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 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.

The fellowship starts in the Fall semester each year. Applications will open in January 2024.

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 2024-2025 fellowship:

  • must be full-time undergraduate students at CCNY from Fall 2024 to Spring 2025
  • 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.

2023-2024 Racial Justice Fellows

Amirah Alwagih

Amirah Alwagih is a junior at CCNY majoring in Psychology with a minor in International Studies. As the youngest and only college student in a family born in Yemen, Amirah has always had an affinity for studying interpersonal relationships and how humans function through a social, economic, and historical lens to understand humanitarian issues and racial disparities. Introduced to CCNY as an undecided freshman, one of the first courses she took was about the intricacies of gentrification within Harlem, which enlightened her on how deep racial disparities exist systemically and architecturally in New York, so much that it affects current housing plans, incarceration rates, and economic inequalities. With these disparities in mind, it’s become an overarching goal to pursue advocacy where she strives to continue a career where psychology and law connect that help further her understanding of not only systemic issues but individual ones as well. In her free time, her favorite hobbies usually consist of listening to podcasts, taking pictures, reading, writing, and taking on impulsive passion projects! 

Anniel Buckley

Anniel Buckley is passionate about entering the global landscape as a Civil Rights and Immigration Attorney. She is currently studying at The City College of New York as a Business major. She decided to become an attorney after observing the challenges her Jamaican mother underwent as an immigrant. Anniel migrated to the US at age 4. She calls Mount Vernon, New York her new home. Though reserved by nature, her passion and determination shows in all she approaches. Her favorite quote is from Malcolm X, “a man who stands for nothing, falls for anything.” As a Black woman with roots in the Caribbean, she witnessed the killing of Michael Brown and others, igniting a passion and fire for social justice. With mindfulness and ease, she moves into this space excited for change and prepared to do the work necessary to be the change she wants to see in the world.

Cinia Simpson

Cinia Simpson is an undergraduate student devoted to earning her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Black studies. Due to her background as a child of Jamaican-American immigrants, Cinia is dedicated to serving impoverished Caribbean communities with her degree. Currently a junior, she is already thinking ahead and is considering a graduate program in biological anthropology. Her goal is to become a traveling biological anthropologist, thereby connecting with her roots and giving back to the communities that made her family’s immigration to the United States possible. In addition to being the eldest of five siblings, she is a loving caretaker of her youngest sister. At the moment, Cinia is rereading the novel Mockingjay by Suzzane Collins in order to reinvigorate her love of reading, trying out new cuisines like Indian, and curating her YouTube playlist of 70s R&B songs.

Dayana Morneo

Dayana is a student majoring in International Relations with a minor in Political Science. She is expected to graduate in June 2024. Originally from Venezuela, Dayana moved to the U.S at the age of thirteen. Her personal experience as a former DACA student has fueled her passion for immigrant rights. Dayana recognizes that many immigration laws in the United States were passed based on racial discrimination and quotas, resulting in an inequitable system that fails to live up to America’s promise. Her ultimate goal is to work towards making the system more accessible and equitable for everyone. She plans to advocate for the removal of quotas based on country of origin and to work towards simplifying the admissions process. Dayana hopes to have a positive impact on the immigrant community.

Deborah Laguerre

Deborah is a bright and driven sophomore Biotechnology major at the City College of New York. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Deborah is the child of Haitian immigrants who instilled in her the importance of hard work and determination. She aspires to become a physician and positively impact society through her work. Deborah was drawn to the Colin Powell School because of her desire to get more involved in social justice issues, particularly health inequities in healthcare towards the black community. After joining the undergraduate student government, Deborah became a vocal advocate for many issues affecting CCNY and Cuny, such as the New Deal for CUNY, a campaign to increase funding for public universities in New York. Her passion for social justice and desire to make a difference led her to pursue a major in Biotechnology, focusing on addressing health disparities, especially in the black community. In addition to her academic pursuits, Deborah is a Senator in the undergraduate student government. She continues to work towards creating positive change on campus and in the community. She enjoys reading, listening to music, and exploring the city in her free time.

Jeyleen Rodriguez

Jeyleen Rodriguez is a senior at CCNY pursuing a degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology. Her interest in furthering her education stems from her parent’s hard work and dedication after immigrating to the United States, where they established a family-owned floral business in East Harlem. Growing up in a neighborhood where educational, career, and community opportunities were limited, Jeyleen understood the importance of attaining an education and focused on her studies. She joined this fellowship to gain further insight into how factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, culture, and social class impact people’s activities with their families, community, and work and how these shape possibilities for future generations. After completing her undergraduate studies at CCNY, Jeyleen intends to apply to graduate school to further her knowledge of Sociology and progress toward a career as an educator and researcher.

Larisa Caraballo Jimenez

Larisa Caraballo is a junior studying Psychology at CCNY. She was born in the Dominican Republic but migrated to the U.S. when she was 7 years old and has  lived in the Bronx ever since. She has always had a personal interest in Racial Justice and has been able to gain knowledge through courses. She was brought to City College because of the convenience of commuting, along with the diversity and scenery of the campus. Larisa wants to become a psychologist because she believes that in BIPOC communities there needs to be lots of work done to break the stigma regarding mental health and seeing a professional. One day, she hopes to open up her own practice that caters to BIPOC individuals that need help with their mental health concerns. Some of her hobbies include playing with her pet cats, watching movies, trying new restaurants, and exercising.

Maria Lopez Hernandez

Maria Lopez Hernandez was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States at three years old. She is currently a senior majoring in Psychology and graduated with her Associate’s in Liberal Arts in 2018 from Dutchess Community College. Maria transferred to CCNY in 2019 and loved her transfer experience, but decided to take a gap year once the pandemic started. One year turned into two, but Maria was inspired by family and friends to push through any feelings of doubt in order to finish her undergraduate studies. She has first-hand experience navigating the education system in impoverished and affluent communities. Maria is acutely aware of the discrimination against low-income, black, and brown people. She is passionate about racial justice and addressing mental health accessibility. Maria believes in the strength of community support showcased by her involvement with the CCNY Dream Team and CUNY Dream Team network advocating for an Immigrant Student Success Center for all. In her spare time, Maria loves ceramics, thrifting, hiking, and reading books.

Nahomi Farington

Nahomi is a senior and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she moved to the United States at the age of 16. Since then, Nahomi has developed a love for going on long walks and bike rides, as it was her way to get to know her new home. From a young age, she has always had the desire to help others. Through understanding the importance of solidarity and empathy, Nahomi believes we can all grow as individuals. Despite our different backgrounds and experiences, we are all human beings sharing the same space. In terms of my professional aspirations, she hopes to become a therapist or psychologist with a focus on adolescents. This age group experiences a lot of changes and challenges, and she believes that helping them navigate these obstacles can make a significant impact on their lives.

Oluyemi Olawaiye

Oluyemi is a Psychology major at the City College of New York. His background is of Haitian and Nigerian descent and was drawn to CCNY because of its vibrant campus atmosphere. His passion for psychology and interest in technology led him  to pursue a career in the tech industry. His goal is to make therapy more accessible to underserved communities. In addition to Oluyemi’s  academic pursuits, he enjoys spending free time exploring new hobbies such as photography and dance. He is also an avid reader and enjoys exploring the diverse cultures and histories that make up New York City.

Qusay Alomari

Qusay Alomari is a senior majoring in Political Science. Though he was born in the U.S., Qusay is originally from Jordan, living there until he was 10 years old before moving to the U.S with his family. As Qusay’s early interest in politics blossomed into a potential career path, he chose to study at City College because of the wealth of opportunities it offered. Qusay believes that racial equity needs to be addressed with sweeping systemic change, which is why he is most interested in issues of environmental justice and criminal justice reform. After acquiring his bachelor’s degree, Qusay will pursue a career in the legal profession. In his free time, Qusay listens to and makes music, reads and plays soccer.

Yasmin Abdelgadir

Yasmin Abdelgadir has been advocating for racial justice the American system neglects. As a Black person, she is amazed by the struggles her community goes through as a race while navigating in today’s world. She believes it is critical to understand the roots of these systemic issues, why they have come about, and most importantly how to be a catalyst for change, equity, and equality for all. Yasmin is very excited for her start here at the Racial Justice Fellowship, and is enthusiastic to get to work! 

Fae Guzman-Sarante