Michele Holmes

CUNY School of Professional Studies, MLA Alumni, 2016-2017
The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy (MLA) is an experience that is rewarding to all participants. Whether you begin the program as an inexperienced, but potentially powerful leader “in training,” or as an experienced professional, there are many takeaways from the experience. If you begin the program without experience in politics, urban affairs, teaching or dealing with different cultures, you will learn a lot. If you begin the program with experience in any of these areas, the staff will assist you to sharpen your skills and focus on strengthening your leadership abilities. Read More

In the past, I have lobbied many legislators on personal matters. MLA helped me to enhance my lobbying techniques. I learned how to research not only the issue but also the legislator that I was lobbying. This gave me a clearer perspective on my position with the legislator and what I was speaking about. Overall, lobbying was my favorite part of the program.

MLA also introduced me to an organization that facilitates volunteering, New York Cares. Through the many projects that I have worked on, I have focused on helping others to overcome challenges. Currently, as a Team Leader, I’m assisting adult immigrant students learn how to read and write in English. Over the summer, I will pilot a new project for middle school students that will incorporate learning strategies through chess. If the project goes well, the program will be implemented as a regular New York Cares project in the 2017-2018 school year. This would have never been possible had it not been for MLA introducing me to New York Cares.

Jolisel Vargas

Hostos Community College, MLA Alumni, 2014-2015 & 2015-2016
My leadership journey began with my participation in the Hostos Student Leadership Academy in the Emerging Leaders Program where I quickly exceeded the required 16 hours of community service and got quickly promoted to the rank of Hostos Student Ambassador. As result of my volunteer efforts, I received a nomination to serve in the CUNY-wide leadership program Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy in 2014. MLA has provided me with workshops and training to help me to develop my Public Speaking, Team Building, Conflict Resolution, Parliamentary Procedure, advocacy and other leadership skills. MLA has given me the opportunity to take the lead on projects, enforcing the skills that I learned during my leadership journey. I am very passionate about making change in my society, both locally and globally and I can tell without fear that MLA took me to a different level of leadership. Read More

From the weekly leadership workshops to every trip we did to represent CUNY at different and very important events like; New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus Conference, the Somos el futuro conference, legislative visit to NYS representatives at Washington DC and legislative advocacy trips to Albany, I was always proud to represented Hostos, Baruch and CUNY as an ambassador.

But the best part of MLA is not the leadership skills you learn, but the friends you earn for life. They will always have a special place in my heart. I still remember when I was selected to participate in the New York State Model Senate Session in Albany spring 2016, I looked up in the Senate Chamber and I saw the MLA team supporting me and sending me positive energy! Last but not least important, the constant support from MLA staff was always present and I am thankful for such a great team.

Hostos Student Leadership Academy and CUNY MLA opened the door for me to be part of one of the most important Honor societies, Phi Theta Kappa. As member of PTK I was recognized and awarded with the USA TODAY Phi Theta Kappa All-New York Academic award in March 2015. Also, thanks to the training I received in both leadership programs, I earned the opportunity to explore one of my passions and serve as an intern in the New York State Assembly in Albany at the office of the honorable Assemblywoman Carmen E. Arroyo. Working for Assemblywoman Arroyo has allowed me to use every single skill I learned in both leadership groups.

Milcah Slater,

Baruch College, MLA Alumni, 2014-2015 & 2016-2017
When I first joined MLA, I didn’t have many skills in public advocacy​ and lobbying and was still an upcoming student leader on my campus​​.​ Through​ MLA, ​I’ve gained experience not only in lobbying to legislative figures, but also how to network in any setting. I’ve gotten the opportunity to form permanent relationships with my peers and learn different skills and techniques in regards of the volunteering services, leadership and career opportunities offered by this amazing program. Read More

As a returning MLA student, I was selected to be a personal development mentor to some of the newer members of MLA that participated in the Congressional Award program. Moving forward, we each volunteered over 100 hours of community services and completed at least 50 hours of physical activity and personal development throughout the year. We also went on a historical expedition to Syracuse, New York, where I gained a wealth of historical knowledge about New York, Women’s rights, Harriet Tubman, and so much more.

Overall, MLA teaches every member the importance of giving back to their community and how to be better advocates and leaders for not only themselves and their native college campuses, but also for their communities. I am VERY proud to be a member of MLA!