City College of New York

Elaine Johnson

Elaine Johnson, the 2017 City College Salutatorian and Valedictorian of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, also received the Anthony and Marian Belli Outstanding SEEK Graduate of the Year award.  During her four years at City College she accumulated numerous honors and awards. Among the honors that she earned as an undergraduate are the Colin Powell and Jeanette K. Watson Fellowships, the Bernard R. Ackerman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology, membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Societies, and SEEK Scholar status.  Elaine was also a Dean’s List student regularly.

While maintaining her excellent academic record, Elaine found time for community service. As a freshman, she began volunteering with the Peer Health Exchange, an organization devoted to empowering young people to make better health-related choices and thereby improve their health outcomes.   She has continued her volunteer work with that organization and is also active in her church.  Elaine has served as a SEEK mentor and tutor, eagerly sharing her knowledge and success strategies with other students. She plans to continue to work to empower the youth in her community by mentoring, tutoring, and spreading motivational messages through her website and offering online support. After graduating, Elaine will spend the summer at the University of Cambridge in England where she will be a research assistant on a project that focuses on the development of resilience in youth who have faced repetitive traumas. She later plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Safat Chowdhury

Safat Chowdhury graduated in 2017 with a major in environmental engineering.  Safat is passionate about service and political engagement and his activities as a CCNY undergraduate reflect those passions. He attended the Student Leadership Academy his freshman year and was inspired to take on a leadership position within the SEEK Club at CCNY. Safat provided guidance to assist with the revitalization the SEEK Club. He subsequently became an Undergraduate Student Government Senator (USG) and later USG President.

Safat’s many honors and awards include membership in Chi Alpha Epsilon National Honor Society, attaining a SEEK Scholar and Dean’s list status, becoming a recipient of the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME) Renee Guttman Scholarship for Leadership, and the Distinguished SEEK Mentor award, amongst others.  Safat has interned with the Department of Environmental Protection for the last two summers and worked in a Con Edison co-op program as an Engineering Aide.  His most recent endeavor is a start-up that uses technology to connect students who are at risk of being homeless and helping them find jobs, housing and resources. One of Safat’s post-graduation plans is to start a SEEK Alumni Association and create a structure for connecting current students and alumni.

In his community Safat previously served as a board member for Queens Community Board 4 and a board member for New Visions Democratic Club.  In speaking of SEEK, Safat has said “The SEEK program gave the opportunity for financially disadvantaged students to pursue a lifetime opportunity when no one else did. It is through the SEEK program where I was able to define my life goals, and most importantly discover myself and who I really am.”


Anileyda, a first-generation college student, graduated in June with a B.S. degree.  She majored in biology and completed a minor in chemistry. A summer cum laude graduate, she was among a small group of students interviewed by the committee that selected the college’s valedictorian and salutatorian.  After graduation, Anileyda plans to take a year off to prepare for the MCAT exam and apply to medical school in pursuit of her goal to become a surgeon.  During her years at City College, she became an America Needs You Fellow, a SEEK Scholar, a member of Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, and a SEEK tutor. She has also gained experience with the health care system through patient advocacy and research. As a Latina majoring in STEM, she is keenly aware of the underrepresentation of Latinas in the sciences and in the medical profession. Anileyda hopes to contribute to the field of medicine and, as a physician, be an example to other minority students of what they too can achieve with hard work and guidance.

Jun Li

In addition to his role as a computer engineering student at the City College of New York, Jun Li has been actively involved in community service through his volunteer work at a local high school.  His coursework was enhanced by the valuable experience he gained through his research in the nanotechnology lab at the college. Jun has distinguished himself academically and graduated in four years with summa cum laude honors.  He was the third SEEK student interviewed and considered this years for top honors as the class valedictorian or salutatorian. Jun received the SEEK Outstanding Scholastic Achievement award and top honors in the computer engineering department. A SEEK Scholar and a tutor in the SEEK Peer Academic Learning Center, Jun has helped his SEEK peers achieve their academic goals as well.  He is grateful for the “tremendous help from SEEK counselors and the SEEK PAL Center” that he has received during his four years of enrollment.  Jun hopes to work in software development after graduation. His ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D. and work in a university teaching and conducting research.


Born in Accra, Ghana, Bassit immigrated to this country in 2002.  He graduated from City College this past June with a BS degree in psychology.  He selected this career path because it enabled him to combine his interests in science and psychology. He worked closely with a member of the psychology faculty and helped create a psychology peer mentoring program. Bassit also worked as an assistant in the autism research lab of a biology faculty member and as a student volunteer in the Harlem Hospital Health Leads Program.

While managing the demands of his coursework and other commitments, Bassit was a standout member of the CCNY Track and Field team for five years, winning several medals during that period. In addition, he co- founded the Medical Roots Project chapter at CCNY, a student organization that educates the public about self-care as a form of primary care. In acknowledgement of his extensive volunteer work, Bassit was given the SEEK Community Service award in 2017. Since graduating he is working in a research center at Columbia University, teaching a course at Bronx Community College through their College Now Program, and working as a Success Coach with Creative Connections, a youth development organization.

Baruch College

Shantel Deleon

Shantel is currently pursuing a BBA in Accounting, with a double minor in Communications and Political Science at Baruch College. As a High School student she gained three years of experience as a graphic designer and public speaker.

York College

Katsiaryna Hud

For three consecutive year York’s valedictorian was a Chemistry major and aspiring physician. Katsiaryna Hud was the 2014 deserving scholar who attended York as a SEEK student.

Lehman College

Albaro Guzman

Albaro Guzman graduated from Lehman College in 2015 with a GPA of 3.7 and a major in Mathematics. While at Lehman he was awarded an NSF funded Computer Science and Mathematics scholarship and a La Gran Parada Dominicana del Bronx Scholarship. He received Magna Cum Laude honors and was a Presidential Scholar and Dean’s List Scholar. Subsequently, Albaro earned a Masters of Science in Teaching with a focus on Adolescent Mathematics Education from Fordham University under a Robert Noyce Scholarship. He is a NYS Certified Teacher of Mathematics 7-12 with a Bilingual Extension.  Since graduating from Lehman Albaro has been teaching fulltime for the New York City Department of Education. He has also taught for the Lehman College Mathematics and Computer Science department and  Fordham’s STEP program and tutored for SEEK at Lehman.

Julian Adames

Julian Adames is a former Lehman College SEEK student who graduated with honors with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics in spring 2016 earning a cumulative GPA of 3.57. He has been hired as a full-time Lecturer by the Math Department at Lehman. Julian continues to be affiliated with SEEK.

Tiffany Coke

Tiffany Coke is a Lehman College SEEK student who graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in spring 2016 with a cumulative GPA of 3.27. For the summer of 2017 she worked as an Adjunct Lecturer with Lehman College’s Freshman Year Initiative Program to teach preparatory workshops in general science and biology for incoming SEEK freshman students. Aspiring to attend medical school, Tiffany is studying for the MCATs as she continues to work with SEEK as an academic tutor and workshop leader.

Gabriela Rodriguez

Gabriela (Gabby) Rodriguez is a Lehman College SEEK student who graduated with honors in spring 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and a minor in Biology and Public Health. Her cumulative 3.73 GPA is indicative of the tremendous hard work she put into her studies. Upon graduating, Gabby was hired as an Adjunct Lecturer for the Biology Department and later as a Non-Teaching Adjunct by the SEEK Department. Gabby also received the Sweeny Award, one of the Chemistry Department’s prestigious awards. Gabby has been an inspirational member of the SEEK community as a dedicated Academic Tutor because of her extraordinary success in many extracurricular student activities including internships, study aboard, and leadership in pre-med student activities. With aspirations to become a heart surgeon, Gabby is currently studying for the MCAT and plans to start medical school in the fall of 2018.

Borough of Manhattan Community College

Naomi Mackliff

Naomi Mackliff graduated from BMCC with a major in Liberal Arts. She plans to attend Hunter College this fall.  With a double major in Religion and Early Childhood Education, she wants to become a NYC Pre-K school teacher. Some of her achievements at BMCC included maintaining a 4.0 GPA in two years. She is a recipient of the BMCC Foundation Scholarship, member of Phi Theta Kappa, Chi Alpha Epsilon and CD Valedictorian for 2017. Ms. Mackliff was a peer mentor and during her freshman year at BMCC, studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Raj Rana

Raj Rana graduated from BMCC with a major in Business Administration and is transferring to Baruch College, where he will be pursuing a degree in Finance. Mr. Rana aims to work on Wall Street.

Iman Mohammed

Iman Mohammed graduated from BMCC with a major in Science. She is transferring to Hunter College where she will pursue a degree in Human Biology. After completing her studies at Hunter College, Ms. Mohammed plans to enroll in the Master’s Physician Assistant program at The City College of New York.

Rafael Gell

Rafael Gell graduated from BMCC with a major in Theatre. He was awarded the Community College Transfer Opportunity Program (CCTOP) scholarship from NYU to attend in Fall 2017 to study Media Culture and Communications, with a second major in Film and Television, and a minor in Sociology.


Lhamo completed her Associates degree in Business Management in fall 2016. She is presently attending Baruch College pursuing a degree in Business Communications with a specialization in Graphics Communication and a minor in Technology, Business and the Internet.

Kingsborough Community College

Shawon Bhuiyan

As a result of her perfect 4.00 GPA, Shawon Bhuiyan was one of three finalists for KBCC’s Class 2017 Valedictorian.   Although she was not chosen by the institution, she was acknowledged by the College Discovery Program as its 2017 CD Valedictorian.  In addition to her high GPA, Shawon earned the Guttman Transfer Scholarship, the KBCC Presidential Scholarship, and the Chemistry Major Award. In the spring 2017, Shawon completed her first semester of Chemical Engineering at City College. Despite English being her second language, Shawon excelled academically. It is especially commendable to point out that she managed to begin at the English 91 developmental level at KBCC after 2 years in the USA.  In her farewell speech at the CD Graduation Ceremony, Shawon thanked her College Discovery counselor for the support and encouragement she received. She named each supplemental instructor who worked with her and gave credit to the director and the front office staff for aligning the structure for her success.

Yamena Taha

Yamena Taha is a transfer student from College of Staten Island. According to her counselor, during his interactions with Yamena, she revealed how difficult it was adjusting to college life while at CSI. The hope of trying to figure life out while trying to please her parents became a burden for her. Because of these challenges, she decided turn to a new chapter in her life by transferring to Kingsborough Community College. Yamena and her CD counselor, Mr. Alexandre, had an instant career related connection which was able to guide her. Yamena was still hesitant about committing to any degree outside of the medical field. However, through her candid conversations with her counselor, Yamena realized she had a passion for helping people outside of medicine and healthcare. As they began narrowing down her choices, it was clear a career in Human Services was where she felt comfortable. One of her favorite quotes is “sometimes you have to take a step back to see if you are moving in the right direction”.

Sudirman Guaw, a Sports Fitness and Recreation major won The Physical Education, Recreation, and Recreation Therapy Award.

Kisha Hernandez, a Liberal Arts major won the Behavioral Sciences Award -the Bilingual Student of the Year Award.

Alma McCloud, is a Kingsborough Liberal Arts graduate and recipient of the 2005 College Discovery Student of the Year award.  Alma published her book What Is The Color of Madness. Born in Trinidad and a resident of Brooklyn, NY, Alma is a widow and mother of three.  She attended Brooklyn College, majoring in English with a minor in Education.

Gina Marie Montijo, a Mental Health major won The Mental Health and Human Services Award. 

Manimegalai Nadajarah, an Accounting major maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA and achieved:

The President’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship in honor of President Regina S. Peruggi;

The Accounting Program Award; The Lucille Nieporent Memorial Award; and The College Discovery Student of the Year Award.

Cynthia Rivera, a Bilingual Studies Program graduate of Cornell and the University of Virginia Law School is practicing in Washington DC.

Hostos Community College

Angelica Collazo is a Liberal Arts major who enrolled in Fall 2007. Her painting graces the cover of the Fall 2008 Hostos Community College Course Catalog.

Freddy Campos, was engaged in the Black and Latino Male Mentoring Program and was nominated to attend the Institute for Leadership Development Honors Institute.  The Honors Institute is a prelude to the Hostos Honors Program/Serrano Scholars Program. Serrano Scholars leave Hostos and attend Columbia University.

Mathew Pink graduated in 4 semesters in June 2006 with a GPA of 2.75 and received an athletic scholarship to Adelphi University, Long Island, NY.