Six Macaulay Honors College students from all different backgrounds and with varying interests are the 2017 William R. Kenan Scholars at Macaulay Honors College. The Kenan Scholars program was founded to enhance honors education at CUNY by sponsoring a group of outstanding Macaulay students who have demonstrated an early commitment to service and civic engagement. Students are selected in their sophomore year. The winners this year from the Class of 2019 are Stephanie Geier (Queens College), Alexander Legg (City College), Julia Marie D’Alessio (College of Staten Island), Shahrin Azim (Queens College), Marco Costanza (College of Staten Island), and Arianna Injeian (City College).
Stephanie Geier was raised in one of the most diverse areas of Queens and has lived in New York City her entire life. Stephanie is interested in a range of social justice issues, and hopes to use her journalism and communications background to advocate for them. She is pursuing a double major in Political Science and Media Studies, as well as a certificate in Public Policy. Stephanie is specifically interested in criminal justice policy, due to her time interning at a reentry organization called The Fortune Society. She is currently a Social Media intern at The New American Leaders Project, and hopes to pursue a career in communications, public policy, or a combination of both.
Alexander Legg grew up in a small town called Delhi, New York which was named after the capital territory of India, though 92 percent of its residents are white. When it was time for him to apply to college, New York City was the escape he had on his mind. New York City offered Alexander a chance to be surrounded by a large number of eclectic peoples, and was a place that was tolerant and offered a chance at growth. At City College, Alexander is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Women’s Studies on the pre-med track. When Alexander isn’t studying organic chemistry or cognitive psychology, you can find him running along the West Side Highway. He hopes to attend medical school in New York City, and one day provide health care to marginalized and underserved communities.
Julia Marie D’Alessio describes herself as an innovative, strong, confident, compassionate, and enthusiastic woman with a strong drive and determination. Julia has been involved in community service since a young age, dedicating between 100-200 hours a year in service throughout her high school career. She is also a Nursing major with American Sign Language Minor with a goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner, assisting those who are hearing impaired. She strives to be able to use her American Sign Language skills with the deaf community to ensure they have proper health services without a language barrier. Julia is also passionate about the importance of mental health in college age students and works effortlessly to bring awareness to the vital importance of maintaining good mental health, and plans to pursue this passion during her time as a Kenan Scholar.
Shahrin Azim is a Bangladeshi immigrant who came to New York at the age of 3. Living in Queens has helped foster her appreciation and curiosity for different cultures. Not only is she interested in medicine, but she also calls herself a lurking activist who speaks up for women’s rights with the non-profit organization International Muslim Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment (I’M WISE). At Queens College, Shahrin is pursuing a B.A. in Neuroscience/Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies. She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, aiding the housing crisis in New York. Shahrin wants to become a doctor and travel the world with Doctors Without Borders, but for now, she is just trying to make New York a safer place, and to empower young Muslim women.
Born and raised in New York to two immigrant parents from opposite sides of the world, Marco Costanza developed an interest for learning about the intersection of race and cultural ethnicity in healthcare. At the College of Staten Island, Marco is pursuing a dual degree in Psychology and Spanish on the pre-med track. In doing so, he aspires to integrate knowledge of human behavior, cognition, cross cultural perspective, and language in medicine. Over the past three years, Marco has held roles as a researcher and medical assistant at a local pediatric practice. Leveraging his clinical experience and public service with scholarship, he is currently researching the effects of income inequality in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods on cardiovascular health, mental health, and hospital re-admission. Marco is also currently a 2016 America Needs You Fellow.
Arianna Injeian is from Nyack, NY, a river town in Rockland County. Before attending the City College of New York, Arianna pursued her interest in mental health by participating in her high school’s Science Research course. During the summer of 2014, Arianna worked in an HIV/AIDS children’s clinic in Nepal, assisting with tasks such as nutrition and medication administration, as well as leading outreach programs to promote awareness of HIV and provide resources and information about the disease. A medical anthropology major on the pre-medicine track, she is primarily interested in infectious disease, women’s health, and mental health. Her goal is to obtain an MD/PhD and work for Doctors Without Borders, ideally in Latin America. She believes that in addition to having a strong foundation in science, it is important to learn about the cultures and backgrounds of the patients that a doctor is treating.