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 led by a Racial Justice Leader-in-Residence, who organizes events and helps students apply to internships. During the 2022-2023 academic year, Racial Justice Leader-in-Residence Bianca Guerrero convened panels on the New Deal for CUNY campaign, pathways into mental health careers, and more.

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 $5,550 Summer Internship Stipend for approved summer internships.


Six intensive workshops will take place over the course of the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 semesters. They will feature speakers who are activists, policy makers, 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 2023-2024 fellowship:

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

2022-2023 Racial Justice Fellows

Alexandria McPherson

Alexandria McPherson is a senior at CCNY, majoring in psychology and minoring in black studies. She was born in Jamaica but, at age five, migrated to the US with her family and has resided in the Bronx since. Alexandria believes mental health is essential and hopes to help remove the stigma that therapy is unnecessary, especially in the Black Community. Through working amongst other minority groups and within her family, she has witnessed mental health be placed on the back burner as economic means, and the need for survival has to be prioritized. Alexandria hopes to gain the tools to help empower her community and cultivate change. She enjoys spending time with loved ones, trying new foods, and dabbling in makeup.

Ayesha Abdul-Fattaah

Ayesha Abdul-Fattaah is a junior majoring in Childhood Education with a concentration in social studies. She grew up in Harlem and came from a black and first-generation Filipino family of six. Ayesha has worked with children from infancy to 10 years old as a babysitter, daycare manager, and summer camp counselor. Her love for children and education guides her aspiration to become a first-grade teacher in the city that raised her. She was motivated to study at a public university in New York City as the diverse environment would help inform her ability to create a welcoming and intersectional classroom. Eventually, Ayesha hopes to accumulate the skills and abilities that would propel the formation of her school, where she would be the principal. In her free time, she plays guitar and enjoys painting.

Briana Rosario

Briana Rosario is a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in English. Before attending City College, Briana attended BMCC, where she was an Early Childhood Education major interested in becoming a teacher for children with special needs. Unfortunately, she left BMCC after a year due to dealing with personal matters. After a seven-year absence from college, Briana returned to college last year. She was accepted to City College and believed the school’s diversity and values align with her personal and professional endeavors. Coming from an African-American and Puerto Rican background, Briana has always had a strong interest in having representation across the education and creative fields, where she has goals of becoming both a speech therapist and writer. Briana applied to the Racial Justice Fellows Program because she appreciates that the program is open to all students pursuing different fields along with expanding her knowledge of social justice, learning methods to communicate her platform more effectively, and having a great sense of community among her peers. During her free time, Briana has hobbies and interests in reading, writing, music, media, puzzles, and research.

Grace Assabil-Bentum

Grace Assabil-Bentum is a senior majoring in Biology and double minoring in Black Studies and International Relations. Grace chose to get her degree from City College of New York because she was mesmerized by the diversity and inclusion of City college’s practices. She migrated from Ghana when she was six years old and has been a Bronx resident ever since. Her long-term goal is to combine her minors with her Biology degree to become one of the limited Black physicians. They uplift and help the underserved populations in her community and worldwide. She hopes to also one day be a professor at a medical school and teach upcoming physicians ways to avoid health inequalities and practices to avoid feeding into stereotypes in medicine pertaining to people of Afro descent. She likes to read, write, draw, and dance to Afrobeats. Through her past-times of reading, drawing, and writing, she hopes to one day become an author as her favorite writers inspire her: Ama Ata Aidoo, Chimamanda Ngozi, and Yaa Gyasi.

Jahniya Johnson

Jahniya Johnson is currently a senior at CCNY. She is African -American and the older generations of her family are from both North and South Carolina. She came to CCNY to pursue her BA in International Studies and Anthropology while minoring in Asian Studies. Fueled by her passion for learning about different ethnic cultures and communities and the issues they face, she knew she wanted to help combat racial disparity within society. She believes that to help ethnic groups locally and globally, one must understand them first, and only then will they be able to help find and provide resources to marginalized communities in need. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, reading webtoons, and listening to music.

Jaime García-Ricote

Jaime García-Ricote is a senior completing a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a minor in Psychology. Jaime grew up in Madrid, Spain, and has studied abroad on many occasions. Through his experiences, he has built cultural competence toward diverse populations with varying demands. This has amplified his desire to work with different communities and furthered his interest in people’s well-being and the intersectionality of their issues. Jaime has submerged himself in both the political scenes of New York and Madrid, volunteering in a plethora of neighborhoods and participating in various organizations. He joined this fellowship because he believes racial justice is vital in a globalized world that, although increasingly wealthy, remains unequal. He enjoys reading an abundance of literary genres and writing about geopolitical events around the globe.

Jannat Chowdhury

Jannat Chowdhury majors in History and minors in Human Rights Studies and will graduate with the class of 2023. She graduated with an associate’s in liberal arts from Kingsborough community college. She immigrated to the United States at thirteen and is the first in her family to attend college. She is very interested in learning and getting involved in social issues that affect her, her communities, and people from marginalized communities. She needed a path to get involved in this issue, and that is why she applied for this fellowship. Besides that, she enjoyed sleeping, reading, watching Korean drama, and listening to different genres of music.

Jaylin Garcia

Jaylin Garcia is a senior majoring in International Studies. Jaylin grew up in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York City at the age of five. Her hobbies include horseback riding, playing the piano, and flower arranging. She is a part of numerous clubs on campus, including the International Studies Club, Model United Nations, and Muslims Giving Back. In addition, she is active in her community through volunteer work at shelters and food pantries. Jaylin has a strong passion for advocating and protecting the rights of those fleeing some of the most unstable and violent parts of the world. She believes everyone deserves protection from unnecessary suffering and a place to call home. Jaylin hopes to utilize the Racial Justice Fellows Program to foster stronger interpersonal ties with community leaders and members, as well as empower those who are disadvantaged.

Joseph Flores

Joe Flores was born in Astoria, Queens, and raised on Long Island by Bolivian and Peruvian parents. He is currently a junior majoring in biomedical science. Joe’s mother gave Joe the vision of becoming a physician. Her stubbornness to push her son into the world of medicine and her understanding ultimately led him toward the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. Joe’s dream is to perform missionary work/services for the Bolivian people of the Andes Mountains, indigenous villages, and impoverished cities throughout Bolivia. He seeks to fight against the country’s inferior health outcomes, low rates of healthcare accessibility, and almost non-existent health literacy. To do that- he knows he must become a much more adaptable, positive, and leadership-ready advocate. He is currently pursuing opportunities and challenges leading to positive change.

Monifade Aderemi

Monifade (Moni) Aderemi is a second-year Biomedical Science major in the Sophie B. Davis program at the CUNY School of Medicine. She enjoys language learning, listening to music, cooking, and creating digital art, and she is a proud member of her Nigerian family. Her academic interests are centered on biology, chemistry, and public health. The Sophie Davis program at CCNY drew her in with its mission statement of securing the health of underserved communities; this is a life-saving initiative that she intends to support as a future physician.

Qetsiyah Lynch

Qetsiyah Lynch is a senior majoring in Economics. Her goal is to become a Data Scientist. Growing up in a Barbadian household in Brooklyn, NY, she always had a strong sense of justice and felt the need to act on it. During her years in middle school, she joined Girl Be Heard Association to learn how to “fight back” and educate herself on the injustices in the world affecting females. Later in high school, she began to volunteer her time at ByKids, a non-profit organization pairing master filmmakers, including Albert Maysles and Ric Burns, with youth (ages 8-21) from around the world to create short documentaries that educate Americans about globally relevant issues. This gives voice to youth from diverse cultures and encourages international understanding and engagement by giving viewers concrete ways to respond. Although her major does not directly relate to racial justice, she hopes that with her newfound knowledge, she can provide insight into these issues through data. In her spare time, she enjoys writing short stories and poetry, reading manhwa and manga, and learning about Asian culture. She also dabbles in the stock market and researching public finance.

Catherine Hernandez

As an Anthropology major and Art History minor at the Macaulay Honors College at CCNY, Catie Hernandez is seeking a career in decolonial archaeology, a field that rectifies systemic injustices in archaeology by emphasizing the knowledge of descendent communities and implementing critical race theory and post-colonial political theory to research. This past summer, she worked in Ecuador and Barbados at field schools that both implemented decolonial, anti-racist, and community-based archaeological practices. In her current archival research, Catie is studying expedition notes from influential early 20th-century archaeologists to understand how white supremacist ideology influenced the goals and conclusions of their excavations.

Kedisha Joseph

Kedishia Joseph is the first in her family to pursue a career in architecture. She is Caribbean, born on the beautiful Island of Grenada and the last of five siblings and she has always believed in creating a legacy that her family and she will be proud of. With a career in architecture she hopes to create positive changes within the built environment and be the voice for those who are often voiceless within minority communities. Helping others, advocating for equality and pushing the boundaries of success are a few of the qualities she possesses and strives to cultivate daily. One of her favorite mantras is to not be afraid to take risks that require one to stand out from the crowd, for these changes are necessary to get oneself out of their comfort zone. Be Proud, be Bold, and be Deliberate in one’s pursuit to achieve success whilst embracing and accepting necessary changes. Currently she is a fourth-year student pursuing a BArch degree at the Spitzer School of Architecture at CCNY. She is President of the National Organization of Minority Students and social media chair at the Nycoba/Noma. Her career goal is to create spaces that instill deeper meaning and purpose for their users so that history will not be destroyed. Rather, they can be built upon and highlighted so that the younger generation can be aware and remain rooted in our culture and heritage as a society. This goal aligns with her aspirations that involve adaptive reuse projects and redefining affordable housing with an aim to one day create an alliance of AEC (Architects, Engineers and Construction) professionals to challenge the laws that govern housing in NYC. This will facilitate equal opportunities for all to access and retain affordable housing.

Mamadou Diallo

Moustapha Diallo was born and raised in Guinea, West Africa. He is presently a senior majoring in Political Science & international Studies here at CCNY. He is passionate about education and diplomacy, two areas he believes can help bring about peace, stability and prosperity around the globe. His desire to learn about the ways in which he can help uplift poor, marginalized people around the world is what brought him to CCNY; and through the Racial Justice Fellows Program, he hopes to develop, alongside other like minded fellows, skills that will help him make the world a better and safer place for everyone, everywhere!

Christanya Symplice

Christanya Symplice is a rising senior at CCNY majoring in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Childhood Studies. She was born in Nassau, Bahamas to parents of Haitian descent but currently resides in the Bronx. Christanya has always had aspirations of being a teacher because of her childhood experiences that fostered her desire to fight for change for the immigrant community. Her goal is to make an impact on the underserved community not only as a teacher but as an active advocate. She believes that it is our obligation to help uplift everyone in a community, not just in the classroom. Being a part of the Racial Justice Fellowship means gaining exposure and hands-on experience through internships as she pursues her master’s degree in social work.