In September, Young Invincibles’ New York office launched its fourth cohort of the Young Advocates program, our semester-long paid policy, and advocacy fellowship, where young New Yorkers learn how to build campaigns for change on their campuses and across New York.
To learn more about our thirteen Fall 2021 New York Young Advocates, scroll below. For more information about our Young Advocates program, please fill out this Google Form.
Sophomore, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY
Mia Acevedo is a Sophomore at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College. She is currently a Liberal Arts and Sciences major, with a concentration in Social Science and Humanities. She has been an Explorer in the NYPD Explorer program for four years, and plans to stay within the program until she ages out next year at 21. She is pursuing a career in Law Enforcement and aspires to be a politician hoping to make changes from within the system.
Mia is passionate about issues related to public safety and education. She grew up in the Soundview section of the Bronx, where public safety and underfunded schools are huge issues and hopes to be a part of the solution. Mia hopes she can make a difference for college students like herself who are currently struggling and to use the experience and knowledge she gains from the Young Advocates Program later in her career.
Senior, Hunter College, CUNY
Hafsah Ansar is a senior at Hunter College, where she is a JFEW Eleanor Roosevelt Scholar, Mellon Public Humanities Scholar, and HCAP transfer peer mentor. She is currently working towards her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. During her time at Hunter College, Hafsah was a Gueron Scholars Intern at MDRC, where she supported various research projects designed to garner evidence to improve social policies and programs. Her experience at MDRC, showed her the different ways that she could reform policies, whether it be through research or policy advocacy. In the future, Hafsah plans to pursue a Master’s in School Counseling because she is passionate about building equity in education and providing students with the support they need to succeed in school and beyond.
Senior, University of Albany, SUNY
Sayge Baptiste is a senior studying at the University of Albany. Born in the Bronx, raised in Brooklyn, and now maintaining a semi-residency in Queens, Sayge has a unique experience throughout the boroughs. Being the first in her generation to be born in the United States, Sayge is dedicated to understanding the culture, social climate, and economic realities of those residing in NYC.
As a double major in Sociology and Africana Studies at the University at Albany, they were inspired early on to pursue a career in non-profit work and legal aid. As an active participant and committee member of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the NAACP SUNY Albany Chapter, Sayge focused on educating their campus and local community on the widespread history of social advocacy and the academic, social, and political achievements of their predecessors while encouraging others to take similar action themselves.
Working with students between the ages of 10 and 21 has allowed them to gain evidence of the deeply rooted social disparity within their community and granted them the gusto to pursue more educational and economic support for students no matter their grade level.
More recently, they have chosen to pursue a career of writing, communications, and media as forms of social advocacy. They are expanding into more grassroots work to continue conducting, inspiring, and supporting concrete change on a local and/or state level.
Senior, College of Oneonta, SUNY
Alyssa Carbone is a rising senior at the State University of New York, College at Oneonta, where she is pursuing her studies in both Spanish and Adolescence Education. She is currently serving as Attorney General and Senator within the Student Association, representing students across campus in policy-making. In addition to her work in campus-based student government, Alyssa has also served within the SUNY Student Assembly as Secretary for Vice Presidential Affairs. Within this position, Alyssa oversaw the development of advocacy agendas across all 64 SUNY schools and served as a liaison between the 1.3 million SUNY students and SUNY administration.
On campus, Alyssa has been a student representative on the President’s Council on Diversity and a member of HOLA (Hispanic Organization for Learning Advancement) Club, the Students of Color Coalition, the Nebula Society Planetarium Operating Group, as well as Democracy Matters. Alyssa has also worked extensively with the international student population at SUNY Oneonta, serving as a peer mentor for international students and an Office Assistant at the Office of Global Education. She has also held the position of Resident Advisor and peer tutor throughout her semesters at SUNY Oneonta.
In her free time, she volunteers with the Student Clinic for Immigrant Justice and the Florida Immigrant Coalition, translating legal screenings and working with temporary protected status (TPS) recipients in documenting their stories of resilience.
Alyssa is passionate about education accessibility and equity for students, and has published an Open Educational Resource textbook on Spanish phonetics and phonology for all SUNY students to access free of charge.
In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in immigration law or higher education policy and is thrilled to be a part of the Young Advocates program, hoping to continue her activism for students within her position.
Junior, SUNY Purchase
Solei Green is a Junior at SUNY Purchase, where she double majors in Political Science and Philosophy. Before switching to Political Science, she was a Visual Arts major, and attended summer programs at Cooper Union during high school before applying to art college. However, motivated by personal experiences and world issues, she switched to politics in order to voice her passions, opinions, and empower the voices of those who are disenfranchised or oppressed. She was driven to apply to Young Invincibles because she is also passionate about their core issues of health care, higher education, finances, and civil engagement. She is particularly interested in advocating for expansive and better mental health access on campus.
In the future, she hopes to pursue civil and environmental law and use her skills and position as a lawyer to uplift and support fellow activists. When she is not updating herself on current events, you can find her baking her family-favorite apple pie or playing with legos.
Junior, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Stefan Green is 26 years old and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Stefan graduated from the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) with an associate’s degree in Multimedia Programming and Design. Currently, he is a student at New York City College of Technology working towards his bachelor’s degree in Communication Design. He joined Young Invincibles as a Young Advocate because he wanted to be a part of something bigger and feels that it is important for young adults such as himself, who want a better future to talk about issues that are affecting them the most such as affordable college, debt relief, and issues regarding mental health. He hopes to find opportunities to raise these issues by working with young adults such as himself through the Young Advocates Program.
Lia Guzman Genao
Junior, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Lia Guzman Genao is a 19 year old college student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, majoring in Law & Society with a minor in Political Science. Lia was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, and moved to the United States at the age of 13. This experience has helped her understand first hand the struggles and intersectionalities working class families face on a daily basis. She strongly believes in the power of civic engagement as a way to create systemic change. Through her work, Lia hopes to uplift, empower, and advocate for people of all backgrounds in the political process. In her past work, Lia has gained experience on the issues affecting marginalized communities and how to actively create change through organizing, and community outreach. In the future, Lia plans to earn a masters degree in Public Policy, which will allow her to better understand key policy issues and implement policies that will have a lasting impact on the public good.
Junior, Hunter College, CUNY
Carrie Liang is a junior at Hunter College, with a double major in Childhood Education and Psychology. As a first-generation college student, she aspires to be a teacher to inspire young students and uplift them beyond the walls of a classroom. By teaching, she hopes her impact will push students to reach their full potential as they will become the voices of the next generation.
Excited to be part of the Young Advocates Program, she hopes to advocate for change in the education system to break the cycle of failure and economic distress in addition to changing school policies so that they do not continue to reproduce class, race, and gender inequalities. Fueled by personal struggles in education inequalities, she looks forward to helping first-generation students who are afraid to seek help and lack the resources to succeed in college. Dedicated to changing the lives of young students, she tutors elementary school students on weekdays and wishes to further develop her teaching skills.
She is excited to be part of the YI team and collaborate with other individuals who are just as passionate about advocating. In her free time, she enjoys traveling to new places and relaxing with a good novel in her hand.
Sophomore, Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY
Julian Norales attends Borough of Manhattan Community College at CUNY and is majoring in Psychology. Before coming into college, he held three jobs and one paid internship. He was a paid intern working for Admissions at the Bronx Zoo, a receptionist for H&R Block, and a Youth Leader/Food Activist at the 170th Farm Stand Community Food Action Program.
Julian attended the same charter school, Icahn Charter School 4, through his elementary and middle school years and was a part of the first graduating classes. Then, in high school, he attended South Bronx Community Charter High School and ended up being a part of the first graduating class.
For his career, he wants to become a professional soccer player as it has been a dream of his when he first started playing soccer at the age of nine. He is passionate about soccer and mental health, including the issues that surround these topics.
Leticia Zang Oyana
Sophomore, Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, CUNY
Leticia Zang Oyana was born and raised in Cameroon and graduated from Ellis Preparatory Academy in New York City in 2020. She is currently a student at Guttman Community College, where she is majoring in Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In her senior year of high school, Leticia was a member of the Science Club at Columbia University, where she did research and gave a presentation about an airplane crash. Last summer, she worked at Norwood Farm Stand, where she served clients and helped them with their belongings.
In the future, Leticia would like to pursue a profession as a social worker. She is glad to be a part of the Young Advocates Program and help students like herself to advocate to get the services they need and for campuses to gain schooling, and capacity to remedy their schools’ economy.
She loves traveling due to the fact she loves different perspectives, and meeting new people. Leticia additionally loves spending her time watching makeup tutorials.
Junior, Lehman College, CUNY
Iradatulah Sulayman is a junior at Lehman College majoring in Biology and minoring in Exercise-science. After transferring from SUNY Oneonta due to the pandemic, she decided to pursue her passion for giving back to the community, advocacy, and helping others. Growing up and attending a high school in the Bronx, she noticed that unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge with the operation of governance and other opportunities prompted students as well as community members to miss out on educational programs and voting, amongst other things. This prompted her to volunteer in an electoral campaign to spread awareness and advocate for people to vote during the election of a council person that took place in March 2021.
Iradatu was an intern at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health where, along with others, she was trained to design and implement a SNAP awareness campaign and advocacy for food insecurity on campus. This was an important program to her because, as a student, she could vouch for others that were lacking food and basic necessities, which all can affect one’s performance in classes and eventually hinder their chances of graduating.
She also was as a Senator during her freshman year at Oneonta, serving as a voice for students and representing their needs and concerns while making decisions for the betterment of the school life through a shared governance.
In her spare time, Iradatu loves to watch movies and experience other cultures through food, music etc, solo outings and hanging out with friends.
Senior, City College of New York, CUNY
Mangbe Sylla is a senior at City College of New York, double majoring in Political Science and Black Studies. As a student activist, Mangbe is an active member of Domestic Awareness, a collective that partners with Columbia University’s Freedom and Citizenship Civic Leadership program. Mangbe also had experience interning with Degrees NYC’s Youth Council in their policy and advocacy division focused on higher education. With Degrees NYC, Mangbe worked on the National College Attainment Network’s (NCAN) political campaign called #DoublePell. These experiences developed her passion for Black feminist frameworks, foreign policies regarding education, and the rising renaissance of Black artists and sustainable fashion practices.
As a first-generation Ivorienne-American, Mangbe grew up loving fashion but struggled to find women like her represented. She hopes to travel the world working with women of color to make education more accessible in developing countries, create opportunities for Black artists in the fashion world and fiercely use her voice to amplify the voices of Black feminist thinkers and advocate for the advancements of Black women in society.
Senior, Queens College, CUNY
Anthony Vancol is a Neurodiverse, first-generation student at Queens College majoring in Psychology. He first entered college back in 2016 as a student at Queensborough Community College when he was first introduced to student advocacy through a student-led organization, New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG). He was first an intern at NYPIRG and then became a Student Board Representative after transferring to Queens College.
Anthony comes from a single-parent household with not much financial stability, and an education school system that failed to provide him with the necessary support he needed for him to be set up for proper success, which is why choosing a college was more due to circumstance than a choice. He prides himself in being a passionate advocate with a strong interest in mental health and wellness, and with proven experience advocating for, both and alongside his fellow peers, Black and Brown students, who continuously encounter systemic barriers accessing the basic resources they need in order to thrive in pursuit of their educational or professional goals. Anthony has been familiar with the great work that YI has done over the past couple of years and wanted to be a part of YI for sometime after seeing the amount of invaluable tools, skills and experience students gain out of the program to make them better advocates in their communities and better professionals in various capacities.
He also has other passions including mutual aid, poetry, and abolitionism, especially as it relates to dismantling the abhorrent conditions of which the most marginalized students do not have to endure while being in college.