Student, Faculty, and Alumni Stories

July 03, 2020


This year’s Pride Month was perhaps like no other. Amidst a pandemic and economic crisis, Pride crossed paths with a nation-wide uprising for racial justice, monumental decisions by the Supreme Court on DACA and LGBTQ workplace protections, and a primary election that shook up establishment politics. In the conversation below, three activists from the MPA Program – Kalima Mckenzie-Simms, Antonio Lopez, and Patrick Koslecki (pictured above, left to right) – discuss Pride, its intersections with Black Lives Matter and immigrant… Read More »
June 08, 2020


The MPA Program is thrilled to welcome our new executive director, Bobby Derival. Bobby first came to the MPA Program as a guest lecturer in 2019. He quickly developed a meaningful bond with the students and demonstrated a strong commitment to the program’s mission of preparing the next generation of civic and global leaders to create transformative social change. A first-generation Haitian-American, Bobby holds master’s degrees in public health and international conflict resolution from Arcadia University. He brings more than… Read More »
May 29, 2020


Tarik Fathallah and his multinational team won a competition hosted by MIT with a project that will use artificial intelligence to help people fact-check rumors about COVID-19 and obtain accurate information about the virus and its transmission.   As the pandemic spread, MPA student Tarik Fathallah was determined to stay engaged, continue advancing his career in social impact, and help resolve the public health crisis gripping the globe.  “I needed to find a way to turn this whole experience around,” said Fathallah. “I felt… Read More »
April 28, 2020


Everyone is talking about the pandemic and the government’s response, but one Colin Powell School student decided that talk was not enough. Over the past month, Patrick Koslecki and his mother, Shannon Koslecki, have produced hundreds of cloth masks using a sewing machine in their New Jersey home. They have donated the masks to hospitals, nonprofit organizations, and individuals in 25 states and three countries. The team uses donated fabrics, elastic bands, and other materials collected through appeals posted on social media.… Read More »
March 05, 2020


On Wednesday, 48 undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni gathered in Shepard Hall to learn about public service career paths and meet professionals in the field. The evening began with a panel discussion. The eight panelists spoke about their experiences in local and federal government, nonprofit organizations, philanthropic foundations, social enterprise, law, social impact consulting, and more: Yaritza Holguin, Associate, Ichor Strategies  Taif Jany, Policy Entrepreneur, The Next 100 Tiffany McGriff, Foreign… Read More »
February 28, 2020


  R. Mark Musell, former director of the MPA program, has spent decades studying, teaching, and writing about budgeting and the budgetary consequences of various government programs.  His new book, Understanding Government Budgets: A Guide to Practices in the Public Service, is an effort to untangle budgets so that students and citizens can better engage government.  “Budgets are chockablock with information on all aspects of governance, but it isn’t always easy to get at or interpret,” he stated. “That’s unfortunate, because… Read More »
February 04, 2020


For most of her young professional life, Kalima Mckenzie-Simms has dedicated herself to helping schools become safer places for LGBTQ youth. Under her leadership, the PFLAG Safe Schools Program has more than tripled its presence in New York City schools. The program counters homophobia, transphobia, and bullying; gives LGBTQ students the support they often lack at home; and educates school communities about sexual orientation and gender identity. In recognition of her tireless and passionate work, Mckenzie-Simms was selected to… Read More »
January 27, 2020


In commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day this January 27th, we bring you an interview with Naomi Puzzello (MPA ’18), a Romani-American activist who participated in a major world gathering in Poland last year to raise awareness about the genocide committed against the Roma people during the Holocaust. She speaks about the Romani identity, history, and struggle; her experience in Poland; and the intersection of anti-Gypsyism with other forms of oppression. Since graduating from the MPA Program at CCNY, Puzzello… Read More »
December 20, 2019


Professor Joel Mentor, an intelligence analyst and first-generation American, teaches students to be critical thinkers, curious researchers, and effective relationship-builders.  Students in Professor Joel Mentor’s course know their ideas will be taken seriously, and that means they’ll be pushed and challenged intellectually. “I create a class environment that is safe, not in the sense that people won’t be challenged, but in the sense that they can express their views and others will treat them with respect and not try to show… Read More »
December 17, 2019


Final project for core MPA course examines leadership through the lens of intersecting social movements Good leaders humanize the struggles of marginalized people, build genuine relationships with allies, and push for transformative changes that get to the root of the systems of oppression in our society.  Those were some of the themes of MPA students’ final presentations for leadership class last week.  The students produced podcasts exploring leadership in movements to expand LGBTQ rights, dismantle mass incarceration, end… Read More »
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