Student, Faculty, and Alumni Stories

February 21, 2024

    Cultivating Leaders: Bobby Derival’s Impact at the Colin Powell School Bobby Derival, Executive Director of the MPA Program at the Colin Powell School, is passionate about creating positive social change through education and mentorship.  Derival’s background as a public health practitioner and entrepreneur brings a unique perspective to the MPA Program, emphasizing the importance of leadership development and challenging the status quo for a more equitable society.    What strategies do you employ for student recruitment and admissions in the MPA program, and… Read More »


February 21, 2024

  Bridging Dreams and Determination: Jesus Villegas' Journey from East Harlem to Economic Impact Jesus Villegas, a first-generation college student from East Harlem, is pursuing a BA in Economics with a concentration in Finance. Villegas’ motivation stems from his family's sacrifices and his own experiences, including a transformative period of injury and recovery during the pandemic. Please share a little about your background — what’s your story?   My name is Jesus Villegas (He/Him), born and raised in East Harlem, New York. Growing up in this diverse community… Read More »


February 21, 2024

    Alum Carlos Pazmino’s Journey to a Career in Urban Planning  Carlos Pazmino ‘15, a Transportation Planner/Urban Planner II at The District Department of Transportation, immigrated with his mother from Quito, Ecuador, at the age of 10, during a very turbulent era in that country. City College provided a platform for Pazmino to blend personal experiences with academic pursuits, fueling his passion for urban planning.  What brought you to CCNY and to the Colin Powell School? My stepfamily has a longstanding history with CUNY, as my grandfather attended Lehman… Read More »


January 30, 2024

  Bruce Cronin: “The Diversity of This Community Reflects the Diversity of N.Y. Itself” Influenced by his parents' activism as opponents of the war in Vietnam and supporters of civil rights, Political Science professor Bruce Cronin developed a passion for international politics, particularly human rights. After earning a degree in Political Science and Urban Studies at SUNY Albany, he pursued a career as a community organizer and later earned a PhD from Columbia University. Cronin’s scholarly work delves into human rights and international law, with a focus on state… Read More »


January 30, 2024

  Student Leila Cole '25: “Never Be Ashamed to Ask for Help” Leila Cole, born in Sierra Leone and raised in the U.S., originally aspired to be a computer animator before shifting to the fashion industry. Feeling unfulfilled, she resigned from a strategic role in a luxury jewelry company and enrolled at CCNY. The passion for addressing global issues, especially injustices against women and children, led her to pursue International Studies at the Colin Powell School.  Please share a little about your background — what’s your story?   I was born in Sierra Leone,… Read More »


January 30, 2024

  Alesia Burnazi ‘17: Curiosity Will Take You Places You Never Thought You’d Go Alesia Burnazi ‘17 is Communications Associate for Palladium and Communications Manager for the UNICEF-funded AFPro project in Albania. Born in Tirana, Albania, Burnazi’s began her college career at BMCC before transferring to CCNY. Her family background, paired with her passion for world affairs, politics, and journalism, led her to study international studies at CCNY.  Please tell us a little about your background. I was born and raised in Tirana, Albania. I am of Bulgarian and… Read More »


December 21, 2023

From City College to Amsterdam, the story of Alumnus Fatjon Kaja ’16 Born in a small Albanian town, alumnus Fatjon Kaja’s journey has led him from Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn to City College to Amsterdam.  *** Where are you from and what is your background story?  I was born in a small town in Albania, where I lived until my junior year of high school. I went on to complete my high school education at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn. Following this transition, I enrolled at the City College of New York where I pursued my degree in Economics and… Read More »


December 21, 2023

Former NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, recently shared his reflections on health, medicine, public service, and joining CCNY as the inaugural Sternberg Family Professor of Leadership at the Colin Powell School. Please share something about your personal and professional background. What inspired you to become a doctor? I was not one of those kids who had a Fisher-Price stethoscope and always dreamed of becoming a physician. In fact, as the first doctor in my family, I didn't really have role models to help me understand what it meant to practice medicine.… Read More »


December 05, 2023

  Moynihan Fellow Miguel Arias: “I Have Chosen to Shoot for the Stars Instead of Merely Observing Them” Miguel Arias was “once a kid on an island with a curiosity matched by nothing else.” Today, Arias is a self-described “public servant” for CCNY and CUNY students.  Arias came to CCNY aiming to challenge injustices, amplify the voices of the marginalized, and effect change. Understanding that he could not achieve this alone, he chose CCNY to learn how to translate these passions into action. Please share a little about your background — what’s your story? Me… Read More »


December 05, 2023

  Economics Professor Marta Bengoa: “The Students Are the Heart and Soul of the Institution” Professor of Economics Marta Bengoa is the first woman to achieve full professor status in Economics at CCNY,  and as such values her role as a mentor, particularly for women in Economics and Business.  Please share something about your personal and professional background, and what brought you to CCNY and the Colin Powell School. I am a Professor of Economics; my field is international economics with international trade specialization. I am the first woman to become a… Read More »


Last Updated: 01/15/2020 15:46