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Student Spotlight Archive

Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership

Student Spotlight Archive


Michaela Dougherty, Colin Powell School’s 2016 valedictorian, is a field organizer on Alison Boak’s State Senate campaign for New York’s 40th Congressional District. She is currently considering joint juris doctorate and master degree programs in international conflict resolution and peace, and wants to “learn more about improving national and international institutions, laws, and relationships in order to prevent destructive armed conflict, exploitation, and human rights abuses from occurring as easily as they do today.”  Michaela committed her undergraduate college career to developing her understanding of international issues. She entered City College as a transfer student in Fall 2013 wanting to “study the world among students from around the world.” She soon declared a political science major and took classes that examined topics like international human rights law, international organizations, conflicts in the North African and Middle Eastern regions, the French-Algerian war, and the Arab-Israeli conflict. By graduation, she had studied the Arabic language in Rabu,  Morocco, conducted research on human rights organizations in Israel and Palestine, added a Jewish Studies major “with the intention of exposing [herself] to a specific type of conflict,” completed the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies, been awarded a human rights fellowship in the Partners for Change program, and won recognition, respect, and awards for her exceptional work on international relations and political science. 
Michaela offers this advice to her fellow students: “find [your] passion by exploring a variety of courses across different disciplines. When you find your niche, continue exploring different perspectives on what you are studying.” She also recommends that CCNY students participate in fellowships and clubs that provide professional development opportunities. Michaela found that the relationships she built in the Skadden and Partners for Change programs helped her make thoughtful decisions about her post-graduate life. 
Ultimately, Michaela’s success comes from her disciplined work ethic, carefully developed skills, and impassioned academic focus. Through her accomplishments, she has positioned herself closer to her goal of settling aspects of the world's most affecting conflicts.
Curious to know what Michaela does next? View her LinkedIn profile here
View Michaela’s valedictorian speech here.


Angelica Olivares

Angelica Olivares applies a simple philosophy to her daily life—success comes to those who strive to move forward, even in the face of adversity. At the City College of New York, where she is currently a junior, Angelica puts this belief into action by involving herself deeply in her curricular and extracurricular life.
Angelica’s decision to double major in political science and international studies is rooted in her personal experience. At the age of three, Angelica and her family moved to the Dominican Republic from New York City. After many years of living and studying in the Dominican Republic, Angelica moved back to New York and started her college career at CCNY. Her experiences in Dominican Republic and the United States encouraged her interest in different political systems and the societies they structure. Angelica’s studies sparked her interest in law, which she plans to pursue professionally following graduation. She intends to dedicate her practice to issues of women’s and civil rights, and immigration. 
Angelica realized that study alone would not suffice for meeting her goals. This semester, she is complementing her academic experience by participating in the Washington, DC Semester Program offered by the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. The program allows students the opportunity to earn twelve college credits over the course of the spring semester while interning full-time for a government agency or non-profit organization of their choosing. In addition, students attend classes, lectures, and workshops that help them contextualize their internship experiences in the nation’s capital. Participating in the program has opened new avenues for Angelica, and has helped her develop a network of professional and personal contacts which she believes will be of enduring value long after the semester ends. 


Prisley Santana

As a City College student, Prisley Santana is exposed to a wonderfully diverse group of people. Santana's desire to learn more about human society and social problems prompted her to declare Sociology as her major. Now a lower junior, she is thinking of adding psychology to her academic curriculum. Santana's curiosity extends beyond reading about human society in sociology and psychology textbooks. She enjoys reading mysteries and thrillers, with a particular interest in the characters’ psychological behaviors. Santana understands that in order to excel in her chosen fields, she must deeply understand how the human mind works and what motivates people to behave in the ways they do within their social realities.

Thinking, Knowing and Remembering (PSY 253000) made a perfect fit. Santana learned about the organization of knowledge in the mind, how our experiences as humans can affect what we remember about certain events, and the difference between declarative and procedural knowledge -- which explains why people remember things from a month ago, but not from yesterday. Santana found learning about cognitive processes challenging and rewarding. Ultimately, though, the course allowed for self-reflection and helped her discover how incredibly complex the mind is. Santana felt this class not only valuable to her goal of becoming a clinical social worker, but also a great pleasure to engage in.