Dear Colin Powell School Community,
The very special commencement celebration for the Colin Powell School Class of 2021 is scheduled for Thursday, June 3rd at 11am EDT on Zoom and YouTube. I hope you will mark your calendars and plan to join us. This virtual celebration will feature many of the traditional elements that mark commencement, including a valedictorian address, and remarks from General Powell and a couple of special guests. We will have a "procession" of graduates through photos and slides.
I am pleased to share that the Valedictorian for the Colin Powell School Class of 2021 is Aisha Fuenzalida Butt. We have three salutatorians: Sangida Akter, Tony Huertas, and Hebh Jamal. Congratulations to all four of them. I invite you to see below for their bios.
Members of the Class of 2021 will already have received an e-mail with a survey link through which they can RSVP for the June 3rd celebration event, as well as to upload photos to be included in this video. If you are a member of the Class of 2021 and you have not yet filled out the graduating student survey, please click on this link, and submit your picture as soon as possible, and no later than by Monday, May 10.
The celebration of this year’s graduating class starts now, and I look forward to staying in touch in the coming days as we do all we can to make this moment—these next six weeks—as special as possible for them.
Richard J. Henley and Susan L. Davis Dean
Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership
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AISHA FUENZALIDA BUTT
Aisha Fuenzalida Butt is a first-generation college student majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies. The inevitability of climate change intensifying underlying inequalities in marginalized communities ignited her passion for social, racial and environmental justice. Aisha is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Global Scholarship which allowed her to participate in three study abroad programs in Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, and a semester-long program in Australia. While abroad, she worked with such organizations as Reserva Playa Tortuga, Equipo Tora Carey, and Hacienda Tranquila, observing first-hand the various challenges of conservation projects and their impact on local communities. Her experiences overseas, along with her coursework, inspired her to develop an interdisciplinary independent research project as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, which developed into her senior thesis. Aisha’s work investigates the sociocultural and ecological effects environmental protections have on local communities in Costa Rica. Outside the classroom, she served as a mentor in the BliMP program to first-year students of color and aided in the development of a peer mentoring program as a member of the Colin Powell School Student Advisory Committee. As a Climate Policy Fellow, she will be interning at the National Resources Defense Council during the Summer of 2021. After graduating, Aisha will begin her English Teaching Assistantship as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain before applying to Anthropology graduate programs. She will be forever indebted to the wonderful mentors, professors, staff and friends at CCNY who saw potential in her and for their invaluable mentorship, encouragement and kindness.
Sangida Akter is a student in the City College Honors Program, graduating with a double major in Psychology and Sociology. At the Colin Powell School, she has challenged herself to apply the tools and frameworks she has learned in the classroom to the mental health experiences of minority communities. As an aspiring clinical psychologist, she is passionate about shedding light on the complex mental health needs of marginalized communities and the implications such findings have for clinical intervention and policy. At CCNY she has pursued research projects that seek to understand how cultural/religious identities, the immigrant experience, and stigma interact with psychopathology to create unique risk and protective factors. Through the CCNY S Jay Levy Fellowship for Future Leaders, she interned as a research assistant at the NYU Headache Center. There, she acquired a deeper understanding of the barriers patients face in accessing behavioral therapies and the need for innovative clinical interventions that are accessible, affordable, and inclusive. Sangida hopes to use the insights and curiosities generated by her upbringing as a South Asian and Muslim American, and the skills and principles obtained during her time at the Colin Powell School, to diversify the field of clinical psychology research.
Tony Huertas was born and raised in Queens, New York and is of Puerto Rican descent. After a long career as a Paralegal and a thirty-five year absence from the classroom, Tony once again became a student at BMCC in the Spring of 2017, where he majored in Liberal Arts and graduated with Honors in the Spring of 2019. At the BMCC Graduation convocation, Tony was awarded the Orville N. Hill College Discovery Award and the Abner B. Rosenfield Award for Outstanding Scholarship/Citizenship. He was also Valedictorian for the College Discovery Program. Upon graduating from BMCC, he was named the recipient of the Mitsui USA Foundation CUNY EDGE Scholarship. Tony transferred to The City College of New York, where he became a political science major and a SEEK student enrolled in the Skadden Arps Honors Program. During his junior year at CCNY, he was awarded the prestigious Herman Badillo Scholarship for service to the community and academic excellence. He is currently a mentor at the Malave Leadership Academy. Tony is an avid volunteer and believes in volunteerism as a means of participation in his community. He has volunteered at Gay Men’s Health Crisis, God’s Love We Deliver, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and Housing Works. Tony is a passionate advocate for Human Rights and plans to represent the LGBTQ community either as an attorney or Social Worker.
Hebh Jamal is widely regarded as an advocate against education inequality, Islamophobia, and the occupation of Palestine. Hebh was profiled on many platforms such as the NYTimes, TeenVogue, Netflix documentary Teach Us All and many more. Hebh Jamal worked for organizations such as IntegrateNYC, NY Appleseed and most recently at the NYU Metro center as a youth policy fellow tackling school segregation in NYC. She was the president of CCNY’s Students for Justice in Palestine. She is graduating with a history and political science degree Summa Cum Laude. During her time at City College, Hebh received the Koch Fellowship, Arthur Tiedman’s Best Undergraduate History Paper, and has been on the Dean’s List multiple times. She pursued her activism within the walls of CCNY and the Colin Powell School by advocating for education reform and Palestinian liberation. Hebh recently moved to Germany where she plans to continue her education with the hopes of pursuing a career in academia.
Please note the following:
Graduates of September, January, and February are automatically invited to the Spring Commencement ceremony.
To all June applicants for graduation, attending the Commencement ceremony does not automatically mean that you have graduated from CCNY. You must satisfy all of your degree requirements.
All graduates will be notified to their CCNY email address regarding degree conferral/diploma availability.
For students admitted to the college in Fall 2014 and after the graduation honors policy is as follows:
- A degree summa cum laude is granted to students whose average in all subjects is at least 3.8.
- A degree magna cum laude is granted to students whose average in all subjects is at least 3.5.
- A degree cum laude is granted to students whose average in all subjects is at least 3.2.
Only coursework completed at City College is taken into account in the computation of graduation honors. Second degree students are not eligible for graduation honors.