Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship 2019

The Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship awards 15 Baruch students with $3,000 each and aims to transform their lives by providing them with the means to explore careers in public interest. Heyman Fellows work in unpaid internships or volunteer with non-profit organizations serving the ‘common good’. This fellowship was named in memory of Dr. Wendy Heyman, psychologist and advocate for volunteerism and gaining valuable work experience while making a difference in the world.

Meet 2019’s Wendy Heyman Fellows:

Yael Magder – Bar Ilan University

Before starting my education at Baruch, I spent a gap year studying abroad in Israel. During my year, I worked as a student advisor for international students on a program called The Bar Ilan Experience. The mission of this program is to expose students to the diverse cultures of Israel through academia, religious studies and cultural immersion. The relationships established on this program were incredible. As I and many of the students returned from our gap year, I saw the need to develop an alumni community in order to maintain the meaningful connections established during our year. With the help of the Heyman Fellowship, I can devote my time to developing a strong alumni community for students of The Bar Ilan Experience by serving as an alumni liaison. The ability to watch students reconnect with friends while building new relationships with former students has taught me how powerful student lead initiatives and student formed communities can be. I thank the Heyman Fellowship for enabling me to invest my time into such a meaningful opportunity.

Anas Cheema – US Securities & Exchange Department

I am currently a senior majoring in Accountancy and minoring in Political Science. I have always been interested in financial markets, trading, and regulation. With the generous help of the Heyman Fellowship, I was able to intern with the United States Securities & Exchange Commission during Spring 2019. The agency’s goals and mission aligned my vision for guarding the securities markets, and it was a great experience to learn and grow professionally. I attained great inter-personal skills such as teamwork, leadership, and compliance. I was grateful to assist attorneys and accountants on current cases. The internship helped me learn and confirm my love for the financial regulations market, I now look forward to a career in the government with an agenda to protect our securities markets, and investors

AnnMarie Gajdos – The David Project
I am a world citizen who is interested in international affairs and the way in which we can solve some of the world’s leading political issues. After traveling to Israel on two Baruch trips for student leaders, I realized that I wanted to help others become more knowledgeable about the issues impacting the country. As a result, I chose to intern for the David Project, an Israeli-advocacy organization that focuses on the importance of relationship building to bring about meaningful change in society, because of their commitment to conflict resolution in the Middle East. This internship helped me improve my event-planning and organizational skills by allowing me to create and implement campus-wide programming for a network of over 150 interns and staff members. I learned that I am a strong communicator who wants to use her voice to stand up for oppressed peoples around the globe. I would not have been able to explore this particular passion of mine if it had not been for the gracious support of the Heyman Fellowship.

Alix (Gaby) Cervantes – NYS AG Letitia James’ Office

I am a Baruch College January 2019 graduate. I’m also a sister, an aunt, a daughter, and a global citizen. I’m currently consulting at PEN America as the Dreaming Out Loud Student Leader & Coordinator. Dreaming Out Loud is a tuition-free writing workshop for immigrants and allies. In addition to this, I was a fellow of 2018 CUNY Women’s Public Service Program. I took an unpaid internship at the Office of the Public Advocate of Letitia James. As a Constituent Services Intake Specialist, I spoke with New York City constituents first, represented the office with dignity, and worked closely with associates to help constituents solve their issue. The most empowering aspect of the experience was learning each of New York City Department’s functionality and what constituents can do to resolve their issue either on their own or with an associate, who communicates with city agencies.

With the help of the Dr. Wendy Heyman Fellowship, I was able to take my unpaid internship with fewer financial burdens, obtain marketable skills, and expand my professional networks, all the while graduating from the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences with a 3.57 GPA.”

Denise MacQuire – Community Service Society of NY

Born in Cape Town, South Africa in a high-crime and high-poverty neighborhood I knew I had to develop an inner strength to lift me out of my situation.  Since coming to the United States, I graduated from Baruch College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, and I was selected for the 2018 CUNY Black Caucus Scholar, the 2018 Baruch College Pre-Law Fellow and represented Baruch College at the 2018 International Conference for Undergrad Research (ICUR).  My goal is to make the process of accessing government entitlements and applying for immigration benefits less daunting and complex.  The Heyman Fellowship allowed me to further explore my interests in social services, legal services and healthcare which enabled me to become a skillful advocate for low-income New Yorkers and immigrants who struggle to navigate the “red tape” with government agencies like Medicaid, New York State of Health (NYSOH) and gain access to the health care system in New York State.  I have learned skills such as listening with understanding, patience, and empathy and free of judgment which I hope to apply in my effort to become a Health and Human Rights Attorney. The Heyman Fellowship has opened eyes to the importance of giving back and how rewarding it feels knowing that I have made a difference in someone’s life.

Jaya Hamilton – PS/IS 127Q

As a digital marketing major and communication studies minor, I was thrilled to be a social media intern for PS/IS127Q. I attended this elementary school for a few years and it has had a tremendous impact on my personal and academic growth. At my volunteer site, I launched the social media platforms catered for parents to get involved in workshops, meetings, events and programs that the Parent Coordinator, PTA, and teachers host and promote. Many traditional forms of promoting school events and information were no longer effective, like sending home flyers with students. Since PS/ IS127Q is a school of approximately 1500 students and the majority of students are from working-class families, many parents are unable to attend school events that take place during school hours. I began posting pictures, PowerPoint presentations, handouts and other important school information, on the social media platforms. The ultimate goal of the social media platforms is to reach all parents, provide them with access and transparency to everything that is affecting their child’s education. I have learned that it is truly a team effort that requires support from the child, parents, school administration, parent coordinator, and community. I plan on developing and growing my skills in this area to continue to be of service to my community.

Jose Benitez – Centro Coroma (IMI)

In my volunteer position at Centro Corona, I learned how to politically educated individual for self-actualization for them to advocate for their own rights and their neighbor’s rights. Real change comes from people power, popular education, and community organizing, and holding our representatives accountable. I firmly believe that government is a broken system based, made, and upheld by a racist, oppressive patriarchy system and that we cannot fix our society in a broken system. I’m interested in how the labor of community organizers acts as a catalyst for change through public discourse between communities and their government representatives. We must dedicate time to give back to the community by making organizations that help to address issues and problems we all share as one and try to resolve them ourselves or take action to strive for solutions. I believe in giving back to the community by doing organizing work to advance further and politically educate community members to be more civically engaged in issues impacting them.

Nicolas Fuertes – Baruch Sustainability Task Force

I am a college student exploring solutions to the challenges of urban sustainability through the study of real estate development, architecture, and environmental policy. As an intern, I worked alongside Baruch’s Task Force on Sustainability to promote discussion about climate change among faculty and students. An important achievement for us included the inclusion of important climate change language into Baruch’s 5-year plan with a curricular emphasis on issues about sustainability and climate change. As I move forward with an education in architecture, I am happy to know that I can tap into the generous Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship to address some burdensome graduate school costs. As a future architect, I hope to craft design solutions for New York City growing population. I wish to promote sustainability and social innovation through smart buildings that increase our quality of life.

Throughout my day-to-day life, I operate while keeping this question in mind: “How can I disrupt and dismantle inequity within my sphere of influence?” While working at New York City’s Coalition for Educational Justice (CEJ), I have been able to promote equity to NYC public schools through the extensive research, curriculum re-evaluation, and policy reform. Currently a sophomore majoring in Communication Studies, I have had my fair share of internships. However, during my time at CEJ I have been able to tap into what really motivates me to be a better, more informed member of society and evoke change within my community. The Heyman Fellowship gave me the opportunity to fully devote my time and energy into an organization that is truly making a difference in the lives of others.

Chung-Tseng (Kirby) Wang – AskNed

My name is Chung-Tseng Wang and I’m a senior majoring in statistics and quantitative modeling, and minoring in mathematics. During the Spring 2019 semester I worked as a machine learning intern at AskNed, a marketing analytics startup that utilizes natural language processing. I worked on two machine learning projects that aimed to reduce poverty levels in NYC and reduce air pollution in the US.  Through this experience, not only did I learn about the topics but I also learned a lot about myself. I realized the importance of having a well balance career that has both financial and personal fulfillment. I chose to volunteer through AskNed because I’m an aspiring data scientist and I thought this internship is the perfect opportunity to work on my technical skills and give back to the community. I’ve gain some valuable technical skills and critical thinking skills that will be very applicable to my career path. The Dr. Wendy Heyman Fellowship gave me the opportunity to pursue an amazing learning experience without the financial burden. I am grateful for this experience and I encourage other students to take advantage of this opportunity.

Fern White-Hilsenrath – Nonviolence International

I am an aspiring writer and storyteller in my senior year at Baruch College where I major in journalism with a double minor in English and Corporate Communication. In addition to journalistic writing, I also write short stories and poems.  Currently, I am working on an idea for a novel. When I complete my degree, I will be the first person from my immediate family to earn a tertiary education qualification.  This makes me proud. I consider myself a Global Citizen with the belief that in small ways I can make a difference in my own little corner of the world. With the help of the Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship I recently completed an internship at Nonviolence International-NY an NGO which partners with the United Nations to advance the 17 sustainable goals and 169 targets outlined by the UN’s Agenda 2030 which includes sustainable peace and environmental stewardship.
During my internship, I conducted research and wrote about topics such as the intersection between gun ownership and domestic violence, the Violence Against Women Act, how war and conflict affects women and children, accidental explosions in poorly managed munition  storage facilities worldwide among other topics. It was an amazing feeling to have my blogs getting thumbs up from readers in far flung places in Africa, Europe and Asia.

Sophanie Occean – SimInspired

The Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship is dear to my heart and the mission to allow students to gain work experience at unpaid internships while making a difference in the world is beautiful. The fellowship helped make life simpler knowing that my expenses would be taken care of and I didn’t have to worry about how I would pay for transportation and food to eat while at an unpaid internship where I would be helping others. I hope future students consider unpaid opportunities at non-profits as a way to gain valuable work-related skills.

I was attracted to the opportunity of working at the nonprofit SimInspired, because I believe in the vision of allowing young adults to find their purpose. In my time at SimInspired, I obtained problem-solving and communication skills by drafting outreach emails, building partnerships and hosting a SimInspired film tours around the United States. Like many non-profits we were faced with our ideal goals verses the goals were able to attain within our budget. Despite the challenges, we found different solutions that would bring us to our same goals.  I see myself using these skills in my future job with Venture for America where I’ll be working as a Data Analyst at Shipt in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m excited for this opportunity which was made possible by the skills I obtained while receiving the Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship.

Check out recipients from previous years:

Dr. Wendy Heyman Public Interest Fellowship


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