The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College congratulates our Public Policy and JFEW students on their accomplishments in the 2019-2020 academic year. Each year our students dedicate a piece of their academic endeavors to learn how public policies responding to urgent issues are created, how communities – across race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, among other differences – come together to demand change leading to greater equity and justice, and the ways in which the impact of laws can be assessed.
Roosevelt House is proud to share that JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar Pooja Chopra ‘20 has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Established by Congress in 1946, The Fulbright U.S. Student Program offers international opportunities to graduating seniors and recent graduates for research, teaching, and graduate school. Pooja is one of approximately 2,000 yearly grant recipients for the program, which sends students of all disciplines to over 140 countries. Pooja’s academic study at Hunter exemplifies the Scholarship’s mission of international partnership with her self-designed concentration in South Asian Decolonial Feminisms, work which she will continue to pursue as a Fulbright recipient.
As a JFEW Scholar and through her academic work, Pooja is actively engaged with Roosevelt House. She says, “From the first Human Rights course I took, to being a JFEW Scholar, Roosevelt House has been fundamental in shaping my academic career at Hunter College, propelling me in the right ways towards my personal and professional future. Conversations I’ve had at the Roosevelt House regarding social justice and equity on many fronts has informed my outlook on anti-colonial expression in Puducherry during the 19th century, which I’ll be examining through my Fulbright research grant. I’m deeply grateful for the mentors, professors, and cohort members from the Roosevelt House who have guided me throughout my time at Hunter College.”
In addition to her involvement with Roosevelt House, Pooja has earned the Belle Zeller and Jacqueline Schiller Scholarships and the Audre Lorde Prize for Poetry. She has also served as a member of the Hunter College Senate.
Isabel Gouse is graduating senior in the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter majoring in Political Science and minoring in Human Rights. She is also pursuing a certificate in Public Policy at Roosevelt House with a focus on Public Health. After graduating from Hunter, Isabel aspires to pursue a Master’s in Public Health and focus on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.
Isabel chose to be an Urban Fellow to expand upon her experience in the field of public service. She has interned with nonprofits and looks forward to the opportunity to work at a city agency. Isabel credits Hunter with supporting her by providing a network of faculty who are invested in her future endeavors, as well as classes she took through the Public Policy Program that fueled her interest in pursuing a career in public service with a focus on public health.
Conor Hosford will graduate from Hunter College in May 2020 earning a degree in Urban Studies, certification in Public Policy, and a minor in Economics. Conor currently serves as a Public Service Scholar fellow on the Cyber NYC program at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, having worked prior in the agency’s Asset Management Department. After graduation, Conor will serve as a member of the AmeriCorps Vista Program — an anti-poverty program created by Lyndon Johnson in 1964 as the domestic version of the Peace Corps.
Conor will be serving in Erie, Pennsylvania on the Bayfront East Side Taskforce organization, where he will work on community revitalization through engagement, housing, and placed-based initiatives. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve for one year-terms at locations throughout the country, living and working alongside community members to solve problems and advance local solutions. Members buildup capacity in nonprofit organizations and public agencies to generate the commitment of private sector resources, encourage volunteer service at the local level, and empower communities and individuals.
Aliana is a junior JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar majoring in media studies and political science. After her project proposal was accepted, Aliana said, “I am excited to begin my research as a Mellon Public Humanities Scholar by exploring how different socioeconomic and political forces shape the way we view gender and identity, as well as how we can deconstruct views of the Muslim woman’s body and their ‘otherness.’” As a second-generation Muslim-American woman, Aliana describes in her project proposal her intended focus on second-generation Muslim-American women in New York City to examine “how their intersectional identities inform their experience of different non-religious spaces.”
Originally from a suburb of metropolitan Atlanta, Aliana moved to New York City to pursue her undergraduate degree at Hunter College, where she is a Muse Honors Scholar, Cooperman Business Fellow, and JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar. In addition to her studies and campus involvement, Aliana runs a freelance multimedia business, ALIJ.CO. She plans to bring her expertise in photography to the public outreach component of her project, saying in her proposal, “I would like to tie in my passion for portrait photography and put faces to the stories of local Muslim American women who demonstrate their gender and identities, however they see fit.” Aliana has long been interested in the intersection of media and politics and is excited to bring her overlapping passions to her Mellon Public Humanities project. She describes how being a Roosevelt House student has inspired her to pursue answers to these questions, saying, “Being a part of the Roosevelt House has blossomed my passions for engaging in conversations that are oftentimes overlooked.”
Tahra Jirari graduated from Hunter College and the Public Policy Program at Roosevelt House in May 2020. This fall Tahra will be join the Charles Koch Institute as a new member of the Koch Associate Program. “I am so lucky to be a part of this program where I will be a part of the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State where I will be witnessing world-class policy-relevant research. My main tasks will be helping to draft and edit copy whether that be through press releases, publications, social media posts, or through research summaries. I will also be tracking projects, media exposure, and impact on reporting as well as helping to facilitate effective internal communication.”
Tahra credits the Public Policy Program at Roosevelt House for helping to prepare her for her new role. She emphasizes the Public Policy Program’s focus on preparing students to not only evaluate and analyze the implications of public policies, but also to educate others interested in learning more about the function of policymakers. In addition to pursing a Minor in Public Policy, Tahra was a member of the student advisory board at Roosevelt House. “Through this program, I was able to land a helpful internship at a political consulting company where I was able to dabble in the same tasks that I will be asked to in my fellowship. The public policy program gives you not only real hands-on experience but also coursework that prepared you to qualify and apply for fellowships to launch a career in public policy.”
Gustavo Moran, a proud Mexican-born Brooklynite, is a junior majoring in Urban Studies, double minoring in Sociology and Political Science, and pursuing a certificate in Public Policy from the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. Since his sophomore year, Gustavo has interned for the Council Speaker and Manhattan Borough President and worked on various legislative and policy initiatives to promote community outreach, equitable access to food, and analyzing transportation alternatives. Currently, he is participating in a discussion surrounding the current development of New York City and the implications of housing demand, equitable job growth, and affordability, in collaboration with the Eva Kastan Grove Fellows. He plans to earn a Master’s in Urban Planning and Public Policy and continue working to make NYC equitable for all New Yorkers.
The Mellon Public Humanities Scholars Program will provide Gustavo with the opportunity to put his professional interest in urban planning and public policy in service of a minority community. With the help of the MPHSP, he will partake in a research project to support Sunset Park, a neighborhood undergoing rapid housing and economic changes. Moreover, this opportunity will pave the road to a career of research and hopefully assist NYC design policies and programs.
Cerimar Olivares is a graduating senior and JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar who is pursuing majors in Political Science and English Language Arts as well as a minor in Human Rights. Next year, Cerimar will be undertaking a nine-month fellowship at a city government office or agency as part of the Urban Fellows Program. This highly selective program combines public service, volunteer opportunities, and a seminar series on urban issues and public policy.
Cerimar brings to the program her experience interning with the U.S. House of Representatives, Equality Now, and Community Board 8, as well as extensive volunteer work in her community. She aspires to work in international relations to promote peace, prosperity, and diplomacy around the world. Cerimar says, “As an Urban Fellow, I hope to deepen my understanding of the laws and policies that govern everyday life in New York City and apply the knowledge I acquire to improving the lives of New Yorkers. This experience will further aid me as I continue on my path towards a career at the State Department’s Foreign Service Office.”
Ashley Sealy is a graduating senior in the Macaulay Honors program at Hunter College and is majoring in Human Biology, with a double minor in Public Health and Public Policy. This fall, she will attend the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health to pursue a Master of Health Administration degree, concentrating on Health Policy & Management. Ashley’s Public Policy Capstone project focuses on the premature mortality and life expectancy disparities observed between Black and White Americans.
Ashley has chosen to pursue an MHA degree because she aspires to reduce inefficiencies in a healthcare facility’s daily operations by implementing innovative organizational strategies. The Public Policy Program at Hunter College influenced her to enroll in this degree program, which focuses on Health Policy and Management, because it helped her to realize that public policy is an effective tool that can be used to resolve public health issues and address issues with the U.S. healthcare system.
Andrew Shkreli is a junior pursuing a major in English Literature, certificate in Human Rights, and minor in Public Policy. He credits Roosevelt House, the Public Policy Program, and the Human Rights Program with cementing his commitment to public service and arming him with the resources and confidence needed to pursue opportunities. He is immensely grateful for the continued support of Roosevelt House staff in his endeavors.
Andrew earned the Raab Presidential Fellowship and will spend his summer researching literary representations of state-based models of political sovereignty and their ability to promote human rights. Under the guidance of Professor Agathocleous of the Hunter English Department, he aims to research precolonial and postcolonial ideas of statehood to understand how a reimagining of the state may best uphold human rights.
Jessica Sirico is a senior JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar majoring in political science and gender studies with a minor in human rights. Following graduation, Jessica will participate in the Urban Fellows Program. In addition to her involvement as a JFEW Scholar and Human Rights student, Jessica is an Eva Kastan Grove Fellow and previously served as a research assistant to the Human Rights Program. Jessica brings to the Fellowship her experience in policy and advocacy, which includes internships with Citizens Union, a U.N. based non-profit specializing in women’s justice, LOFT, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the office of Assemblywoman Rebecca Seawright. As the president of an LGBT+ student advocacy group, Jessica spearheaded a campaign for a more gender-inclusive bathroom policy at Hunter.
Jessica is currently completing a senior honors thesis on the relationship between sovereignty and neoliberalism. She cites the JFEW Program and the Roosevelt House as major contributions to her passion for public service. Through their guidance and resources, Jessica learned about the nuances of policy and government and gained the important skills necessary for political work. She hopes to carry this knowledge into her work as a Fellow as she looks to better the lives of everyday city residents.