Alanis Omar’s Academic Journey


Alanis Omar’s Academic Journey

YMCA of Greater New York Honors Heroes of New York at 46th Annual Dodge Dinner
YMCA of Greater New York Honors Heroes of New York at 46th Annual Dodge Dinner


Please share a little about your background — what is your story?  
I am a first-generation college student with immigrant parents from the island of Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up, education was not seen as a necessity but rather a luxury for many of our parents, including mine. As a minority student at City College, I share the experiences and challenges faced by many of my peers. However, I have come to deeply appreciate the opportunity to pursue higher education and value the importance of knowledge and learning.

In addition to being a first-generation college student, I also grew up in a single-parent household. While it has been a challenging journey, I now see it as a blessing in disguise. Despite the financial struggles faced by my family, my strong-willed and courageous mother raised me to be a determined woman who seizes every opportunity that comes my way. She instilled in me a belief that knowledge is power, and I carry this mantra with me every day.

What is your passion or purpose behind your studies at CCNY?
When I began my college search, City College and specifically the Colin Powell School were unfamiliar to me, despite entering as a declared political science major. However, during my time here, I have discovered that the Colin Powell School is truly a hidden gem. My experience at the school has been an enriching journey of learning, exploring opportunities, connecting with mentors, and participating in programs that have enhanced my cultural potential, education, and professional skills. It has truly inspired me to become the best applicant for graduate school and beyond.

As I continue my studies here and become more actively involved in the school community, I have realized that it not only helps me achieve my academic goals and personal growth but also prepares me to make a global impact. My passion for public service was ignited through high school programs like Youth and Government Civic Engagement, which allowed me to explore my interest in serving the public. Additionally, my bilingual skills in Mandarin and English have sparked my interest in making a global impact, particularly in Asian countries. This led me to study abroad in South Korea and pursue a minor in Asian Studies. These experiences have further focused my desire to contribute to the development and well-being of East Asian countries, while my commitment to public service continues to grow. Ultimately, my long-term goal is to actively serve as a diplomat in foreign service, representing my country and contributing to global diplomacy. 

Where are you in your career? How has the Colin Powell School helped you along the way?
I have completed my second year studying Political Science and International Studies with a concentration in International Relations. The Colin Powell School has played a significant role in my academic journey, expanding my horizons and providing valuable experiences in the field of sustainable development goals. Thanks to the opportunities offered here, I had the privilege of studying abroad in South Korea and The Netherlands. These experiences provided me with unique insights into East Asian and European politics, further igniting my passion for international affairs. As a result, I decided to pursue a minor in Asian Studies, allowing me to delve deeper into the complexities of the region.
Additionally, the Colin Powell School has equipped me with networking skills and professional development opportunities. As a testament to this, I was fortunate to secure an internship at the City Council this summer, where I gained practical experience and applied my academic knowledge in a real-world setting.

What are your post-graduation plans? 
The college has given me incredible opportunities to explore the world, broaden my cultural horizons, and I intend to continue my travels wherever the opportunity arises. Additionally, I have a strong passion for writing and plan to dedicate time to continue working on my memoir with the goal of eventually publishing it. Looking ahead, I aspire to attend graduate school and pursue a master's degree in global affairs, further deepening my understanding of international relations and global dynamics. These aspirations reflect my unwavering commitment to personal growth, cultural exploration, and making a meaningful impact in the field of global affairs.

Please share a significant memory and/or accomplishment from your time at CCNY. 
The pandemic has and continues to play a hurtful role in depriving students of the same lively and eventful college experience the generation before us had. The Caribbean Student Association (CSA) at CCNY, like many other clubs, was not immune to these effects. However, throughout my second year at City College, I witnessed a group of students with a shared ethnicity and cultural background who were determined to revive the sense of community and cultural pride on campus. Through their efforts, they organized various events that brought back the vibrant student life we were missing. Events such as Soca and painting sessions, movie nights, and more not only brought joy and excitement back into our lives but also created a sense of belonging and familiarity. Being able to gather with students who shared similar upbringings and food traditions made me feel connected and supported.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the CSA's dedication to revitalizing our campus community has had a profound impact on my college experience. These events have provided a much-needed sense of home and a renewed appreciation for the diverse cultures represented at our college. 

Do you have any advice you could give to current or future students?
Fully immerse yourself in the full college experience. 

How would you describe CPS in three words?
Oasis of opportunities 

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