2020 Grove Fellowship Cohorts

 Christian Gonzalez’s Cohort

Roosevelt Scholar and Watson Fellow Devashish Basnet, who grew up in Nepal, looks forward to a life of public service, or law perhaps as a human rights attorney. As a recent intern for the International Rescue Committee, he gained experience in work that benefits asylum seekers and refugees, and he has started his own small philanthropic foundation to help the children at his former Nepalese school obtain clothing and school supplies.

Bryan Bogats is a Sophomore and a Macaulay Honors Scholar. Outside of the classroom he is a Senior Health Educator for Peer Health Exchange. As an educator he facilitates workshops about mental health, sexual health and substance use for high school students who are lacking proper health education. Bryan also interns at Breakthrough New York where he teaches and mentors his cohort of eleven high school freshmen in order to push them towards academic and personal growth. Bryan intends on majoring in Social Work and minoring in Human Rights with the intention of receiving his MSW in the future. He wants to use his passion for education and self-determination to later become a LCSW to work with youth of color and queer identities. 

Marissa Cronin is a Macaulay Honors College sophomore majoring in Political Science with minors in Economics and Public Policy. She has previously interned for a State Assembly Member, which solidified her interest in pursuing a career in public service. She is a distance runner on the Hawks Cross Country and Track teams and media manager of The Envoy, Hunter’s student- run newspaper. 

Alistair Ramirez is a native New Yorker with a passion for sustainability and healthcare. He is currently studying Economics and hopes to make an impact through more accessible healthcare. His field of study will help him better understand healthcare issues within a broader context. In his spare time he likes to travel and gain a broader world perspective. When he travels, he likes to do community service in order to better understand the community. 

Besmira Rraci is a sophomore and Roosevelt Scholar at Hunter College graduating class in 2022. Majoring in Urban Studies and pursuing a certificate in Human Rights through Roosevelt House, she aims to address the socioeconomic disparities in urban communities and how they make way for human rights violations. Rraci is also working towards a future in immigration law in order to assist those populations throughout New York City. 

Jennifer March’s Cohort

Lucille Baer is a Roosevelt scholar, a Thomas Hunter Honors scholar and a JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar majoring in Human Biology and Urban Studies. Lucille currently interns at Public Health Solutions in the Maternal Child Health Unit where she assists with direct service programs for mothers and families. After graduation in the spring of 2020, she hopes to pursue a career in public health with a focus on reproductive justice.

Mona Reed is a junior majoring in English literature, and pursuing a minor in political science. She is a Mellon-Mays Fellow, completing a research project on the Victorian poet Christiana Rossetti. Mona interns at the office of Council Member Diana Ayala, and is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for foster children. In addition to her studies and community involvement, Mona works at a Fifth Avenue salon. 

Firdaws Roufai is a First Generation Togolese American student, writer, and activist. She has 3 years of experience in community organizing from the Brotherhood SisterSol, a non-profit organization dedicated to bridging the economic, educational, social, and political gap for Black and Brown youth. Firdaws is currently involved in the “20/20 Campaign” which calls for a 20% increase in each of the numbers of student support staff (Guidance Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, etc.) in NYC Public Schools. 

Audrey Sargente is a sophomore and Macaulay Honors Scholar studying Human Biology and Legal Studies and pursuing a Public Policy Certificate focusing on education. She is interested in the intersection of public health and education and explores this through working with Peer Health Exchange where she teaches high school students public health. Upon graduation in 2022, she intends to pursue a J.D to work in education policy. 

Emily Shafran is a Thomas Hunter Honors student majoring in Gender & Policy with a certificate in Child Welfare Policy. She is the president of Hunter College Hillel and is interning at Manhattan Community Board Eleven in East Harlem. Graduating after Fall 2021, she plans to pursue a joint MSW/MPP degree and work on comprehensive policy reform within the NY state child welfare system. 

Melva Miller’s Cohort

Mia Becerra is a senior at Hunter College, graduating in the spring of 2020. She is pursuing a Major in Philosophy with a concentration in politics and society, as well as a minor in Political Science and a minor in Legal Studies. Mia is planning to pursue a career in Labor and Immigration Law post-graduation. She aspires to improve sustainable lifestyles for immigrants and laborers through political and legal action.

Max Deutsch 

Max Deutsch is a Thomas Hunter Honors Scholar, treasurer of Hunter Hillel, and Regional Co-Chair for J Street U. He is majoring in Political Science with a certificate in Public Policy, and expects to graduate in 2021. Max has interned at prominent political consulting firms, giving him the opportunity to work directly with some of New York’s top politicians on their campaigns, and he intends to continue this work in city government in the future. 

Alexis Fowler is a proud New York native. A junior at Hunter College, Alexis will graduate Spring 2021 with a degree in Urban Studies and a minor in African and Puerto Rican Studies. She has a passion for supporting and developing underserved communities, and looks forward to bringing equity and equality to every day life in aspects such as housing, immigration, and law. 

Gustavo Moran 

Gustavo Moran is a junior majoring in Urban Studies, pursuing a certificate in Public Policy, and minoring in both Sociology and Political Science. Gustavo has interned for Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Borough President Gale Brewer. Gustavo is passionate about combating gentrification and displacement in Brooklyn through the creation of neighborhood plans. Upon graduating, Gustavo aspires to pursue a Masters in Urban Planning and Public Policy to make NYC more affordable and equitable for all New Yorkers. 

Tasneem Sultana is a sophomore at Hunter College majoring in Political Science and Economics with a public policy certification. She is part of the Thomas Hunter Honors Program and the Pre-Law Society. She is a student ambassador at Hunter College. She has interned in Queens Supreme Court and currently working at Queens Chamber of Commerce. Upon graduation, she plans to attend law school and be a voice for the voiceless by becoming a public defender. 

Carol Jenkins & Bettina Hager’s Cohort

Jessica Sirico is a JFEW and Thomas Hunter Honors Senior Scholar majoring in Political Science and Gender Studies with a minor in Human Rights. She has completed a variety of internships pertaining to issues such as environmental justice, LGBT+ rights, women’s justice, and government accountability. Following graduation, Jessica looks to work in local politics, using public service as a route for achieving economic justice. 

Kerin Shilla, Class of 2021, is a Macaulay Honors Scholar majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Relations. As an intern with the Tanzanian permanent mission to the United Nations, Kerin was fascinated by the many aspects to be considered in the creation of a successful foreign policy proposal. Her focus was on the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically reduced inequalities, and zero hunger. She aspires to work for the United Nations council. 

Allison Stillerman is a senior Roosevelt Scholar studying public policy. She is the Head Delegate of Hunter’s Model United Nations team and former President of the Pre-Law Society. Allison is an Associate Project Manager at, a city initiative that connects women to career and entrepreneurship resources and programming. She is passionate about public spaces and resources and looks forward to a career building accountability and fairness in local government. 

Diana Kennedy is a current sophomore at Hunter and a Macaulay Honors Scholar. She is a Women and Gender Studies major with a minor in Political Science. She became more interested in public service and policy through her participation in the Women’s Public Policy Internship, where she interned at Senator Liz Kruger’s office. Attending the needs of underrepresented groups is very important to Diana, and so she plans on pursuing a career in immigration law. 

Katherine Vanessa Barreto is a Senior majoring in Political Science and double-minoring in Human Rights and Spanish. The daughter of Ecuadorian immigrants, Katherine is passionate about advocating for immigrant and refugee rights. She has held various internships and currently interns at the NYS Division of Human Rights. Upon graduating Spring 2020, Katherine plans to attend law school and obtain a degree in International Law to serve those in need around the world. 

Dorchen Leidholdt’s Cohort

Harrison Cade is interested in criminal justice reform and immigration reform. He is a Thomas Hunter Honors Junior Scholar and a member of the mock trial team. In the last year, he has interned at the Supreme Court of Manhattan and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. Currently, he interns at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He is a pre-law student, who hopes to pursue both a career in law and a career in politics. 

Bridget Rao is a political science major and legal studies minor and is expected to graduate from Hunter College December 2020. After graduation, Bridget plans on attending law school with a concentration in human rights. Bridget realized her passion for public service through her involvement with the Women’s Student Association as well as her delegation to the United Nations while earning her Associate of Arts degree at Nassau Community College. 

Montserrat (Monti) Lopez is part of the 2022 Roosevelt Scholars graduating class at Hunter College. Her major is political science alongside minors in public policy and Spanish. Born in Mexico, Monti is a DACA recipient and moved to Queens at five years old. She has worked with nonprofits like UnLocal, Peer Health Exchange, El Puente de Williamsburg, and LatinoJustice. Monti hopes to attend law school and one-day join state or national lawmaking. 

Feigie Bloom is a Jewish student at Hunter College planning on pursuing a Bachelor’s in Social Work at Silberman. They are passionate about queer and trans community and activism, and multicultural Jewish solidarity and anti-imperialism work. They have interned at Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, and been involved with Palestine Solidarity Alliance at Hunter. 

Charles Platkin’s Cohort

Kyra Abbu is a Daedalus Scholar, majoring in Data Science and Biostatistics, and pursuing a Certificate in Public Policy with a Concentration in Health Policy. As an advocate for using data science to solve problems at the core of society, she was a Data Disaggregation Intern and currently a Data Science Intern at the NYC DOHMH. Kyra hopes to pursue a Master’s degree in Health Data Science to further apply data science in healthcare, medicine, and public health.

Noah Dougherty is a Junior at Hunter college, graduating in the spring of 2021. He is pursuing majors in political science and philosophy, as well as a minor in Human Rights. Along with being a member of Hunter’s Men’s soccer and tennis teams, he is a Thomas Hunter Honors Scholar. After graduation, he aspires to receive a JD and work to develop progressive policy and protect civil rights. 

Cristina Russo is a senior at Hunter College, graduating in the spring of 2020. She is a Roosevelt Scholar, Thomas Hunter Honors Scholar, and a JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt scholar. Cristina is pursuing a major in environmental studies with a policy and management concentration and a minor in public policy. She aspires to advocate for the implementation and advancement of sustainable infrastructure, especially in urban environments. 

Christina Valeros is a Macaulay Honors junior pursuing a major in Human Biology, certificate in Public Policy and minor in Public Health. Her experiences as a health educator cemented her interests in the intersection of social inequity and health as they relate to food insecurity. Upon graduation in Spring 2021, she aspires to pursue a dual master’s degree in public health and public policy.