Alumni Stories

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

  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 »


November 07, 2023

  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 deep love for my country and its… Read More »


October 17, 2023

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 degree led to… Read More »


September 19, 2023

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 struggling… Read More »


August 29, 2023

  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 CCNY and knew this… Read More »


July 18, 2023

From CCNY to Business Owner: Alumna Alice Mills Mai's Pursuit of Mental Health Counseling Where are you from and what is your background story? Please share your details from the period before you arrived at CCNY. I am human first before any titles or roles. I am Alice Mills Mai (she/her), a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (New York and Ohio) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). I am an immigrant and a proud daughter of Ghanaian immigrants and I consider the Bronx to be my home. Through a family tragedy, I discovered the profession of counseling which I am… Read More »


July 17, 2023

  Alanis Omar’s Academic Journey   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… Read More »


June 06, 2023

  Graduating to Success and Paying it Forward: Vanessa O’Neil’s Journey at CCNY and Beyond Where are you from and what is your background story?  My family moved to Crown Heights from Trinidad when I was 4 years old, in search of better opportunities for my sisters and me. My mother dreamed of becoming a nurse but worked in local retail to supplement our household, while my father worked as a policeman. Back then the Crown Heights area was deeply impoverished, and the rampant crime made it a much more dangerous place than it is today. My parents worked hard to keep… Read More »


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Last Updated: 08/26/2020 16:36