Edward I. Koch Scholars in Public Service
Moyosore Ayodele, a native of Nigeria, is a sophomore majoring in international studies. Moyosore’s goal is to pursue a law degree and to focus on policy-related work designed to provide adequate health services and education in developing African countries. She says her heritage has been the strongest influence on her sense of identity and on her desire to contribute society. Currently, Moyosore volunteers at a Harlem-based nonprofit organization that focuses on supporting HIV-positive African and Caribbean immigrants. During summer 2010, she was an intern with the New York City Public Advocate’s Office. She worked with the Division of Organizing and Constituent Services, and helped residents of New York City neighborhoods address key social-justice priorities. As an Edward I. Koch Scholar in Public Service, Moyosore plans to continue her work at nonprofit organizations supporting the Harlem immigrant community and New Yorkers generally.
Monica Dluzniewski is a freshman at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CCNY and is majoring in biomedical science. Before graduating Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, Monica served as a tutor to underclassmen in mathematics and participated in the Eastern European Club, Math League, Integrated Science Association, and volunteered in a local Salvation Army shelter. Currently, Monica participates in several clubs at CCNY and holds the position of editor in the Circle K Club. Her desire to become a primary care physician led her to volunteer at Elmhurst Hospital beginning in the summer of 2008, and she plans to continue volunteering there as a Koch Scholar. Monica lives by the Chinese proverb: “If you want happiness for an hour -- take a nap…. If you want happiness for a lifetime -- help someone else.”
Edwige Dossou-Kitti is a freshman at City College majoring in chemistry. Edwige moved to the United States from Lome, Togo with her family at age six. Growing up, Edwige depended on teachers, school programs, and service organizations to help her adjust to life in New York City and to learn English—an obstacle she says she overcame through hard work and perseverance. These experiences inspired Edwige to give back and to help people going through similar difficulties. Looking back on her experiences, Edwige says, “My dedication to the community is a result of the obstacles I have overcome with the contribution and guidance from others. Had it not been for their kindness and willingness to give to others, I will not have accomplished as much as I have.” Edwige currently tutors at the Bedford-Stuyvesant GED/ESL program and mentors through the program Bronx One-on-One.
MaryAnn Garcia is biomedical education major and psychology minor at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at CCNY. Originally from the Dominican Republic, MaryAnn moved to New York with her parents as a child and graduated from Yonkers International Baccalaureate High School. One of MaryAnn’s most meaningful service experiences was as an intern at the Healthy Living Initiative (HLI) Department of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), where she worked on obesity prevention and developed a deeper understanding of the connection between schools, families, and government policy. She plans to continue her involvement with HLI as a Koch Scholar. MaryAnn hopes to complete her medical degree and a master’s in public health, with the goal of working as a primary care physician in an urban underserved community.
Sara Khan, a freshman in the CUNY Honors College, plans to major in architecture. A graduate of East Meadow High School, Sara was an active member of several school clubs, including World of Hunger Club, East Meadow High School Key Club, and the Environmental Club. Through these outlets, she participated in numerous fundraising and service activities, including assisting at an annual Thanksgiving dinner that serves more than 500 seniors. She also helped to institute recycling bins in her high school, plant trees on the school grounds, and set up a “green education” seminar for elementary school children. A member of the National Honors Society, Sara also participated in an internship with S&P Construction Management to advance her understanding of architecture. As a Koch Scholar, she plans to continue volunteering in ways that help the environment.
Susanna Nguy is a sophomore at City College pursuing a major in biology and minor in psychology. She developed her interest in community service in high school as a member of the National BETA Club, where she worked on a variety of community service projects, which included renovating parks, tutoring local elementary school children, and raising funds for charities. Susanna is an active volunteer in her neighborhood and has worked with several local community centers. She spent a summer working in a family education program teaching English to immigrant mothers, and she currently volunteers in her local hospital, where she has assisted in departments ranging from the maternity ward to physical therapy. Susanna also volunteers in Harlem at a nonprofit organization dedicated to mentoring children from troubled homes where she tutors children with learning difficulties. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and possibly clinical research.
Edwin Ortiz is a freshman biochemistry major at CCNY. The first generation college student in his family, Edwin, whose parents emigrated from El Salvador, believes that higher education is a key to becoming a successful and a productive member of society. A graduate of the High School for Environmental Studies, Edwin has volunteered at Ranger Conservation Corps, helping to beautify Central Park while educating the public. He also volunteers with his local church and with the pharmacy at Bellevue Hospital, which he hopes to continue participating in as a Koch Scholar. Witnessing the experiences of ill family members and friends has led Edwin to develop a passionate interest in pharmaceutical practice. His ultimate goal is to establish his own small neighborhood pharmacy and to provide underserved communities with better access to adequate pharmaceutical care.
Komal Syed, a second-year biology major at CCNY, is pursuing a career in medicine. She is a graduate of the Robert F. Kennedy Community High School in Flushing, Queens, where the school’s motto was John F. Kennedy’s quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” This emphasis on community service led Komal to volunteer throughout her high school years at organizations including Sunshine ABC Daycare and Personal Care Pharmacy. As a senior, Komal was selected for the Queens Bridge to Medicine program. Through this program, she joined the Charity Club and volunteered in a soup kitchen in Jamaica, with the Teens for Jeans Drive, the New York Cares Coat Drive, the Canned Food Drive, and the Women Beyond Survival nonprofit organization. As a Koch Scholar, she plans to volunteer at a local hospital and at a soup kitchen.
Katarzyna (Kasia) Wrobel, a native of rural Poland, moved with her family New York City, where she attended Brooklyn Technical High School, a school that encourages community service. Sensitive to the lives of other immigrants, especially the elderly, Kasia chose to volunteer with a local nursing home. She calls this decision one of the most significant of her life: “It opened my eyes to the struggles faced by those whom I at first thought had it easy,” she says. Kasia, who is planning a career working with immigrants, hopes not only to volunteer with the elderly, but also to volunteer or intern with a law firm or a civil rights organization. Additionally, she donates her time and energy to AnySoldier, whose efforts include providing troops fighting overseas with necessary items and boosting their morale.
Returning Koch Scholars, 2011-2014
Olumide Akindutire is a fifth-year student in the five-year biomedical science program at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. Since becoming a Koch Scholar in the fall of 2007, he has completed hundreds of volunteer service hours at a wide variety of organizations including Harlem Hospital and Kateri Residence Nursing Home in Manhattan. He has also tutored youth at William Randolph High School in Harlem and has participated in a number of one-day service events including the Breast Cancer Walk and the Walk Out of Darkness. He has even created a Circle K club at City College to encourage his fellow students to become involved in community services. He, like all Sophie Davis students, has made a committed to work in underserved communities upon graduation from medical school. In addition to providing affordable healthcare, Olumide’s long-term aspirations are to build a health-care center in Nigeria and to offer free treatment there.
Ishtiaq Alam, a senior majoring in history, moved to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2001. This defining life event sparked Ishtiag’s interest in the history of South Asia. His research interests include the rise of Indian consciousness and development of the national movement in the 19th century. Ishtiaq has volunteered with the American Red Cross Youth Group throughout high school, and he discovered his passion for community service there. As a Koch Scholar, he would like to continue on this path. In the future, he hopes to work for an organization such as the Asia Society, striving for greater cross-cultural communication and education to bring U.S. and immigrant communities together.
Alenadreale Banton is a fourth-year student at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education who aspires to become a pediatrician. Born in the Bronx, Alena attended the High School for Medical Science, where she was part of the Gauss Honors program, which focuses on Math and Science. She has a passionate interest in and devotion to community service, which she says, comes from personal experience. “It is truly wonderful to have someone lend you a hand when it is needed,” she adds. Alena has been volunteering with various organizations since eighth grade, when she and classmates researched charities that support issues of importance to them. Since then she has expanded her volunteerism and community service every year to organizations such as the YMCA, where she is a member of the leaders club, and College Now, which promotes college access for youth.
Annette Estevez, a senior majoring in sociology and romance languages, is interested in using research methods to analyzing social inequalities. She also hopes someday to establish a nonprofit organization to empower and encourage underserved girls from inner-city neighborhoods. Annete, who grew up in an underserved neighborhood in New York City, says she has learned firsthand about inequalities in health care and education. Her goal, she adds, is to “fight for equal rights for the underserved; to make fewer dreams deferred and more dreams fully realized.” Through Annete’s volunteer work as a mentor and tutor with young women from diverse backgrounds, she is also familiarizing herself with the administration of a nonprofit organization.
Christopher Greggs is a junior at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. A native of the Hempstead-Uniondale area of Long Island, New York, Christopher volunteered extensively through his church and as president of his high school’s key club. Through the club, he initiated many service programs, one of which was an Island Harvest food drive, through which he and other club members collected nearly 1,000 pounds of food for distribution to his community. He also established a school-wide tutoring service. He also has volunteered as a tutor with the ABBA Leadership Center, which assists incarcerated and troubled youth. Currently he volunteers in Harlem with a number of organizations. He notes, “The most important thing we can do as people is to better the lives of others.”
Melissa LoPresti is a fourth-year student at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. She is majoring in biomedical sciences and has a minor in psychology, and her goal is to work as a primary-care physician. Melissa graduated in 2007 as valedictorian from Floral Park Memorial High School in Queens. She is deeply involved in community service through Builder’s Club and Key Club, branches of Kiwanis International, and she has formed a Circle K Club at CCNY. Melissa has also coordinated other campus service projects including the Polar Bear Swim-a-Thon, which raised funds for Autism Speaks, and Lose the Shoes 3, a soccer tournament for grass-Roots HIV/AIDS education initiative in Africa.
Khalil Marie is in his fouth year at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. He volunteers at Maimondides Medical Center where he assists staff with direct patient care, and provides visitor services, as well as companionship for lonely and anxious patients. When needed, he also serves as an Arabic interpreter.
Joseph Nelson, a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, is a third-year student at Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education; he plans to work as a general practitioner. Joseph also has an interest in research and has assisted with gene therapy research at CCNY. He further completed a Community Health Assessment of his Park Slope community, defining coronary heart disease and gastrointestinal cancer as the area’s leading causes of death. These experiences inspired an interest in policy and on the effects of education on the health of New York City’s African-American population. Joseph participates in several CCNY clubs and organizations including the Black Male Initiative and the American Medical Student’s Association. An Edward I. Koch Scholar in Public Service, Joseph regularly volunteers at Sweet Pea’s Day Care and Afterschool in Brooklyn.
Victoria Rodriguez, a Jewish studies major, has volunteered in child-centered environments for the past four years. Her community service includes working in an after-school program in her local Washington Heights section of Manhattan, tutoring young children and providing them with after-school activities. Victoria also has volunteered as an in-home tutor for kindergartners through second-graders in low-income housing developments. Her goal is to become an early childhood education teacher and to instill in the students a love for the arts and intellectual pursuits, and a passion for giving back to the community.
Nihir Shah, a sophomore in the CUNY Honors College, is pursuing both a major in history and a premedical concentration, a combination, he believes, that will help him become a humanistic physician. Nihir is a prolific volunteer, and his community service experiences range from math and science tutoring to hospital service. Currently, he volunteers in Elmhurst Hospital’s pediatric department. He is also the Vice President of Caduceus society.
Edward I. Koch Scholars Alumni