College: Baruch College
Awards: New York City Urban Fellows Program, 2017; Edward T. Rogowsky CUNY DC Internship, 2017
Law School Is in Sight for One Purpose - Public Service
The day after an ISIS-inspired gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 in an Orlando nightclub in June 2016, Jibreel Jalloh began interning with Rep. Yvette Clarke in Washington. "Her office was bombarded with calls, and the debate about banning assault weapons consumed our office for the next month," he recalls.
That was just one in a series of internships that propelled Jalloh, who earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Baruch College this year, into a 2017 New York City Urban Fellowship. The nationally competitive, $30,000, nine-month fellowship places participants with New York City agencies to encourage public service.
This first-generation college student says he graduated from a public high school in Bushwick reasonably up to speed academically, but without needed study and social skills. CUNY's Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge program (SEEK) and Urban Male Leadership Academy "provided structural support to gain a firm footing in college. They showed me the importance of mentorship and taught me the soft skills necessary for success."
He has served as president of Baruch's SEEK Society, peer mentor and vice president of the campus Black Student Union. "I believe that everyone can get through college with the proper support system," he says.
When he lived with his grandparents and other family members in Sierra Leone for two years, he encountered the aftermath of that country's 1992-2002 civil war. "At 9 years old I was playing soccer with amputees - kids who had one arm or one leg and were using crutches to play goalie," he recalls. "It didn't hit me at that moment, but they were children my age who had survived the civil war. If my parents had not decided to come to America, I could have been one of those kids."
In the spring of 2016, he interned in Albany with Assembly Member Charles Barron, drafting bill memoranda, analyzing demographic trends and meeting with constituents. In the fall of 2015 he interned with City Council Member Jumaane Williams, working on legislative issues and representing him at meetings. And in the summer of 2015, he worked for the Mayor's Community Affairs Unit, helping with inquiries and advising the public about government policy.
"Working on all legislative levels, from New York City Council to Congress, I've touched on many topics: gun violence, economic growth, the social costs of gentrification and bail reform among them," he says. "I'm passionate about changing my community for the better - regardless of whose jurisdiction it falls under." He intends to go to law school to better prepare for public service.
Jalloh recalls the mock legislative session at the end of his time in Albany, when he played the role of an Assembly member, debating and voting on bills. "It was amazing to see my parents, immigrants from Sierra Leone, watch me, their son, speaking on the floor of the Assembly."