Tag Archives: 2020 Senior Awards

Abirami Rajeev

Abirami Rajeev is a Mathematics major and Human Rights and Peace Studies minor. Currently, she works as a math tutor and a technology assistant at Lehman College. She is the Co-Director of the Feminist Society as well as an avid participant in Habitat for Humanity. She has received honors such as the Kenan Fellowship, Induction to the Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, the Meyers Scholarship, and a Presidential Scholar.

Over her four years, she has worked as a Grassroots Canvasser, as a volunteer in Puerto Rico to aid with the hurricane relief efforts, and as a teacher in Thailand for children in danger of being trafficked. Through all these experiences, she discovered her passion for data science and humanitarian work. She plans to work for the Peace Corps and then continue her studies of mathematics, computer science, and human rights.

Caroline Zuba

Caroline Zuba is a Comparative Labor Studies major at CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies at Macaulay Honors College. She is a Macaulay Hertog Scholar and Thomas W. Smith Fellow. She has been involved in TEDxCUNY since her freshman year, originally as the Director of Communications and Media and, for the last three years, as its Lead Organizer/Licensee. At Macaulay, Caroline has served as a Peer Mentor / Orientation Leader, as well as Treasurer of the Peer Mentors, and serves on the Scholars Council as the Brooklyn College Representative for the Class of 2020, previously as the Vice President of Campus Affairs.

In addition to studying abroad in Italy, she has explored her passion for socioeconomic justice through community organizing, research, and courthouse navigation positions. After a gap year, she plans to apply for a combined J.D/Ph.D program.

Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a Political Science and Economics double major and Spanish minor. She is guided by her interests in public policy and global development. Jordan served as the Co-Coordinator of Peer Health Exchange at Brooklyn College and the Director of Speakers and Programming at TEDxCUNY. In the fall of 2017, Jordan began interning with the New York State Legislature as part of the Edward T. Rogowsky Internship Program in Government and Public Affairs. Later that year, she was selected as a William R. Kenan Scholar. As a Kenan Scholar, she traveled to Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Ecuador to complete service-learning projects centered on environmental protection and youth development. In the spring of 2019, she became a Program Development Intern for Latin America at Trickle Up. Jordan spent the summer of 2019 interning at the Economic Policy Research Institute in Cape Town, South Africa where she contributed to large-scale impact evaluations of social protection schemes. Jordan is interested in applying to law school in the near future.

Ryan Seerattan

Ryan Seerattan is a Neuroscience-Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. Currently, he works in the Choi Research Laboratory at Queens College as a Research Assistant. His work focuses on the design and synthesis of small molecule inhibitors that target an enzyme implicated in cancer. Ryan is also a peer mentor in the HSI-STEM program at Queens College, where he assists students in the subject of Physics.

In December 2017, he became a New York State certified Emergency Medical Technician-Basic and has since began volunteering at the Wantagh-Levittown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. He has also volunteered as an Emergency Department Ambassador at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset since February 2018. Ryan was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society in May 2019. In January 2020, he went to Florence, Italy on a Macaulay-funded study abroad program to study nutrition. Following graduation, Ryan plans to apply to medical school while continuing his research and volunteer work.

Vinila Varghese

Vinila Varghese, through the CUNY Baccalaureate for Unique and Interdisciplinary Studies program, created her two majors: Race and Criminal Justice, and Philosophy and Law. She received the CUNY BA/BS Distinguished Scholar Award in May 2020. She is a former Thomas W. Smith for Academic Achievement fellow. Currently, as part of the Pinkerton Fellowship (Summer 2019-May 2020), she is placed at the Legal Aid Society’s Community Justice Unit (CJU). She is currently a projectBasta fellow.

Prior to this, Vinila worked as a Fatherhood Engagement intern at the Midtown Community Court, a Peer Ambassador at John Jay, and a tutor at the Mexican American Students’ Alliance in the South Bronx. She was the co-captain of a Quidditch team (the Macaulay Marauders), and John Jay Honors Peer Leader, and the president and founder of the John Jay Chapter of “Leading Womxn of Tomorrow.” In January 2019, she went to Florence, Italy to study abroad. After graduation, Vinila plans to go to law school and fulfill her life goal of becoming a social justice advocate after taking a gap year.

Joseph Gurbo

Joseph V. Gurbo is a Film Major with a concentration in Screenwriting with double minors in Acting and Television and Radio. In the summer of 2019, he interned at City Lore, a not-for-profit gallery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that is dedicated to fostering New York City’s and America’s living cultural heritage through education and public programs. He worked as a photographer and videographer documenting the Urban Explorers Program, a program designed to encourage New York City high school students to express themselves through dance, theatre, art, and film.

In the Spring of 2020, Gurbo was a general production intern with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. This was a multifaceted internship that provided a working understanding of how a contemporary late-night talk show is written, produced, and broadcast within the same day. Over the course of this internship, working in many different departments, Gurbo gained experience in the rigorous undertakings of producing a show that is filmed daily before a live studio audience.

Mia Chin

Mia Chin graduates with a dual degree in Biology and Anthropology. During her undergraduate career, she co-founded a campus-wide civic engagement initiative “Humanizing Homelessness,” whose primary goal is to provide resources to the homeless of New York City while encouraging local volunteerism. In the fall of 2017, Mia was named an S Jay Levy Fellow in honor of her outstanding academic performance and leadership potential. Following her sophomore year, Mia began work as a research assistant at NYU Langone Headache Center under the supervision of Dr. Mia Minen. As part of her role, she facilitated the implementation of several neurological research studies and co-piloted the Headache and Arts program. This past Summer, Mia volunteered for the United to Benefit Ecuadorian Children International Foundation in Quito, Ecuador, and the Intercultural Outreach Initiative in the Galapagos Islands with her William Kenan Scholar cohort. In May, she begins her postgraduate studies at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health, where she pursues an MPH in Health Policy and Management.

Destany Batista

Destany Batista is an Urban Studies major with a minor in Classical Studies. She currently serves as the Communications Coordinator at the Office of Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal, where she focuses on community organization initiatives and policy research. She has also interned at Friedman LLP and the offices of Comptroller Scott S. Stringer and Councilmember Paul Vallone.

During her time at Macaulay, she spent three years on the Scholar’s Council where she served as Vice President of Student Life for the 2017-2018 school year. She was also a 2019 recipient of the Meyer Scholarship, which enabled her to study abroad in Florence, Italy. She credits her 2018 Macaulay service trip to Puerto Rico as the most rewarding experience of her college career and hopes to participate in future service trips. After graduating, she will continue to engage in government and politics and intends to apply to law school within two years.

Nanami Kubota

Nanami Kubota is a Biology major and worked as an undergraduate research assistant in two research labs during her four years at Macaulay Honors College. She started in Dr. Anadón’s lab at Queens College as a high school student back in 2014 and continued her independent project on the global drivers of beta diversity in birds throughout her undergraduate studies. During her freshman year at Queens College, she also joined a virus ecology and evolution lab, Dr. Dennehy’s lab, and did her honors thesis and completed her Concentration in Science Honors on the mutations and selection in Erwinia amylovora phages adapting to their host’s codon usage patterns.

Nanami presented her work at the SEA-PHAGES Symposium at Mount Saint Mary College and won second place for her poster in 2018. She also received a travel grant in 2019 to present at the American Society for Virology conference hosted by the University of Minnesota. Nanami will be attending the University of Pittsburgh Program in Microbiology and Immunology in the fall where she will be pursuing a Ph.D.

Annmarie Gajdos

Annmarie Gajdos is graduating as Baruch College’s 2020 Valedictorian with a major in Computer Information Systems, a concentration in Music Management, and double minors in Business Law and NYC Studies. She volunteered abroad extensively, spending time in the Galápagos Islands, Israel, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the Republic of Georgia. She currently holds several roles on campus, such as the Chair of Graphics for Baruch Student Government and the President of the Baruch Pre-Law Society, while serving as a Senior Campus Ambassador for WiTNY at Cornell Tech and the National Internal Communications Manager for AIESEC United States.

In Spring 2019, Annmarie was granted a Mayoral Service Award for completing more than 1,000 service hours for the year. She is a William R. Kenan Scholar, a Max-Berger Pre-Law fellow, and a Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest fellow. She is also the recipient of a 2020 Critical Language Scholarship for Swahili. Annmarie intends to pursue a career as an international human rights lawyer, in addition to working as a legal consultant in the music industry.