareness, particularly within minority communities. Motivated by her challenges, Eki developed an intense passion for promoting mental wellness, especially among underrepresented populations. Her goal is to become a clinical psychologist specializing in children and adolescents, with a strong emphasis on inclusivity and cultural sensitivity. With aspirations to establish her private practice, Eki aims to create a safe environment where minorities and individuals with disabilities can seek support and empowerment on their mental health journeys.

Eliana Cabral

Eliana Cabral is a psychology major in her senior year of college. Eliana Cabral is from New York and has immigrant parents both born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She is very goal-oriented when it comes to her education and career. She is aiming for her master’s degree in psychology, specifically in couples counseling. She loves helping people feel safe and understood and would love to implement that passion into her career. She hopes to inspire and improve the mental health of those who struggle daily to find peace in their lives. Eliana Cabral is a creative and artistic individual who loves singing, playing the piano, guitar, and ukulele, drawing, baking, and skateboarding. She enjoys learning how to do new things and bringing life to her experiences.

Gabriela Sosa

Gabriela is a senior at CCNY, majoring in Psychology and Sociology. She is a first-generation college student, passionate about creating an impact on her community. As someone from an immigrant household, Gabriela has experienced first-hand the racist stereotypes and systemic strategies that immigrants face. During her college courses, she has become informed of the injustices in our systems and the communities that are disproportionately affected. She also learned about the importance of intersectionality in the issues. She was inspired by a guest speaker in one of her classes, who spoke about finding one’s passion and using it to advocate for change. Gabriela hopes to use her experience and knowledge to work towards creating justice in our society. Moreover, she plans to use her career in counseling to address the mental health effects that many communities face because of this.

Hadeeqa Malik

Hadeeqa Arzoo Malik is a junior majoring in Political Science and International Relations with a minor in Human Rights. She is passionate about all things ‘Justice’. Hadeeqa is a lead advocate on campus and across New York City for complete Palestinian Liberation, as well as an alum of the Moynihan Fellowship at CCNY and a USG senatorial candidate. She has experience in political campaigns, non-profits, and grassroots organizations all rooted in serving the community and she hopes to further navigate her career path through the Racial Justice Fellowship. Her goals are to find a balance in her professional life between macro-level, systemic reform through policy as well as micro-level grassroots organizing and community engagement. Her interests are in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements because she believes in eradicating racism and dismantling all systems of oppression.

Isabel Osorio

Isabel Osorio is a junior sociology major at City College of New York. Originally from the Bronx, NY, she is the daughter of Colombian immigrants. Isabel grew up playing soccer and was part of the victorious City College Women’s Soccer team that won the CUNY championship in 2023. Growing up around immigrants, she has been exposed to the hardships they face in the United States. Isabel believes in the power of every individual’s story and is dedicated to amplifying these narratives as an agent of change. She is committed to systemic change aiming to dismantle barriers and create a more just society. Isabel is drawn to advocacy and aspires to work directly with individuals to make a difference in their lives.

Leila Peña-Giancoli

Leila Peña-Giancoli is an ambitious and artistic junior from Queens, New York, studying Psychology with a minor in Latin American studies. The daughter of a Mexican immigrant father and Italian-American mother, Leila was drawn to City College to pursue a radical undergraduate education focused on decolonial work, Indigenous suffrage, and intersectional solidarity. She believes in destigmatizing mental health and is committed to addressing health disparities caused by racial inequality through increasing quality healthcare access in communities of color. Her professional aspirations include graduating as a CASAC, becoming a published author, documenting the oral histories of immigrants through writing, and working as a doula. In her free time, she sketches, watches anime, and travels.

Madelin Almazo Flores

Madelin Almazo Flores, a sophomore at City College of New York, is majoring in psychology. Her parents, Mexican immigrants, raised her in the Bronx, a community marked by various forms of inequality. This environment has not only sparked her interest in advocacy but also shaped her professional aspirations. She hopes to use her psychology degree to address the effects of systematic racism and fight for justice and equality for all. She strongly believes in making mental health services more accessible to all individuals. Apart from Madelin’s professional interests, throughout her free time, she enjoys volunteering at her church with her family and spending time with her three dogs.

Melvin Mofus

Melvin is a triple major in International Studies, Anthropology, and Black Studies. He is from Yonkers, New York, and is Nigerian American. Melvin is interested in decolonization matters about Africa and hopes to get involved with international law and archeology. In his free time, he likes to read and exercise.

Micaela Lue

Micaela Lue is a dynamic and motivated Sociology major from Brooklyn, New York in her fourth year of college. Hailing from an African-American background, Micaela is acutely aware of the enduring impact centuries of enslavement have had on her family, alive and ancestral. Her Sociology major works to decolonize the minds of herself and others, breaking the chains of oppression bounding them across generations. In Micaela’s eyes, education is the crucial first step on her path to liberation. She aspires to pursue a career path that allows her to amplify the voices of marginalized communities, disrupt entrenched power dynamics, and drive meaningful change toward collective freedom. In her free time, Micaela enjoys curating monthly Spotify playlists, journaling, and watching YouTube video essays.

Nahomi Hurtado

Nahomi Hurtado is a sophomore majoring in Political Science and International Relations. She is from Jamaica, Queens, New York, where she was born and raised by her parents who immigrated from Colombia. She has an older sister currently attending Queens College. With the pace of city life exposing her to its grit and crime from an early age, she developed a passion for public service and an interest in debating differing viewpoints. Her career goal is to become a politician and, ultimately, serve as the President of the United States. This ambition is fueled by her belief that effective leadership can shape policy, foster social progress, and address the pressing issues confronting our nation. She is passionately committed to advocating for policies that advance equity, justice, and opportunity for all Americans. Outside of school, Nahomi enjoys drawing in her free time.

Queen Carrasco

Queen Carrasco is a junior in the CUNY BA program studying Social Data Science. Raised in the tight-knit neighborhood of Flatbush, Queen is always thinking of ways that she can advocate for her community. Initially starting at City College as a Computer Science major and Sociology minor, she knew something was missing from her education. She decided to develop her own major. She is interested in social justice movements, digital activism, and the abolition of big data. After undergrad, she plans to continue her education, eventually earning her Ph.D. in Computational Social Science. Outside of academics, Queen enjoys knitting writing, and going to art galleries and restaurants with her friends.

Rolaph Pluviose

Rolaph Pluviose, a senior at City College Of New York majoring in Psychology, is passionate about efficiently helping others and fostering positive social change. Hailing from Saint Mark, Haiti, his upbringing instilled a deep sense of community and a commitment to serving others. With a background in diverse roles, including sales, hospitality, and childcare, Rolaph has honed his interpersonal skills and developed a keen understanding of human behavior. Inspired by his experiences and driven by a desire to make a difference, Rolaph aspires to pursue a career in counseling and teaching. He is dedicated to empowering individuals to overcome challenges and reach their full potential. Outside academics, Rolaph finds solace in reading novels, a hobby that has not only broadened his horizons but also deepened his understanding of social dilemmas. By immersing himself in diverse narratives, he fosters empathy and understanding of complex human experiences. As he approaches graduation, Rolaph is excited to apply his skills and passion to create meaningful change in the world.

Saniya Joseph

Saniya Joseph is a junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Art, pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Intrigued by art and psychology, Saniya is a Haitian-American from Brooklyn, New York who wants to develop her skills further to become an art therapist in her community. Through the Colin Powell Racial Justice Program, Saniya hopes to target and fix the many ongoing struggles in the Black community including healthcare, education, pollution, wage gap, and poor resources. She loves to listen to music, binge-watch shows/movies, do puzzles, and travel in her free time. She’s enthusiastic about putting her creative ideas out there to create a positive change.

Shaontoni Halder

Shaontoni Halder is a senior double majoring in Psychology and Political Science at CCNY during the 2024-2025 school year. As a first-generation student raised by Bangladeshi immigrants, she holds a deep appreciation for her family’s journey and the stories of resilience they shared from surviving the 1971 liberation war. These experiences have fueled Shaontoni’s passion for social justice and her longing for education. Inspired by her psychology courses, particularly those highlighting the impact of the environment on child development, she aims to address inequality in New York City, known for its segregated neighborhoods and school system. The housing crisis, underfunded schools, and lack of opportunities in many neighborhoods have an immense impact on how children view their worth and what impact they can make on the world. Outside academics, Shaontoni finds peace in dancing, cooking for loved ones, and spending time with her sassy tuxedo cat named Roscoe.

Tasnoba Rahman

Tasnoba Rahman is a senior at CCNY majoring in psychology and minoring in legal studies. She knows that within this vast field of study, there is so much that she can do and explore to help people within healthcare. As a first-generation Bengali-American immigrant, she has embarked on her passion for improving mental health care in all aspects. To comprehend humanitarian challenges and racial disparities, she is interested in interpersonal interactions and how individuals function through social, economic, and historical lenses. This piques her interest in the systematic racial gaps that permeate every part of New Yorkers’ communities and lifestyles, including housing, health, education, and economic inequality. With these discrepancies in mind, her main objective is to pursue advocacy, specifically a career that connects psychology and lawyering as a future social worker and attorney. She hopes to serve as a figure of representation and gain further understanding of both individual and systemic issues to help improve policies at the macro level so that every person’s mental health and micro-level issues are improved. Tasnoba loves to keep up with learning and finding new things through research and journal articles. She is an outdoorsy person who loves going for walks and playing sports with friends. She connects best with the world through her hobbies, enabling her to meet new people and express her creative mind through art, music, and fashion.

Wendinso Elvire Fabienne Kawessa

Fabienne Kawessa is an undergraduate student majoring in international relations. Due to her background as a child of African immigrants, Fabienne is dedicated to serving African immigrant communities and other immigrant communities as well with her degree. Currently a lower senior at CCNY, her goal is to work in government or NGOs specializing in immigration and immigrant protection. In addition to being a first-generation college student, she is an activist and devoted person who fights for women’s rights. At the moment, Fabienne is learning new languages such as Japanese and Spanish and also trying to learn and cook new dishes like Japanese and Indian. Fabienne likes listening to gospel songs or reggae. The song that she loves listening to at the moment is Firm Foundation by Maverick City Music.

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