Alumni Stories

    Paul Wachtel’s Journey from Physics to Psychology and a Storied Career at CCNY   Please share something about your personal and professional background. I grew up in the Bronx and have been a New Yorker for most of my life. We were a family of four living in a one bedroom apartment. My father had dropped out of school after the ninth grade to support his single mother and younger sister. So I can identify with the many students at City who are the first in their family to attend college, and with the experience of whole new worlds… Read More »

    From Immigrant Roots to Legal Leadership: Andre Desir ‘16 Andre Desir ‘16, who was born to immigrant parents from Haiti and Canada, initially undervalued a college education. Desir's decision to attend CCNY and join the Colin Powell School was deeply influenced by his father's educational legacy and the allure of CCNY’s diverse programs and vibrant community. Motivated by a desire for maximum agency in navigating life, he recognized education as the key to a better future. At CCNY, Desir participated in the Skadden Arps Program (now the Honors… Read More »

  Introduction Angela Vasovic '22 was born to parents who immigrated to America from Yugoslavia. Growing up, Vasovic developed a profound interest in global perspectives during family visits to Serbia and decided to begin her journey in diplomacy at the City College of New York. Her commitment to international affairs and human rights led her to an early internship with International IDEA, and her participation in the Colin Powell and S Jay Levy fellowships at CCNY paved the way for an internship with the Department of State during the pandemic, and… Read More »

    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… Read More »

  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… Read More »

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… Read More »

  Zine Ebersohn ‘24, who comes from South Africa, brings a deep love for her country and a passion for storytelling and helping people to CCNY. Her journey to New York was initially as a scholarship recipient studying acting. Inspired by her community's struggles with racial inequality and barriers led her to realize the importance of mental health access for all. She has found her calling in mental health advocacy.  Please share a little about your background — what’s your story?    I grew up in diverse South Africa, and I have a… Read More »

Born in Ecuador but raised in the US since the age of 7, Paula Garcia-Salazar by chance ended up as a student in Loudoun County, Virginia – one of the richest counties in the entire United States. Despite facing challenges as an undocumented immigrant in Virginia, she had the opportunity to attend excellent public schools. Her motivation to advocate for marginalized communities stemmed from this experience. Garcia-Salazar found her way to CCNY through a search for free education in New York City. While initially undeclared, her aspiration to pursue a law… Read More »

Lincoln Ajoku’s journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of education and the pursuit of meaningful purpose in a career. Born in Manhattan to Nigerian immigrant parents, Ajoku’s upbringing in a working-class Brooklyn neighborhood instilled a deep appreciation for hard work and education. Witnessing the sacrifices made by his parents to provide for the family and the influence of his grandmother on the value of education, shaped his early outlook on higher education. Growing up during challenging times in New York, marked by crime and… Read More »

  Beyond Borders: A Journey from Brazil to CCNY Embarking on a transformative journey that transcends borders, our featured alumna shares an inspiring narrative of perseverance and purpose.   Where are you from and what is your background story? I am originally from Brazil. I came to NYC to learn English because I had previously earned my BA in International Relations and noticed that I needed to experience life abroad to learn English and develop my career journey with opportunities. After a while in the US, I came across the Master's program at… Read More »

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Last Updated: 08/26/2020 16:36