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2009-10 Fellows

Malave Fellows 2009-2010 Group Standing The 2009-10 Malave Fellows and the Malave Team at Commencement with Tracie Strahan from NBC News 4 New York

Meet the 2009-10 Malave Fellows:

Jay-Sheree Allen City College of New York
Tyesha Allen BMCC
Evita Belmonte City Tech
Ayeesha Berte Lehman College
Christopher Browne Brooklyn College
Alyna Brown Lehman College
Karishma Chawla Brooklyn College
Jimmy Domdeth CSI Graduate Program
Brant Douglas Medgar Evers College
Leen Feliciano Queensborough CC
Linda Gomez CSI
Katrina Hannan CSI
Muhammad Jalloh Bronx CC
Moses Kanduri Kingsborough CC
Fitz King John Jay
Zambia King BMCC / CUNY BA
William Leverett Queens College
Liliete Lopez Hostos CC
Qimei Luo CSI
Daysi Manzano York College
Phillip Parris Medgar Evers College
Jasmine Patel Brooklyn College
Tyrell Peebles York College
Edgar Romero LaGuardia CC
Carlos Ruiz Baruch


Brief Reflections from the 2009-10 Malave Fellows


Jay-Sheree Allen - The City College of New York - Major: Psychology/Pre-Med 

I am an extremely ambitious and motivated young woman and I am often juggling multiple classes, programs, fellowships, personal obligations and applications to even more programs. Yes, I am very much aware of my own personal limits, but I think that at this point in my life I am in a wonderful position to take advantage of opportunities and learn and grow in exponential leaps and bounds. However, always being on the go, takes you away from appreciating some of the more simple things in life that should always be worth your while. 

I learned this lesson in the Leadership Academy, however it was not taught to me by Dr. Joe-Joe’s seminars, workshops, forums or even readings. I learned this lesson from the lives of the fellows with which I share my experience at the Academy. Liliete, who is blind, travels more and works harder than many people that I know. I travelled with her on the trip to Arizona and in my assisting her to get some breakfast and read through the program, I realized a part of myself that I never knew. Usually, I am always on the go, but I found myself taking my time: time to listen more, to explore more, to be of more help to others, and to just calm down and be still.


Ty’esha Allen - Borough of Manhattan Community College - Major: Accounting 

The Ernesto Malave Fellows program is one of the greatest experiences I have had thus far in my college experience.  This program has taken me to another level in leadership; giving me the opportunity to search for my passion.   On this journey I have come to the conclusion of going forward with my desire of wanting to create workshops on leadership within my church.  For I have came to the understanding that leaders are not always the ones giving donations or encouraging others of change.  They’re not the ones who are always on the scene, but are those who bring the change while working behind the scenes. Some are known to be quiet, while others are outspoken but ALL leave something behind that encourages the next leader to move forward.  That something is their legacy.

Being a part of the Ernesto Malave Fellows I’ve concluded that a leader is not based on credentials but on the quality of how you lead.  That being a leader is not a job but a gift; for not everyone was made to lead. Going forth I will use my gift of leadership to make a change.


Evita Belmonte - New York City College of Technology - Major: Technology Teacher Education

Currently, I serve as the Student Government Association President in New York City College of Technology and am an ex-officio member of the College Foundation. As a nontraditional student in City Tech, the mother of two girls Angie and Rosa, a lifetime member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in Washington DC, a Helena Rubinstein Foundation Scholar, active member of the Honors Scholars Program, and a BMI Teachers as Leaders Scholar, I have served as a two time Vice Chair in the University Student Senate.  Taking the LAST and two other New York State certification exams in preparation of becoming a licensed technology teacher was a daunting challenge met by passing all three exams. I remain a lifelong learner and, in my pursuit of educational happiness, it’s on to graduate studies for a Doctorate in education.

It was a banner day, to be selected by the Leadership Academy’s committee to participate in the CUNY Malave Leadership Academy Fellows program as part of the 2nd cohort for 2009-2010. The experiences have been memorable, invigorating, and profound. It has been my distinct pleasure to be in the company of these very accomplished students, my Fellows. The Malave Fellowship has helped me to raise the bar on my goals. I can see clearly that there are more possibilities and opportunities for me in the near future.

The Fellows, Dr. Joe-Joe McManus, Ms. Agosto, Ms. Joseph, Ms. Richardson and all the staff members have become a beacon of hope and a welcoming part of my life while a Fellow in the Academy. Everyone that I have met who is on board with the leadership concepts, and the professionally constructed undertakings of this academy have kept us grounded with inspiration. Each person in some way has touched my life on a deeper level as we have assisted the homeless together through our service projects in Ohio and New York City. Those experiences have all been instrumental in refreshing my spirit and giving more substance to my personal achievements.

 Thank you to CUNY, Verizon, and the Malave Leadership Academy Fellows for this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Ayeesha Berte - Lehman College - Major: Business Administration

We met every Friday and I learned key significant skills while working on our service project. In addition, I have learned valuable lessons in life: the true importance of humility, giving back; believing in change, striving for a greater tomorrow, and always believing in one’s dreams. I learned these skills with the helping hands of the Academy administrators (Dr. Joe-Joe, Ms. Julie Agosto, and Ms. Christina Joseph) through their shining personalities and amazing seminars. Every day I am faced with choices in my life; I deal with leadership and self-confidence. I feel like I can achieve anything I want to accomplish and know that I am not alone. This is what the Malave Leadership Academy has taught me.



Alyna Brown - Lehman College - Major: Accounting

I grew up in an urban area and attended predominantly black and Hispanic populated schools, so I felt that I was exposed to diversity. It wasn’t until last summer that I realized I wasn’t. I was an intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers and I was a part of their Talent Development Program. During orientation we had to participate in this diversity challenge activity. We were given a bunch of beans that vary in color. Each color bead represented a certain nationality and culture. The instructor called out several different relationships in which we had to choose a bead that represented the nationality of that person. For example the instructor would call out “best friend” and you had to place a bean in your box that represented your best friend’s nationality. The idea of this activity was to see if you surrounded yourself with diversity. After completing this activity I realized that my box was filled with black beads and one brown bead. It hit me than that I haven’t been exposed to diversity in any aspects of my life.

After attending the Malave Leadership Academy I can say that my box is now filled with multi-colored beads. I received the chance to work with phenomenal leaders from across CUNY. I was able to meet people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. The academy is a mixture of different backgrounds, different fields and different passions. I had the pleasure of connecting with future doctors, nurses, teachers, marketers, politicians and I even met a “King”. These relationships also made me aware of national and international issues such as disability challenges, trafficking in Africa, natural disasters in China, to women issues right here in New York. Being exposed to so much has helped to make me a well rounded individual.


Christopher Browne - Brooklyn College - Majors: Finance & Business Management

My experience as an Ernesto Malave Fellow has allowed me to become a more polished professional.  I came in with an opened mind and fervor to contribute to society and the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy equipped me with the tools to do so.   I have enhanced my communication skills and increased my awareness of self through many insightful leadership seminars and cohort meetings that we participated in as Malave Fellows.

I have known that I wanted to become a philanthropist, but to what capacity was unsure to me. Until, I came to the United States from Grenada with the responsibility to not only provide for myself, but to provide food and clothing for my life-long friends in Grenada who were in less fortunate economic positions.  I turned to the world of business law and finance, primarily in the deal making process of mergers and acquisition. I will be graduating in May 2010 with a B.S. in Business Management and Finance (Honors) with a complementing minor in Communication Studies to pursue my aspirations as a top deal maker in the industry.

I have met many friends along the way, friends that I now consider family because of the openness we all share in communicating our ambitions and the single-minded rhetoric in conquering our dreams.  There is now a greater sense of responsibility in following through with my aspirations because of the commitment we all have to succeed.


Karishma Chawla - Brooklyn College - Majors: Biology & Health Nutrition Science

As a Fellow of the Malave Leadership Academy, there have been many real life “ah-ha!” moments, but one specific seminar will remain in my memory for years to come. In this particular seminar, we discussed the important aspects of “our” stories - from where we came from, to who helped us become that way, our discussions highlighted our diversity as a cohort and the invaluable assets each of us unknowingly, or knowingly possessed. I came away from this particular seminar feeling invigorated knowing that my Indian culture, ever supportive parents, extremely talkative personality and love for everything were the main players in my game of life and that it was up to me to really use it to my best advantage in every social arena I found myself in. Recognizing that each of my fellow Fellows also had a unique mix of history and personality that resulted in who they are today, shed light on how strong our multidisciplinary team really was. I really thank the Leadership Academy for giving me a bird’s eye view of my life for a day, and making me realize that even on my worst days, everything is still pretty good. Now I firmly believe that in the constant struggle to stay abreast with the competition, (whoever or whatever that may be), we must always look back and celebrate each tiny stepping-stone that resulted in our successes.


Jimmy Domdeth - College of Staten Island - Major: Neuroscience (Masters)

The most memorable experience I had within the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy at the City University of New York (CUNY) started immediately after receiving the letter of acceptance. I found that the mandatory orientation for the fellowship program took place on the same day as an out-of-state family wedding.

Although a difficult decision, the choice to attend one of these events did not come down to whether or not I would walk down the aisle. Rather, the decision was based on the ability to walk down the path less traveled; no one in my family—immediate or extended—had ever been offered a prestigious honor of any sort.

I found that I could choose the road less traveled, and although more arduous, would eventually lead to an amazing chain-of-events that many have not seen. With the help of others, I was able to fully participate in both events. In addition to attending the orientation and family wedding, the size of my family increased as well—with the newest members, The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy at CUNY.

Similar to the late Ernesto Malave, I continued to grow within, and was nurtured by CUNY—an institution where The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy continues to evolve as a pedigree of leadership.

I am a first year graduate student in the Master’s of Neuroscience program at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. I graduated from the College of Staten Island with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, where I was named to the Dean’s List several times. A member of Psi Chi Honor Society, I am also an alumnus of the CUNY Pipeline Honors Program.  While an undergraduate, I also participated in the College of Staten Island’s various leadership programs.  Presently, and I look forward to attending a doctoral program in Physical Therapy in Fall 2010. 

Per aspera ad astra!


Brant Douglas - Medgar Evers College - Major: Public Administration

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream by President Barack Obama states, “Hope - Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope! In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.”

The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy has provided that hope. I am Brant Douglas and I migrated to the United States of America from the island nation of St. Kitts more than sixteen years ago. While in the United States, I have lived with my Aunt, Eileen Hodge, who worked full-time on various jobs and also, attended classes at Medgar Evers College full time. Her perseverance for a better life silently planted genuine ambition and the drive to succeed in my heart…Currently, a graduating senior at Medgar Evers College, I will be attending Baruch Graduate School of Public Affairs to attain my Master’s Degree in Public Policy where I will further refine the set of core skills that I obtained at the Malave Leadership Academy. I was recently told an anecdote, which I believe, applies to me. When you place a carrot, an egg, and ground coffee beans into boiling water; the carrot because of the boiling water becomes soft and breaks easily. The egg becomes hard and bitter within its shell, but the ground coffee beans changes the plain boiling water into an aroma rich drink. It used the heat and pressure to positively change the situation around it. Through my life’s journeys I intend on being as the coffee bean, positively changing the environment around me everywhere I go, just as I was taught in Malave Leadership Academy.



Leen Feliciano - Queensborough Community College - Major: Liberal Arts

Being in the Academy has taught me that leadership is not about how much you know or how much you’ve accomplished.  It’s not about being the best. A leader is simply someone who gives their best. They are ‘married’ to goodwill and devoted towards taking action. You don’t have to be a child prodigy or win the noble peace prize. Yes, those are forms of leadership but not the entire essence of it.

It’s often in our society when we see that leadership is portrayed in either black or white. Either you are great, or you’re just not good enough. Life, however, is tinted in hues of grey.

You’d be surprised to see how a little effort can go a long way. I remember our first community service project. We went over to Ward’s Island in commemoration of 9/11. Dedicated to use our pain in order to sympathize with that of others, we would help cheer up a homeless shelter. The one we went to houses men who have lost their place in society and seeks to facilitate the process of getting them back to a stable, “normal” life. We added nice phrases and art to the bulletin boards, and painted the pale walls with an accent of yellow. A tiny splash of color and even the workers there were alive again. It was as if the paint had been applied to their souls. Maybe it wasn’t even the paint or the bulletin boards... Maybe what made them happy was to see that someone cared. 


Linda Gomez - College of Staten Island - Major: Science Letters & Society

As I reflect on my year as an Ernesto Malave Fellow, I am amazed at how fast the year has gone by.  The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy has given me an opportunity to meet and work with culturally diverse student leaders from all over CUNY.  I admit when I first was sitting in front of Dr. Joe-Joe for the interview I was terrified. I did not think that I could be a Malave Fellow. After all, I was the oldest student there, returning to school after 33 years.  I had so many doubts that I was too old to return to school and then to work with so many young people.  Dr. Joe-Joe and the Malave Leadership Academy believed in me.  They gave me an opportunity that I will forever be grateful.  I also thank my fellow cohorts for the times we shared working on our service project and all the friendships that I made. 

The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy has provided me with the following opportunities such as attending the National Collegiate Leadership Conference, The Annual Emerging Leadership Conference. These conferences taught me leadership skills, community building through service projects such as painting a men’s shelter on Ward’s Island to packing 2,500 pounds of rice for a food pantry.   I learned that a true leader inspires others towards a direction for the greater good, is strong enough to stand firm in decision making without having an egotistical attitude, and will encourage others to brainstorm and contribute to the mission of the project. 

Finally The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy has helped me gain confidence to work with the public which will benefit me greatly in my endeavors to become a leader in the education field as a New York City teacher.


Katrina Hannan - College of Staten Island - Majors:  English & Psychology

I learned so much from the Malave Leadership Fellows Program. On a personal level, I learned how to take constructive criticism. Julie Agosto once told me that I take constructive criticism well and that I actually do try to improve the situation. Many times (last year especially) Robert Kee (Coordinator for CSI’s Emerging Leaders Program) had to remind me not to get defensive. If he was asked how I take criticism [last year], he would have said poorly. So I feel that a combination of the Fellows Program, and my own personal growth and maturing caused me to become better at this. I also learned how to bite my tongue, which I need to do often; sometimes when I am being criticized and especially when I strongly disagree with something but have nothing nice to say. I am very opinionated, and often want to make my thoughts heard. However I’ve realized, through Fellows Program seminars especially and Service Planning meetings, that some of the things I’m thinking are not necessary to say out loud. I realized that if is not going to help the situation, then I should just keep it to myself.

I feel that this program has taught me a lot about life and acceptance of others and cultural competency. Everything on the CUNY Star now makes sense to me! I know that I grew as a leader, and I have already brought back what I learned to CSI and will continue doing so.


Muhammad Jalloh - Bronx Community College - Major: Computer Science

Born and raised as a Muslim and having seen the rather deplorable conditions that Muslims find themselves in today and the wide cultural and political gap that exists between “East and West”, my excitement knew no bounds when I was accepted into the Malave Leadership Academy. While its name may suggest that it focuses primarily on teaching the science and art of effective leadership, the Academy proved to be much more than that. It was a melting pot of different cultures, peoples, nationalities and belief systems.

The curriculum, which was based on the “CUNY Star”, proved to be just the right type of information and training that the Fellows (and any leaders for that matter) need to understand the challenges of leadership in our modern world as well as appreciate the different dimensions that it needs to take to create a whole and fulfilling leadership experience. Identity development, cultural competency and community service, among others, are needed ingredients for understanding the various cultural backgrounds of the people in our societies; be able to better understand why people may seem “different” or even “weird” at times, and to also be able to be in touch with their needs and be in touch with their stories instead of just treating them as statistics.

Moses Kanduri - Kingsborough Community College - Major: Liberal Arts

I was born the third of five children and the second boy of the family on November 4, 1983, in a small village of Werikambo in Garu/Tempani District of the Upper East Region of Ghana. Growing up, I always wanted to do charity work so that I will play a part to bring changes to my community that had a very high illiteracy rate.

In order to sustain this spirit of service to humanity I applied to be part of the Malave Leadership Academy (formerly the CUNY leadership Academy) and in June 2009, I became the first student from Kingsborough Community College to be accepted. This was a new beginning for me.  Not only did Verizon grant me a scholarship to meet my financial needs as a student but during my one year as a fellow of the academy, I have become more aware of the global challenges what role I can play in making a change as a young leader.   It offered me an opportunity to meet twenty-four other students who have exhibited extraordinary leadership and contributed to the development of both their institutions and communities. We worked together on a single decided project to reduce plastic bags use by encouraging the reusable bags. This was done with respect for one another and appreciated each other not just as fellows but us determined future leaders.

I have established and developed a more sustainable network with my fellows and other development partners.  As an individual project, fellows of the academy and the administration are assisting me develop and implement a project that I have been so passionate about. The project, Red Card against Human Trafficking, is aimed at staging both local and international campaign against trafficking of Women and Children for sexual exploitation particularly during international sporting and other major events which have become fertile grounds for such illegal activities.


Fitz King - John Jay College of Criminal Justice - Major: Political Science

I have served two combat tours in Iraq as a United States Marine – still currently serving in the reserve.  Next fall, I will be attending the University of California at Davis Law School.  Through my legal studies, I hope to continue serving the public interest through government work, ultimately becoming a federal judge.  I have had the opportunity to intern at the Department of State, Senator Charles E. Schumer’s district office, and the Office of NYS Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.  My practical experiences have complimented my theoretical knowledge allowing me to bring a strong background to the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy at CUNY.  

As a Malave Leadership Academy Fellow, I have enjoyed the camaraderie, intellectual stimulation, and commitment to service espoused from the administration and students alike. As a Malave Fellow I have benefited from not only personal growth through the seminar series, but also through practical service that has touched many lives - besides my own.  From opening orientation at the College of Staten Island, to our formal introduction at Hostos Community College, the Fellowship has focused on the professional and personal development necessary to shape tomorrow's leaders today.  Through practical experience we fellows have made a difference.  Serving at Wards Island was a great experience, but, by far, my most cherished experience was traveling to Cincinnati to work with the Cincinnati Urban Experience.  Indeed, the Malave Leadership Academy at CUNY has further inspired me - and empowered me - to continue making a difference for the public’s interest.


Zambia King - Borough of Manhattan Community College (Fall)/CUNY BA (Spring) - Major: Pre-Business

I am a pre-business student at Bernard Baruch College. My goal is to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship through the CUNY Baccalaureate Program and continue in this field of study to earn a graduate degree and ultimately a doctorate. My ultimate goal is to encourage and practice ubuntu through a socially conscious business. My vision is to lead by example in restoring the world of humanity, helping those in need of fundamental human rights. As a social entrepreneur, I plan to address world hunger, underprivileged people and developing countries, and human trafficking. As an avid volunteer, I’ve worked with many organizations, including, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the British Red Cross, and several mentoring programs at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. I am currently participating in the Red Cards against the Trafficking of Women and Children initiative, a joint project between the Leadership Academy and Kingsborough Community College's Student World Assembly. In advocating for underrepresented people and also empowering them, I am a member of Women of Excellence Strength and Tenacity (WEST).

Throughout my time as a Malave Leadership Academy Fellow, I’ve been inspired. I have been inspired to continue to pursue my dreams, educational and professional goals, and to stay focused. During our weekly seminars and project meetings, the room was always bursting with positive energy and creativity. When faced with many challenges throughout the past year, both personal and professional, the unconditional support I have received from other Fellows and the Academy staff is truly an inspiration.


William Leverett - Queens College - Majors: Political Science & Urban Studies

My name is William Leverett, I am a 21 year old junior at Queens College majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies, and I am a product of my community.  Having lived in Harlem when I was younger and resided in St. Albans, Queens for the majority of my life, I have developed a strong passion for community development, being involved in my church, St. Albans Congregational, and as an Eagle Scout of Troop 267.

I am someone who wants to make the most of my college experience. I am blessed to be a Queens College Black Male Initiative “Project Ex.C.E.L” Peer mentor, a Jeannette K. Watson Fellow, a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, a National Student Exchange participant, and most recently, a Public Policy International Association Junior Summer Institute Fellow. Before the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, I realized that I had leadership ability but felt I needed to improve myself and wanted to be a part of a program that could expand my abilities. Being involved with the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy helped me with just that.

From the Academy, I learned that leadership is about choice. Anyone can lead in their own way using their own individual talents. My goal is a career in non-profit arts management and community development work through public policy implementation. With the help of the Academy, I am grateful to have been given another major stepping stone towards the foundation of my future. I am emboldened because of the Malave Academy, knowing that we can pen the next chapters of history if we dare to write them.  


Liliete Lopez - Hostos Community College (Fall)/Queens College (Spring) - Major: Political Science

Being a member of the Ernesto Leadership Academy has been a great experience for me!  Because I was able to participate in community service and other projects that changed my life.  One of the days of community service that I will never forget was the 9/11 Day of Service in 2009.  We were taken to a shelter on Wards Island, where we decorated the bulletin boards with positive messages and painted some areas of this facility.  The work was greatly appreciated by the residents and made a difference in my life because I did something that impacted other people’s lives.

I have done community service before entering the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, but this one was special to me because I was able to paint and help the other cohort members.  As a person with a disability, this meant a lot.  I never felt so happy like I did that day because I was useful and made a difference in my community.  Thanks to the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy, today I am part of the Alumni Legislator Project.  This project gives students the opportunity to be involved in the legislative process and develop advocacy skills.  I am double majoring in Political Science and Urban Studies and this project is helping me to meet politicians and work with them in the near future. 


Qimei Luo - College of Staten Island - Major: Communication

I was born and raised in ChengDu, in southwest China. In 2006, I came to the United States and enrolled in the College of Staten Island, the City University of New York. Currently, I am a senior with a major in Communications and a minor in Economics.

Being one of 25 fellows in year 2009-2010 cohort, I have been inspirited, motivated, and loved by all the other fellows and the staff. The Malave Leadership Academy have encouraged me to dream big, but at the same time, equipped me with crucial leadership skills. The Academy has made me understand, not only the power of determination, but also the power of taking action. This one year experience empowered me, in terms of personal growth, to prepare and enter the professional world.

One thing that really makes the Academy fellowship experience unique is the resources I have access to. As fellows, we learn from each other, share resources, and support each other’s projects. Moreover, we have also been provided valuable resources from the staff and alumni. It was the mentorship between staff and fellows that enhanced my experience as one of fellows.  I feel so fortunate in having been part of the cohort of 2009-2010, especially during my junior year in College. Personally, it has assured and eased the difficulty of transition from a college leader to a global leader.


Daysi Manzano - York College - Major: Aviation Management

In January 2010, the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy gave me the opportunity to fly to New Orleans.  There, I, along with other Malave fellows, volunteered to help rebuild a home for a victim of Hurricane Katrina.  This experience inspired me to do things for others with love.  I learned that a small action will make a difference in someone’s life.  After this experience, I began to work with the Latino for All Nations Club at William Cullen Bryant High School.  In this program, I am able to promote higher education to Latino students by sharing my college experiences to motivate the club members to attend college. 

By accepting my potential as a leader, I had the confidence to raise a question to a panel at a Women’s Leadership Conference, which I attended thanks to the Malave Leadership Academy.  My question was the following: how do we motivate students to perform well in college, when at home their parents do not understand the importance of education? The panel did not answer my question.

Marcia Keizs, President of York College, became inspired by my question and formed a committee to plan a Women’s Leadership Colloquium and discuss the issue of social, culture, and generational differences in education.  Daysi formed part of the committee and along with other York College faculty planned the event and received the answer to her question.  The Women’s Leadership Colloquium became an annual event at York College. 

The Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy challenged me to go beyond just dreaming.  I learned about my strengths, and put them in action to help my community and everyone that surrounds me.  My leadership skills led me to influence people in constructive ways.  This has shown me that I can do things I never realized I could do.  As a result, I plan to pursue a Masters degree in Public Administration and manage an airport in New York.  After all of my experiences so far, I have no reason to doubt that I will accomplish this. 


Phillip Parris - Medgar Evers College - Majors: Business & Marketing

I am American born, but I am of Haitian and Barbadian descent. Growing up with this background, I have been exposed to different cultures and I have gained a healthy respect for diversity. I am also the middle child of three boys and I feel the need to achieve above and beyond in order to be recognized. I hope to become an associate brand manager at Unilever upon completion of my undergraduate degree. I then intend to pursue an MBA focusing in marketing preferably at Northwestern University, Kellogg Graduate School of Management. In order to make these dreams come true, I have been instrumentally challenging myself by competing in various marketing case competitions. My most notable success in doing so occurred when I traveled to the Wharton Undergraduate Marketing Conference in 2009 with MEC’s AMA. Along with two other participants and under the guidance of my mentor, Professor Yla Eason, we competed and emerged victorious against various schools including Drexel and University of Pennsylvania.

Before graduating next year, I intend to help mold up-and-coming students leaders by providing mentorship. I plan on hosting a series of career development workshops in conjunction with MEC’s AMA to teach students how to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them. I honestly believe in the saying, “to whom much is given, much is required”. I have been given a lot so it is only fitting for me to return the favor by aiding others by any means that I possibly could. I understood the importance of giving back for a long time now, but the Malave Leadership Academy has allowed me to do so on a completely different level.

With the Malave Leadership Academy, I have been given the opportunity to not only volunteer in various communities, I have been allowed to engage and learn about the plight of the groups we served. Most notably, on a trip to a poverty stricken neighborhood called Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was able to learn about the serious issue of homelessness in America while bonding with five other fellows. In addition, I got real one-on-one time with Ms. Julie Agosto and Ms. Christina Joseph, both of whom gave me advice and networking opportunities that will help to augment my professional development. It was an honor to be part of such a cohort. Not only will I leave with great friends, I will leave with memories of all our extraordinary experiences which will continue to mold the decisions I make for my future.


Jasmine Patel - Brooklyn College - Majors: Biology & Economics

I was honored to be chosen as a Fellow for the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy 2009-2010 cohort.  The leadership and team-building skills I have learned as part of the seminars and service project has already helped me to expand beyond Brooklyn College in service and advocacy. 

With inspiration from the Academy to advance community involvement, I, along with other students, worked on providing the annual Youth Conference at Midwood High School with a memorable way to bring HIV/AIDS awareness - a fashion show with clothes solely made of condoms. 

In addition, along with other Malave Fellows, I have been working on the Red Card Campaign to bring human trafficking awareness specifically targeting the increase around international sporting events focusing on the World Cup in South Africa this year.  I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to discover how to lead and advocate with other leaders on local, national, and international levels. 

I hope to use this knowledge in my future endeavors to promote health equality and efficiency at home and abroad.  I am excited to be attending SUNY Downstate Medical School in August 2010.


Tyrell Peebles - York College - Major: Business Administration

I am a proud member of the Ernesto Malave Leadership Academy’s 2009-10 cohort. As a rising senior at York College, I am majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business and Finance. I am a loving son, brother and father of twins, and I am extremely proud to be the first member in my family to graduate from college.

I believe that traditional education is not enough in correcting the issues of disenfranchised peoples; to that end, I have worked to establish the York College Finance and Investment Club to promote financial literacy as a tool of empowerment.

I credit the Leadership Academy with making me a better father, student, leader and advocate for others. My tenure as a leadership academy fellow has been marked by increased participation at local area schools promoting financial literacy with the Optimum Institute of Economic Empowerment’s ‘All about Business’ youth group, and obtaining an internship and subsequent full time position as a credit analyst with the New York Business Development Corporation.  My plans following graduation include studying for the CFA exam and one day creating an asset management firm that services a diverse range of clients.


Edgar Romero - LaGuardia Community College - Major: International Relations

A native of Venezuela, besides serving as a fellow of the Malave Leadership Academy, I have also served as Phi Theta Kappa's International President this academic year.  I am a member of the Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count as well as being active with LaGuardia's United Nations Club and the Poetry Club.

As an international student, new to the United States and to community college, my first encounter with the Leadership Academy came about because I attended the 2009 Emerging Leaders Conference at Baruch.  I met some of the previous fellows and administrators while at the conference. When the nominations came out, I sent my own application and was very surprised to be called for an interview.

My knowledge of servant leadership grew more as a Malave Fellow, by integrating service and leadership as a single concept. While being part of the cohort, we implemented a service project to create awareness about plastic bags, and we all took different roles to make the project happen. I realized that the Malave Academy was not about learning to lead and delegate, but rather using these concepts to cooperate and serve our communities.  Through the service project, I realized that by working with my “fellow Fellows”, that we were all leaders of service.


Carlos Ruiz - Baruch College - Major: Public Affairs

I always thought of myself as being special. I liked to stand out from an early age; to be different, exceptional, unique, and special, was a belief reinforced daily by my parents. They told me: you are one of a kind, unique, and you will achieve great things in life.

As I was growing up, I never saw myself as a leader per say. Nevertheless, my quest to be someone special harnessed in me skills that prepared me for leadership positions later in life. From my desire to be a special student, I learned about dedication, and persistence. I continue to develop these skills when I concentrated my energy in sports, where I learned about team work, drive, and hard work. These skills served me well when in high school, I was consistently voted class president, and student body president during my senior year. Yet, while I had been developing leadership skills for years at this point, the learning process was not over, it was just beginning.

Until this year, my leadership style was authoritarian. Growing up on a military base taught me a top-bottom leadership scheme, where there is a clear order of command. Since my freshman year of college, I exercised this leadership style through various roles in clubs and students governments, never having to question the effectiveness of only using that style of leadership.

Joining the Malave Leadership Academy allowed me to learn how to be a leader in an environment where there is no hierarchy but instead communal atmosphere where we all needed to lean and depend on each other. I learned to listen and speak verbatim because I knew that the only weight my ideas will carry will be because of their own merit, not because I carried any sort of title.  

The beginning was hard; I often felt frustrated with the team process. But with time, I got to know the rest of the fellows and we were able improve communication and achieve our goals. From traveling to conferences to our weekly seminars with Dr. McManus, this has been a very rewarding experience. Yet, I think the most important thing I have taken from this experience has been meeting an energetic, committed, and diverse group of fellows.