Jake Levin ’16 (Brooklyn) | Macaulay Honors College

“I chose Macaulay because of the incredible price tag, material amenities, academic support, course offerings, and location in the greatest city in the world.”

Jake Levin has kept his hands in a lot of things: in middle and high school he flittered between soccer, theater, photography, aerospace design, and circus arts. Jake began to focus more narrowly on politics and government when he begged a local newspaper for a press credential and interned as a photographer during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Since then, Jake’s trajectory has been marked by growth and achievement. In 2015, he received the prestigious Harry S. Truman Scholarship for public service, one of only nine CUNY students to receive the award to date. In 2016, Jake was selected into the NYC Urban Fellows Program for 2016-2017.

“As a kid who grew up in a town of 7,000, being selected to serve New York City in this way is a thrill,” said Jake, whose family lives in Hampstead, New Hampshire. “I look forward to working on engaging projects and initiatives while also rolling up my sleeves and engaging with some of the more pressing challenges facing the city.”

While at Macaulay, Jake co-founded and organized TEDxCUNY, the first public university TEDx conference in New York City. Most recently, the political science and philosophy major was chosen as a 2016 Fellow with Citizen University, working on civic participation and research into citizen power. Jake graduates Phi Beta Kappa.

When not in class, or working on political organizing, Jake is also working with the Musicabana Foundation, which is organizing the first international music festival in Havana, Cuba, where Jake used his Opportunities Fund to study abroad.

The son of a chef dad and social worker mom, Levin was born in Scituate, Massachusetts before his family moved to southern New Hampshire. He was actually on his way to Carnegie-Mellon University when Macaulay Honors College called him off its waiting list.

“I weighed my options – a very expensive school that will land me in massive sums of debt in Pittsburgh, or a stellar education for free in New York City.”

This summer, Jake will head to Washington, D.C. with the Truman Summer Institute, where he will work as an intern for a non-profit or federal agency. Eventually, Jake hopes to work on political campaigns or for a public policy think tank, and will likely attend graduate school in the next few years. One certainty with Jake—CUNY has played a big part in his growth and success.

“I am so unbelievably grateful for the diversity at CUNY—the academic diversity, racial diversity, gender diversity, age diversity, and diversity of spirit. The diverse environment has changed my perspective many times. I am grateful, also, to have received such a stellar education in such an amazing city, and I am grateful to graduate with zero debt.”

Jake is also a Hertog Scholar and a Lisa Goldberg-Revson Scholar.

Jake Levin