Tag Archives: 2020 Senior Awards

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.

Paul Menestrier

Paul Menestrier is a Financial Mathematics major at Baruch College. During his undergraduate years, Paul served many different roles. At Baruch College, he worked in the Mathematics department, served as a peer-mentor for incoming students, and was the latest Teaching Assistant for the Financial Leadership Program. Paul was also an integral member of the Investment Management Group, a club managing part of Baruch’s endowment. In his final roles as Chief Investment and Chief Operating Officers, he managed over $400k and secured an additional $150k in funding. Paul was also nominated to be on the Baruch Presidential Search Committee, playing a role in the selection of Baruch’s incoming president.

Paul’s undergraduate years would be incomplete without mention of his community service. For the past 7 years, Paul has served at the Whitestone Volunteer Ambulance Service. Climbing up the ranks to his current role as senior-EMT and Membership Committee Chair, Paul has directly served his community on hundreds of free emergency calls and looks forward to continuing his service after graduation.

Ashley Sealy

Ashley Sealy is majoring in Human Biology, with a double minor in Public Health and Public Policy. Throughout her undergraduate career, she has worked part-time as a gymnastics coach. This past academic year, she has also served as Co-President of the Macaulay Diversity Initiative, which advocates for Macaulay Honors College’s underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups.

Since Fall 2018, Ashley has volunteered for Peer Health Exchange and has facilitated weekly health education lessons in an under-resourced high school. In Summer 2019, she interned with the Greater New York Hospital Association and Mount Sinai Health System, where she assisted in lowering the health system’s total supply costs. In Fall 2019, she was awarded the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which funded her study abroad trip to Sydney, Australia in January 2020. This fall, she will attend the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health on a half-tuition merit scholarship. She will be studying Health Policy and Management, and working toward a Master of Health Administration degree.

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.

Samah Islam

Samah Islam created her own major through CUNY BA in Narrative Medicine and Health Sciences. She was elected to the Macaulay Scholars Council as the CCNY class of 2020’s freshmen representative and went onto becoming VP of IT/Communications her sophomore year, then President for two years in a row–the first time in MSC history.

She was an athlete on CCNY’s Fencing team and two-year President of City College’s Illustrious Mentorship Program (CHiMP), a Macaulay Peer Mentor and Macaulay Ambassador. She’s worked with 596 Acres on removing nonprofit organizations from the tax lien sale list and this year the organization successfully passed a bill protecting those places.

She interned in International Sales and Marketing at Penguin Random House and with Career Development at Macaulay, working on the Healthcare Career Fair.

She is a Laura Schor Scholar and Thomas W. Smith Fellow. And all of this is still probably not enough for her South Asian mother.

In the Fall, she will be studying Occupational Therapy at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.