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2017 Award-Winner Profiles


Munazza Alam

College: Macaulay Honors College | Hunter College
Awards:National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2017

At Harvard, Researching Exoplanets 6.5 Light Years Away

Munazza Khalida Alam, now a Harvard doctoral student, deduces what's in the atmospheres of exoplanets more than 6 light years or more away from Earth.

Norbesida Bagabila

College: Borough of Manhattan Community College
Awards:Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, 2017

A Goal of Joining Western Technology With Traditional African Medicine

Norbesida Bagabila wants to combine Western and traditional African medicine and dreams of creating the first research university in his homeland, Burkina Faso.

Maneesha Bhugwansing

College: Macaulay Honors College | Baruch College
Awards:Fulbright U.S. Student Program, 2017

Economics That Work for New Americans

Maneesha Bhugwansing will earn a master's degree in the Netherlands focused on European economic politics and global innovation; her goal is to work in international economic development.

Bianca Brown

College: York College
Awards:National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2017

Be It Barnacle or Fruit Fly, the Microbiome Is in Focus

Bianca Brown, now earning a doctorate at Brown University, investigates the relationship between creatures and the bacteria that live within them (like the bacteria in intestines) in changing environments.

Michael Clark

College: CUNY Baccalaureate Degree
Awards:Fulbright U.S. Student Program, 2017

LGBTI Research on Refugees in Kenyan Camps

Michael Clark heads to Kenya's sprawling refugee camps to assess the impact of anti-gay laws in other African countries that have turned countless thousands into migrants fleeing for their lives.

Giselle Cordero

College: Queens College
Awards:New York City Urban Fellows Program, 2017

Learning to Become an Agent of Change

Giselle Cordero will explore the nuts and bolts of public policy as a New York City Urban Fellow, hoping to become a change agent for the powerless.

Tao Hong

College: Queensborough Community College
Awards:Goldwater Scholarship, 2017; Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship, 2017; 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar, 2017; 2017 Phi Theta Kappa All New York Team Award, 2017; National Science Foundation-2017Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, 2016; 2016 Gold medal at American Chemical Society-Long Island Section 16th Chemistry Challenge, 2016; 2015-16 New York State Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (NYSMATYC) Award for Excellence in Mathematics, 2016; 2017 Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Scholarship, 2017

From Hardly a ‘Hello' to Studying for a Ph.D. in Science

Tao Hong heads into a career in science and mathematics, which he sees as the key to unlocking the world around us.

Jibreel Jalloh

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

Jibreel Jalloh, the son of African immigrants, draws on experiences ranging from survivors of Sierra Leone's civil war to interning in the state Legislature and the House of Representatives as he studies how to make society more just.

Claire Lynch

College: Macaulay Honors College | City College
Awards:Truman Scholarship, 2017

Speaking the Language(s) on a Path to Aiding Refugees

Claire Lynch intends to apply her experience in grassroots advocacy and public policy, together with her growing fluency in Arabic and Spanish, to the needs of immigrants and refugees.

Faiza Masood

College: Hunter College
Awards:Marshall Scholarship, 2017

Learning What We Don't Know About Islamic Law

Faiza Masood intends to use her Marshall Scholarship to earn master's degrees in Islamic Studies and Islamic law at London's School of Oriental and African Studies.

Yvonne Ng

College: City College
Awards:Student Academy Award, 2017

Aftermath of a Nuclear ‘Kumo' in the First Film of a Trilogy

Yvonne Ng won a Student Academy Award silver medal for her thesis film, the first of three about diminishing the nuclear threat.

Kristina Sarkissyan

College: Baruch College
Awards:Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship, 2017

Fluent in Three Languages -- and Business Management

Kristina Sarkissyan will perfect her knowledge of business-related Spanish during a rare federally sponsored internship in Mexico.

John Wetmore

College: Macaulay Honors College | Hunter College
Awards:Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, 2017

Spanish, Latin, Neuroscience, Biostatistics, Chemistry, Archaeology…

John Wetmore takes a gap year to teach English in Madrid before heading to graduate school in biostatistics.

Alexandra Whittaker

College: Macaulay Honors College | City College
Awards:Fulbright U.S. Student Program, 2017

Discovering an Artist Unknown in the U.S.

Alexandra Whittaker, who intends to become a photo curator, heads to Poland to research the "First Lady of Polish Photography" -- a woman virtually unknown in the United States -- who created art during and after World War II, when artists were viewed with suspicion by Nazi and communist authorities.