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Introducing our Spring 2021 New York Young Advocates

In February, Young Invincibles’ New York office launched its third 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 2021 Spring New York Young Advocates, scroll below. For more information about our Young Advocates program, please fill out this Google Form.

Sharon Albino

Sharon Albino is a sophomore at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where she is pursuing a major in Forensic Psychology and minor in Latin American and Latinx Studies and Music. She is currently the president of La Voz, a school club that aims to bring awareness about the Latinx community. Through her experiences at John Jay and as a Peruvian-American woman, she has seen the importance of advocating for people of color who have yet to receive help regarding their mental health. Sharon is also working with her professor on studying the effects of COVID-19 on Latinx college students in order to take a deeper look at what is really occurring in students’ lives.

In addition to her studious aspirations, Sharon uses her love for music and makeup as a creative outlet. She hopes to one day merge her creative passions with her academic goal to become a clinical psychologist.

Mahin Ashik

Mahin Ashik is a first-generation Bengali student from the Bronx. She is currently a junior at Brooklyn College. Before transferring to Brooklyn College, she attended Bronx Community College and completed her A.A. in psychology. She is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in neuroscience. She is an aspiring neurologist and hopes to pursue medical school in the future. Initially, she wanted to focus on clinical psychology, but the overwhelming presence of neurological cases in her family, from her grandma to her mom, has inspired her to approach neuroscience. From an academic point of view, the physiology of the brain is incredibly fascinating to her.

Mahin is passionate about running, student activism, films, youth advocacy, community outreach, and organizing. She has organized with Rank-and-File Action (RAFA) and members of FREE CUNY to address the measures of austerity in CUNY and fight towards a free CUNY education for underrepresented working-class CUNY students. She strives to do more advocacy in the future in non-profit areas.

Shing V. Chung

Shing Chung is a senior at Sarah Lawrence College studying film. He is passionate about issues and policies regarding college students and their future. As a transfer student from Harold Washington College in Chicago, he is proud of the fact that he is working on the issues of transfer and affordability. He hopes to fight for issues that were personal to him when he was applying to transfer in order to implement policies on college campuses that ease the transfer process for other students. His long term goal as a filmmaker is to produce documentaries that shine a light on social inequalities around the country.

When he is not advocating for important issues in the college community, he is performing on stage or shooting a film across the country in the Bay Area, Chicago, or New York.

Briancyy Del Carmen

Briancyy Del Carmen is a senior at CUNY Lehman College. She is majoring in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry, and is currently in the process of applying to medical school. Briancyy is also a part of a program called PTS3 (Pathway to Student STEM Success) at Lehman College where she is exposed to workshops designed to build up and strengthen her skill set. Throughout PTS3, she is also provided opportunities to talk to STEM professionals and participate in activities that are central to STEM interest, efficacy, and success. Outside of school responsibilities, Briancyy has also decided to turn her desire in helping others into action by volunteering at a hospital in Queens, allowing her to expand her interests in the medical field.

As the daughter to Hispanic immigrants, Briancyy values the importance of education. She understands how essential it is to have access to higher education and basic living necessities, as these resources have a major influence on the development of a young person’s future.

Djenaba Diallo

Djenaba Diallo is a first-generation college student attending the City College of New York. She is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree, majoring in psychology and minoring in Black Studies. She and her family moved to the United States when she was 14 years old. From a young age, she knew how she loved helping people, and seeing them happy was a huge fulfillment for her. With her experiences in volunteering and working, she is looking forward to pursuing a career in the field of Human Resources. Her passion for working in Human Resources developed when she saw how rewarding it is to organize, manage, and meet strict deadlines. She values making positive changes not only where she is, or works, but also positively impacting the people around her. She is devoted to making those positive changes in her future.

Ceola Harris

Ceola Harris is from Crown Heights, Brooklyn and has a Caribbean background with her mother beginning from Trinidad and Tobago and father from St.Vincent. She is currently a student at the University of Potsdam where she studies Biology and Dance. Ceola struggled with asthma as a child and now aspires to be in the medical field one day, working as a physician assistant. She also wants to play a give back to society, especially low-income communities and at-risk youth. She would like to open up a youth center in poor neighboring communities one day and establish a mentorship program for these youth.

Ceola is happy to be a part of the Young Advocates Program and help more students like herself and gain the skills and knowledge to help support her work in giving back to the community.

Emily Healy

Emily Healy is a senior at the City College of New York pursuing a double major in Political Science and Anthropology. Her interest in studying politics arose from her desire to gain a more intersectional understanding of pressing issues such as systematic inequality, climate change, and more. At City College, she developed a passion for studying anthropology in courses that analyzed race and gender in deeply enriching ways. In her final year at City College, she has enjoyed collaborating with club members in the Anthropology Student Association, where she is currently a presiding officer. As a native Bronx resident, Emily has enjoyed working in local organizations in her neighborhood, such as the Riverdale YM-YWHA and Wave Hill, places that she grew up visiting with her family. Through her experience working with young people in environments such as summer day camps and the weekend family art project at Wave Hill, she desires to pursue a life-long journey in education. With an interest in teaching American History, she is looking forward to pursuing her Master’s in teaching social studies for grades 7-12.

Arene Holston

Arene is a senior at SUNY Oneonta, pursuing a double major in Africana and Latinx Studies and Political Science with a minor in Communication. She was born and raised in the Bronx. Due to her environment and awareness of being from an underrepresented community, she has found a passion for advocacy and policy making. She served as the President for the Students of Color Coalition club on her campus where she helped to raise awareness within the campus community on issues surrounding mass incarceration, immigration, and police brutality. She serves as a Senator with SUNY Oneonta’s Student Association representing underrepresented student groups on campus and bringing their issues to the forefront. Outside of her studies, Arene enjoys listening to music from Brent Faiyaz and Kehlani.

Ashly is fueled by her growing up in a low-income neighborhood with Mexican immigrant parents in Queens. She was exposed to education inequalities early on, especially in her zone schools which were often overcrowded and underfunded. She looks forward to attaining a degree in education policy or education law and committing to combating education inequity in urban communities. In the future, she hopes to open up her own organization that mentors Latinx students to attain higher education. In her spare time, she likes to travel and try new foods with her friends.

Stephen Jackson

Stephen Jackson, a junior at CUNY Queens College, is majoring in Business Administration & Finance and minoring in Business and Liberal Arts. His interest in Finance began as he witnessed many people suffer due to their lack of financial literacy growing up in Jamaica, Queens. Stephen aspires to one day open community centers in minority neighborhoods that provide financial education programs, mental health services, food assistance, and more. Through the CUNY Service Corps, Stephen is interning with the Young Invincibles to learn effective ways to serve & advocate for others. He is an aspiring public servant, activist, and filmmaker. Stephen has a passion for helping those who face inequality and wants to create systems that will benefit generations ahead of him. In his free time, he volunteers at New York Cares. He also enjoys making films and reading.

Silvianna Marti

Silvianna is a first-generation Puerto Rican, born and raised in the South Bronx. She is currently a freshman at Hostos Community College pursuing an associate’s degree in Animation. She plans on transferring to a four-year college to major in illustration and hopes to work in the fields of storyboarding, comics, and animation. Her advocacy began with standing up for herself when she was judged by her peers when she returned from hospital for treatment of depression. Her experience allowed her to further understand the importance of support on the issue of mental health. She continued advocating for her siblings for being different due to one being autistic and the other handicap with down syndrome. Her passion for advocacy grew stronger during high school. Being a female with disabilities, part of the LGBTQ community, and a low-income minority with a family that depends on her, she is an advocate for these communities. Silvianna is grateful that her high school had programs and clubs that became her outlet. Support from teachers and counselors allowed Silvianna to come out of her shell. Global Kids prepared her for her college future in skills and being open-minded. Currently, she is part of a program that is tackling the topics of climate change through animation. Silvianna understands that support programs can significantly impact minorities like her.

Ogochukwu Ononiwu

Ogochukwu Ononiwu is a junior at CUNY Lehman College, with a double major in Anthropology and Political science. Her interest in political science and anthropology developed from her immigrant experience. As a Nigerian born in Italy, she realizes that people are multifaceted and deserving to be heard. When she moved to the United States, she became keenly aware of the disparities that exist in New York City. At Lehman, she is a Writing Across Curriculum Fellow where she helps students apply to nationally competitive awards, scholarships, and fellowships. By working with organizations like Young Invincibles, she hopes to bring to light the different stories that New York students have to tell. Through the uplifting of New York City’s youth voices, she hopes to be part of the movement to bring change and concrete resources to the marginalized and unheard communities.

ToniAnn Ruggiero

ToniAnn is a senior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice majoring in public administration. She moved back to Long Island, New York after spending her childhood in Las Vegas, Nevada. Being a first-generation college graduate, ToniAnn learned from a young age how important it was to pursue higher education. During college, she found interest in the field of public service and has never looked back since. She has interned in both the public and private sector, at organizations such as the American Red Cross and NYC Emergency Management. She is thrilled to be a part of the mental health group in the Young Advocates Program. She wants to be the voice for students and advocate for improved mental health services and policies. During her free time she enjoys the beach and searching for the best local coffee shops.

Lucresse Tato

Lucresse Tato is a first-year medical student at the CUNY School of Medicine/Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. Lucresse graduated with her B.S. in Biomedical Science from the City College of New York in 2020. She is originally from Staten Island, New York. During high school and college, Lucresse worked at her local supermarket during breaks to afford dorming on campus. She participated in MSI AHEC’s Summer Health Internship Program in 2016, where she learned about health disparities. Fueled by her own life experiences, Lucresse aspires to influence policies surrounding inequities in the healthcare system and advocating for issues including Black maternal mortality. In her spare time, Lucresse likes to paint, cook, and make YouTube videos.

Jayvon Thomas

Jayvon Thomas is a senior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, majoring in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Sociology. He transferred over from Bronx Community College with my Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He is of African American and Puerto Rican descent. Jayvon is interested in learning more about the mental health field, and getting more aware about the services that Black and Brown communities receive. He is currently an intern at the CUNY Black Male Initiative Program. As a 22 year old, he is looking to make impactful change to the criminal justice system. He also serves as one of four Senior Representatives on the Student Council at John Jay College. He is looking to continue his studies in the graduate school of Forensic Mental Health Counseling program at John Jay College. Fun fact: Jayvon used to be in a musical choir in middle school.

Joseph Torres

Joseph Torres was born and raised in the Bronx, New York and is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Emerging Media at Hunter College. During his time at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, Joseph was awarded the Dean’s List as well as the “National Society of Leadership and Success” completion certificate and the “Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society” induction certificate.

Joseph’s passions lie in the world of creating content. As an independent filmmaker, he has made short films, feature films, and currently a comedy web series with the goals of entertaining and making people laugh. Joseph hopes to continue perfecting his craft as a director, editor, writer, and actor, while also hoping to tackle social issues such as poverty/homelessness, inequality, racism, bullying, and violence in his work as well.

This is a reason why Joseph gravitated towards the Young Advocate program, because they also want to help people and bring awareness and push for improvements when it comes to several issues, such as poverty.

Nikaury Urena

Nikaury is a young immigrant, born in the Dominican Republic, who came to the United States at the age of 13 years old looking for better opportunities. She is currently a freshman student at LaGuardia Community College majoring in Criminal Justice, looking forward to becoming a Correctional treatment specialist. Since she was young, Nikaury had always shown interest to help those around her with kindness and sympathy.

Participating in different organizations like L.O.V.E and Make The Road New York make her realize the struggles that the so-called “minority” face in our community. Nikaury understood the importance of civic engagement and is willing to learn and contribute with her devotion to volunteering for a better future. Throughout her college journey, Nikaury expects to gain knowledge to further use her experience in her future career as a correctional treatment specialist and help those who society gives up on.