Past Kenneth Cole Fellows
Liam Bland is a sophomore in Columbia College majoring in Political Science. Originally from Syracuse, NY, Liam spent much of his high school career working with a non-profit youth leadership program, bringing young people from around Central New York together to create healthy environments in their hometowns and high schools. From this experience, Liam gained an interest and passion for community organizing that followed him to Columbia, leading to his current work for Community Impact as an administrative assistant, as well as his work for The Future Project, a NYC based program that partners a high school student with a coach who will aid them in developing a project to benefit their school communities and discover their own personal passions. Liam’s other interest, politics, has led to his current position as a Class of 2015 Representative to the Columbia College Student Council.
Brooke Burrows is a sophomore at Columbia College studying Human Rights and Psychology. Originally from Brevard, North Carolina, Brooke spent her junior year of high school studying abroad in Germany. This experience helped to fuel a love of traveling and learning about different cultures and communities—two things that have influenced both her time in NYC and her future goals. Brooke currently serves as a Lead Activist for the Columbia Democrats, Policy Director for Columbia University Students for Human Rights, and a leader for Columbia Urban Experience, a pre-orientation program designed to get students involved with community service in the city. By partaking in the Kenneth Cole Program, Brooke looks forward to making sustainable and effective change by helping to engage and work with local communities.
Darius Grayer is the third oldest in the line of ten children from Kansas City, Missouri. He is a sophomore pursuing a Bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in East Asian Studies. Darius has worked for Community Impact for the past two years and is also a returning oarsman on the lightweight rowing team. This past summer, he completed the first half of officer training for the United States Marine Corps and will return to complete the second half next summer. Upon graduation and the successful completion of his next phase of training, Darius will be commissioned as a second lieutenant.
Priya A. Gunaseharan is a junior at Columbia University looking forward to graduating pre-med, with a B.A. in Columbia’s Center for the study of Ethnicity and Race Individualized Study Program. She has plans to pursue an M.D. soon thereafter. She has a particular interest in queer and minority communities’ mental health, and how systems of education may or may not take in to account the mental health of students. She will be an advocate for those with mental illnesses, and members of other communities who historically have not been included in medical literature/procedures when she enters the medical field as a professional. Priya feels fortunate to be a part of the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program, through which she can further her understanding of community needs.
Terranisha Hiley was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana where she first found her passion for community service in her own low-income neighborhood. To escape economic hardship, she put all her efforts into academics. She graduated as valedictorian and moved on to Columbia University with a full scholarship provided by QuestBridge. She is a sophomore in the college majoring in Urban Studies with a specialization in Anthropology and is simultaneously pursing the pre-medical track. She wants to earn her MD/MPH to become a research pediatrician in a low-income area, giving back to her community by working on various national chapter boards to improve and reconstruct healthcare laws that oppress minorities. She also hopes to start various non-profits to further provide for her community. She is looking forward to the life long leadership skills, experience, and connections that will arise from this amazing summer as a Kenneth Cole fellow!
Elliot Kwon will be a rising junior this upcoming summer majoring in Architecture with a specialization in Urban Studies. As current president of Habitat for Humanity as well as board member for Project for the Homeless, Elliot is very much involved with community service organizations that deal with homelessness and housing policy. Through the Kenneth Cole Fellowship, he hopes to gain more experience in engaging with and assisting urban communities to fully realize their potentials to become safe, vibrant neighborhoods or cities. He aspires to become a "socially responsible architect," one who persistently advocates for and actively engages with the community for whom he plans and designs.
Armando Lozano was born and raised in Mission, Texas where he immersed himself in community service activities that taught him to follow his passions. As a sophomore in Columbia College studying Ethnicity and Race and Political Science, Armando hopes to further social justice through a legal career after graduation. Currently he volunteers with the Heights to Heights mentorship program where he serves as a role-model to youth from Washington Heights. He is also Co-President of Chicano Caucus, a Mexican-American organization that focuses on social justice. After completing his undergraduate studies, Armando aspires to go to law school and use a legal education to create changes in our legal system that foster community organizing efforts locally and across the country. He wants to make an impact this summer working with the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program just as much as he hopes his work will make an impact on him.
Trinidad Reyes was born in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents immigrated from Mexico to the United States in hopes of finding the “American dream.” While in Chicago, Trinidad attended Pritzker College Prep. During her summers she took classes at the University of Chicago. She graduated valedictorian of her class. Upon graduation she interned with McDonald’s Corporate in Oak Brook, Illinois. She interned in their Global Inclusion and Intercultural Management Department. Trinidad is a sophomore at Columbia University, majoring in Political Science with concentrations in Russian Language and Culture and Business. She attends Columbia University on a full scholarship provided by QuestBridge. At Columbia, Trinidad is an active member of Columbia University’s Women’s Rugby Team. She also tutors Mexican-American students in the Bronx every week.
Yonghak Roh (CC’15) is an international student from South Korea with much interest in the humanities, pursuing Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Political Science, and International Relations. Born in Seoul, he lived in Korea and Japan prior to attending Tabernacle Christian School (’07) and De La Salle High School (’11) in California, where he developed his passion for the Latino community and greater international affairs. Before joining Columbia , he was an active leader in cultural groups including La Familia, a Latino culture group, and SCORE (Student Coalition on Respectful Education), a student-led organization promoting awareness of cultural and social diversity. Yonghak continues to develop his interest in international relations and community engagement at Columbia, currently working closely with the Hispanic Coalition NY, Inc. to develop a mentoring program for Latino youths and serving as social and cultural awareness chair of 2012-2013 GEQUA-Ecuador. He hopes to continue his service in the international sector and most importantly to continue to immerse himself in great communities of friends who enjoy diversity of cultures and backgrounds.
Chaeyeon Song is a current sophomore at Columbia University majoring in Operations Research with minors in Economics and Entrepreneurship. Born in South Korea, she moved to Canada at a young age where she began to discover her passion for social entrepreneurship through a nation-wide summer program called Shad Valley. During her time at Columbia, she hopes to learn how to fulfill community needs in the engineering as well as entrepreneurial field, particularly in areas of finance and business management. She wishes to become a venture capitalist later on so that she can provide small businesses with the resources they need to contribute to the community with their ideas. She also enjoys playing the drums, playing squash, and reading during her free time. Chaeyeon is excited to be part of the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program where she has the chance to gain firsthand experience in making a change in the community.
Andrea S. Viejo is a sophomore from Monterrey, Mexico majoring in Political Science and Sociology, with a concentration in Business administration. At Columbia, Andrea has been a columnist for the Columbia Daily Spectator and a contributor to Nuestras Voces, the only Spanish publication on campus directed towards the neighboring Hispanic community. She has also been an active member of the TEDxColumbiaCollege team, the alternative spring break trip GEQUA Ecuador, and a Mathematics tutor. Since moving to New York, Andrea developed a particular interest in US relations with Latin America; she is an activist for Latino immigrant rights and advocates against the violence resulting from the Drug War. Andrea feels fortunate to be a part of a program like the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program in a community as diverse and dynamic like New York City.
Yvonne Vogt is a junior in Columbia College studying Sustainable Development with a concentration in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She was born in Monterrey, Mexico but moved to Greenwich, Connecticut when she was six and has lived there ever since. At Columbia, she is the co-leader of the Dining Committee of Eco Reps, which functions as a liaison between students and Columbia Dining in order to maintain and improve its commitment to sustainable practices. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, biking, cooking, and playing tennis. In terms of civic engagement, she is interested to learn how the community can work towards developing more sustainable practices. She hopes to gain valuable work and life experiences being an active member of the community through the Kenneth Cole Fellowship.
Courtney Bradford is a Columbia college sophomore majoring in African-American studies. She is a forward/center on the Columbia University Women's basketball team. This past summer, she worked for Columbia University's General Counsel. After completing her undergraduate studies, she desires to be a lawyer and a life coach. Her goal in life is to advocate for the socially and economically disadvantaged.
Alexis Connolly is a sophomore in Columbia College, and plans to major in Urban Studies with a concentration in Business Management. She was raised in Marlboro, New Jersey and enjoys frequent trips home to visit her family. In her free time, Alexis loves looking for designer items at consignment shops and attending hip hop concerts at venues throughout the city. She recently discovered her interest for civic engagement and social justice by enrolling in The Social World and interning at Democracy Prep Charter School. On her bus trips to The Garden State she enjoys bringing food and gloves to the panhandlers in Port Authority, but she hopes that the Kenneth Cole Program and Seminar will give her more tools and resources to have a more lasting effect for her homeless friends. Alexis has adopted her mother’s fervor for assisting the poor, and is considering pursuing a law degree in the hopes of causing reform throughout the prison and justice systems.
Jessica Eaton is a sophomore in Columbia College who is a perspective major in human rights and English. She lives in Gaborone Botswana but has spent the last 3 years in the United States, one on a high school exchange program in Connecticut, and two in New York at Columbia. She is the secretary of the Columbia University Students for Human Rights group on campus, a tutor for the America Reads program, and is involved in the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee, leading tours and holding information sessions. She hopes that her involvement in the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program will help her to apply her theoretical knowledge of social injustice and interest in human rights issues to real and practical situations.
Sebastian Garcia is a third year student studying civil engineering at Columbia University. As a child he was fascinated by graceful designs of buildings and structures and the cause of their stability, which led him to pursue a degree in the structural engineering field. Inspired by the desire to bring change to communities that need it he plans to use his knowledge in the engineering field to aid these poor and developing communities to allow for easily accessible resources and housing. After graduation, Sebastian intends on pursuing a master's degree in civil engineering to become even more knowledgeable and have a greater impact in the field. In his free time he enjoys dancing a variety of styles of dance, ranging from Latin club dances to Ballroom dances and participates in competitions as part of the Columbia University Ballroom Club. His other interests include general health and fitness (he became a personal trainer two years ago) as well as drawing from time to time.
Derion Givens is a third year in Columbia College studying sociology and creative writing. He is from Memphis, Tennessee. On campus, he is the vice chair of the Asian American Alliance, publicity chair of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and a facilitator with the group Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education. In terms of civic engagement and community activism, he is interested in the way youth, education, masculinity, and gender intersect and affect urban violence and in housing rights and reform. He hopes to learn more about these issues through real world experience in the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program and to learn more techniques for effective community building. In his free time, he cooks, walks, and writes.
Samantha Hightower was born and raised in southeastern Kansas, where she developed a passion for community service and an interest in hands-on scientific pursuits. She is currently a junior in Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, majoring in Chemical Engineering. Her future plans include obtaining a Master’s of Public Health and going into a career in environmental health, nutrition, and/or urban planning. She also hopes to use an intersectional analysis of public health issues to empower those facing multiple marginalizations.
Sophie Luo is currently a sophomore at Columbia College pursuing a double major in History and American Studies. Originally from Naperville, IL, she developed a strong interest in community engagement after interning at several community-oriented organizations, such as the education non-profit World Savvy and the bicycling non-profit Bike New York. On campus, she is involved with Green Umbrella and EcoReps, two groups advocating for a more environmentally sustainable campus, and tutors high school students through the Double Discovery Center. In her spare time, Sophie enjoys biking, cooking, doing crossword puzzles, and exploring the many nooks and crannies of New York City.
Alberto Luzarraga is a Columbia College junior majoring in Urban Studies with a concentration in History. Raised in Short Hills, NJ, he is interested in a variety of fields, most notably urban planning, education, and the law. (Alberto is also somewhat indecisive.) He believes that sustainable community change inevitably derives from improving educational standards for children of all ages. On campus, he is currently active with Peer Health Exchange, a group that teaches ninth graders in cities across the country crucial information on a variety of health issues relevant to teenagers. He also likes to cook, ski, and play tennis in his spare time.
Grace McCarty is a junior in Columbia College, majoring in American Studies and Hispanic Studies. Since her arrival at Columbia, Grace has devoted much of her time, both inside and outside the classroom, to improving educational opportunity for students in New York City. Through her participation in the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program, she hopes to theoretically and practically explore the relationship between community building and academic success.
Mica Moore is a current sophomore in Columbia College, double majoring in Political Science and English and Comparative Literature. Growing up in the Washington DC area, Mica has always been interested in political and grassroots volunteerism and recently interned with the Fairfax County Democratic Committee. Mica also enjoys reading and writing, has contributed to the Columbia Spectator, and is on the editorial board of the Columbia Review. She hopes to attend law school after college, and is very excited to be a Kenneth Cole fellow!
Victoria Nneji is a sophomore in Columbia Engineering studying Applied Mathematics. She is passionate about using her technical talents to solve social problems. Upon graduating from North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics, Victoria proceeded to expand her venture: The Digital STEM. She and her team are working to close the digital divide by teaching young girls from underprivileged backgrounds how to refurbish computers. Victoria sees every opportunity in life as a blessing from God.
Tieisha Tift is currently a junior in Columbia College, majoring in Urban Studies, with a specialization in Education. Born and raised in Trenton, NJ, Tieisha has witnessed firsthand some of the damaging effects of poverty and a fractured education system on urban and minority youth. She believes that all students should have access not only to a quality education, but also to the tools, resources, and support services that will ensure their personal, intellectual, and civic development. Through her studies and experiences with Community Impact, she has also gained insight into the variety of issues that plague urban issues, and looks forward to collaborating with communities and other Columbia scholars through the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program to brainstorm ways to address community needs.
Daniel Bell is an Electrical Engineering major in Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science Class of 2012. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, located on the US-Mexican border. He is an intern for the Multicultural Recruitment Committee, and is dedicated to seeking out the brightest young scientists and engineers that strive to play an important role in our scientific community. One of Daniel's goals in life is to start his own business dedicated to developing and promoting alternative energy independent systems. He would also like to start his own organization that provides students with the ability to display their talents and illustrate the investment in our future through the younger generations. His favorite quote is "When your thoughts are deep in doubt, give yourself a chance. You'll be surprised at what you can do."
Jorge Betanzos is currently a rising Junior in Chemical Engineering in Columbia Engineering. Hoping to get involved with non-profit work with an emphasis on education, Jorge has been involved with AmeriCorps' Jumpstart Program and mentored Generation On's High School Community Engagement Program. He enjoys exploring the culture of New York City as well as searching for potential ways to introduce his background and culture to his community. The experiences in his community of Yonkers are the motivation to getting involved in helping fractured communities. He would like to thank Mr. Cole for making this program possible and allowing him to experience real groundwork in the area of work he feels most inspired in.
Daniel Campos is a rising Senior in Columbia College majoring in Mathematics and Statistics. He believes that effective civic engagement is needed today more than ever to connect the public to their government and translate our diverse community’s needs into action. Daniel aspires to have a career in public policy to help bring about real and lasting change. Prior to this fellowship, Daniel had internships at the White House and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Aside from this, Daniel is the President of the Chicano Caucus, an ardent Los Angeles Lakers fan and is known to play a mean viola.
Lucas Farrar is a junior at Columbia University working towards a B.A. in Urban Studies. He became involved with the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program because he wanted an internship that would put him on the ground and in the real life of New Yorkers. He is a media fiend and an avid photographer. He would like to incorporate the camera into his work at the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center this summer to document who and what they encounter. He is looking forward to this productive and fulfilling work!
Brandon Lewis hails from Atlanta, GA and is a junior in Columbia College. His major is Urban Studies and a proud member of the first class of the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program. He has a passion for serving communities and is interested in building bridges both within and between communities. This summer he is interning with New York City nonprofit Legal Information for Families Today, an organization that provides free legal information to litigants in the family court. He is thankful to Mr. Cole for sponsoring this program and the opportunity to be a true agent of change.
Amanda Lopez is a junior in Columbia College, majoring in history and film studies. With a deep passion for social action and community engagement, she considers her personal background a huge advantage in her work. Raised in the Bronx and educated in private institutions, she believes the key to making her own impact in the world lies in the marriage of these experiences, which respectively provide her with the motivation and the tools she needs to most effectively advocate for social change. She too wishes to unite these goals with her career goals, her ultimate dream being to use film and communications as instruments of social change. She attributes all that she does to the fact that she fervently loves life and could not do without trying to optimize it for everybody.
Carolyn Matos was born and raised on the sunny Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. She is a senior at Columbia College, majoring in Urban Studies with a special concentration in Sustainable Development. At Columbia, Carolyn dances with Sabor, the Latin dance troupe, and is a member of Delta Gamma. This summer, she will be interning with Legal Information for Families Today (LIFT) and will be studying for the LSAT's. After college, Carolyn hopes to go to Law School to study Environmental Law. She is especially interested in preserving endangered species and their habitats, as well as climate-related litigation, and the complexities that climate change impose on the law.
Louisa Mink, a senior in the college, is an urban studies major with a strong interest in education equity. The Kenneth Cole program gave her the unique opportunity to work with a combined public school-community center which aims to link educational attainment and neighborhood well-being. At Columbia, Louisa is a member of the Women's Rowing Team, and an enthusiastic supporter of various Morningside Heights eating establishments. In the past, she worked for Jumpstart for Young Children, an Americorps program that runs early language and literacy enrichment centers in low-income preschools. She also coached various learn-to-row camps at her home YMCA and the US Coast Guard Academy.
Jason Mogen is a senior in Columbia College, majoring in religion with a focus in East Asian Buddhism and Judaism. On campus, he is a Community Impact Student Executive Treasurer and coordinator for One-to-One Tutoring. Jason also plays the French horn in the Columbia University Wind Ensemble, serves as Publicity Manager on its executive board, edits for the Columbia Science Review, and is a member of the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee. After having recently completed a marketing internship at Carnegie Hall, Jason is incredibly excited to work with CLOTH to develop new programming for the Lucille Bulger Center for Community Life.
Kimberly Rubin is a junior majoring in Urban Studies with a focus in Political Science. She was born in Chicago and raised in Camden, Maine. Although she came to Columbia to study Art History, she quickly became interested in urban social issues. She is especially passionate about food and social justice. Therefore she am looking forward to working with a community-based organization targeting food insecurity. She has interned at Slow Food USA, the New York Botanical Garden, and worked for MoMA PS1. At Columbia, she is involved with Consilience: Journal of Sustainable Development and the Columbia University Food Sustainability Project.
Sara Salzbank is a rising senior in Columbia College majoring in American Studies and concentrating in Business Management. While at Columbia University, she has served as co-chair of the sponsorship committee for Columbia Community Outreach which is responsible for the University’s annual day of community service. In addition, Sara has been active off campus as a volunteer at a local food pantry and as an intern at a Harlem charter school.
Camila Schaulsohn was born and raised in Santiago, Chile. She is a senior at Columbia College, where she is double-majoring in Art History and Architecture. Her interests include sustainable architecture, learning about New York’s public spaces, and the historical and cultural preservation of Coney Island. Camila has interned at the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, shaping her view of how public spaces influence communities. After college, Camila plans to attend graduate school for urban planning.