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Andrew Marcus

College: Macaulay Honors College | Hunter College
Awards: New York City Urban Fellows Program, 2014

Making NYC a Better Place

Andrew Marcus, a 2014 valedictorian from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College, graduates with a double major in math and physics. He’s even conducting research in the lab of Hunter professor Steve Greenbaum, using nuclear magnetic resonance instruments to evaluate materials that can improve electrical batteries.

“I enjoy math and physics, but what I care about is making the city a better place,” he says. As an undergraduate, he interned with the Mayor’s Office and the NYC Economic Development Corp., took Macaulay honors seminars about New York City, was inspired by speakers at Roosevelt House like former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch and traveled to China to see how six cities operate in a developing nation (“They’re 100 years behind us in regulation,” such as of environmental pollution).

With his selection as a New York City Urban Fellow, Marcus will have the opportunity to work in a government agency and perhaps affect the development and implementation of policy. “I want to stay in public service. Most people come into government studying political science. I bring a different perspective, and it’s increasingly important for cities to know about science and technology.”

For example, Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a request for proposals to turn 9,100 outmoded pay phones on the streets of the five boroughs into 21st-century Wi-Fi communications kiosks.

Marcus grew up talking educational policy at the dinner table with his parents, who are both teachers in the public school system. Eventually, he says, he’s likely to go to graduate school, although he’s not certain in which field. “In the long term, I could see myself in elected office. We’ll see what happens.”

The nationally competitive New York City Urban Fellowship is a nine-month program that introduces participants to local government and public service. Fellows work in a New York City government agency, take seminars in urban issues and travel to Albany and Washington, D.C., to discuss government structure and finance with public officials. It offers a $30,000 stipend and health insurance.