Alumni Stories

July 20, 2021
  Aneesah Saeed: Listening to Her Calling as an International Social Justice Leader   Aneesah Saeed started college as a pre-med major, but she soon discovered that medicine was not her calling. Driven by recurring memories of child poverty and exploitation that she had witnessed as a girl in Pakistan, she joined the International Studies program at the Colin Powell School, committed to working to solve these problems at their root. In this interview, she tells of her upbringing as a biracial Pakistani-Italian American. She discusses how, as a student, she has found mentors,… Read More »


July 20, 2021
  Marrying Film and Activism: Savannah Washington on Her Path as a Film Director and the Making of “Playing Frisbee in North Korea”  After growing up in Detroit, Savannah Washington came to New York to combine her love of film, creative writing, and theater with her love of social activism. She became a Colin Powell Graduate Fellow in 2010 and learned about the conflict and human rights conditions on the Korean Peninsula. With close mentorship and financial support from the Colin Powell Center, Washington traveled to Korea and produced a cinema verite documentary film titled "… Read More »


March 22, 2021
    Psychology MA Graduate Adam Qureshi: It’s OK to Not Know What You Want to Do Adam Qureshi, an alumnus of the Psychology MA program, is now a data analyst at Rockefeller University. In this interview, he tells about how he discovered his love for statistics, and how faculty at the Colin Powell School helped him make the career-altering realization that he wanted to be a researcher, not a clinician. Tell me a little about your background.  I was born and raised on Long Island, NY, and I am half Pakistani and half Greek. Before I came to CCNY, I finished up my undergrad at… Read More »


March 22, 2021
    “Find a Mentor”: Elaine Johnson, Valedictorian and Founder of TheStylishNomads.com, on Her Colin Powell School Journey   After graduating as the valedictorian of the Colin Powell School in 2017, Elaine Johnson went on to found TheStylishNomads.com and is currently pursuing a doctorate in psychology. In this interview, Elaine discusses her youth in Harlem, her participation in CCNY’s SEEK program, and the mentorship she received from professors in the Department of Psychology.  Where are you from and what is your background? Please share your story.   I was born in Harlem… Read More »


March 01, 2021
  Valuing Non-Traditional Paths: Kelsie O’Leary Brings a Passion for Education from the Classroom to Political Campaigns   Kelsie O’Leary is currently the mobilization director at Brad Hoylman for Borough President, one of several campaign jobs she has dedicated herself to while taking a gap year before finishing her degree in Political Science at the Colin Powell School. With a passion for education, Kelsie is interested in working to elect people who she can trust to prioritize education and work to address inequity in our public schools. This mission has driven Kelsie to… Read More »


March 01, 2021
    Decolonizing Museums: Student Catie Hernandez Combines Art and Activism   Anthropology and Art History major Catie Hernandez is a Macaulay Honors student and Co-President of the Macaulay Feminist Society. In this interview, Catie discusses how CCNY has created the perfect setting for her to combine her love of art and activism, and for her to be able to one day preserve the cultural heritages of traditionally disenfranchised peoples.      Please tell me a little about your background.   I am from a small Long Island town called Babylon. Despite growing up in an… Read More »


March 01, 2021
  Explore as Much as You Can: Riley Tinney’s Path to Stanford Law School   Colin Powell School graduate Riley Tinney is currently a law student at Stanford University. In this interview, she discusses her fascination with using economic data to help solve social problems, her participation in student activism, her decision to join the Peace Corps in Nicaragua after graduation, and how CCNY faculty helped her on her path to law school.     Please tell me a little about your background.    I grew up in Pullman, a small town in eastern Washington State. I was so eager to… Read More »


February 08, 2021
  Julian Abreu   1.     Please tell me a little about your background.  I am an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. I moved with my parents and a few of my siblings to Brooklyn, NY when I was 15. I spoke very little English at that time. But with the help and support of my parents, teachers, classmates, and tutors (and working very hard to conjugate the verb “to be” for a few years), I graduated Salutatorian of my high school and enrolled in City College.  2.     What brought you to City College, and what motivated you to study what you did? The Engineering and Economics… Read More »


February 08, 2021
  Dharamjeet Singh 1.     Please tell me a little about your background.  I am from Burma and I immigrated to the United States about 7 years ago. I came here for college. I was able to get permanent residency. I went to school for a bit in California then transferred over to New York. I continued my education with CUNY at BMCC and then transferred to City College. Now I work as a legislative correspondent in the US House of Representatives. 2.     What brought you to City College?  When I finished my associate’s degree and it was time to transfer, I was surprised to see that… Read More »


January 19, 2021
Dream Big, Test the Road, Build Relationships, and Adapt: Anika Islam on Her Path to Morgan Stanley and Columbia Business School Like many immigrant children, Anika Islam learned to grow up fast. Originally from Bangladesh, Islam was a teenager when her family decided to return to their homeland and she found herself living in New York City on her own. She became an honor student, attending Stuyvesant High School and then the City College Honors Program, all while waiting tables to pay the rent. A curious student of political economy, Islam developed a keen interest in… Read More »


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