Meet the TLC

Meet the TLC

John Jay Teaching and Learning logo

TLC Contact Information:
Location: 335 Haaren Hall
Email: tlc@jjay.cuny.edu
Not available by phone during the coronavirus pandemic

Virtual Office Hours:  Monday-Thursday, 9:00-5:00 EST

          Friday, 9:00-4:00 EST 

 Teaching and Learning Center Staff

TLC Director:

Gina Rae Foster, PhD
gifoster@jjay.cuny.edu
not available by phone during the coronavirus pandemic
Curriculum Vitae

TLC Office Manager:

Evana Alam
ealam@jjay.cuny.edu

 
TLC Administrative Assistants:
 
Euxhenia Hodo
 
Durkel Dalrymple
 
                                                                                       Jalessa Manswell
 
                                                                         
Our TLC Team In Action
 

SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: EUXHENIA HODO ’20 FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHTS OF IMMIGRANTS AND WOMEN

When Euxhenia Hodo ’20, graduate representative on Student Council and Chair of the Committee on Graduate Students, wanted to expand her knowledge of criminal and social justice, she left her native Albania, moved to New York, and set her sights on John Jay College. “Coming to John Jay is probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life,” she says. “I felt like I was in the right place, at the right time, for the right cause.” At the College, Hodo carved a unique path for herself, earning a bachelor’s degree in International Criminal Justice in 2017, and returning to the College to pursue her master’s degree in Human Rights. “I want to be an advocate and represent the people who get fewer chances and less opportunities in life. Race and gender should not be a factor when it comes to someone’s accomplishments. Not now, not ever.” We spoke with Hodo to learn more about her time at John Jay and her hopes for the future.

“Race and gender should not be a factor when it comes to someone’s accomplishments. Not now, not ever.” —Euxhenia Hodo

What was your life like before John Jay?
I grew up in Albania most of my life. I lived with my family and was in law school there. It was toward the last year of college when I realized the universe of criminal justice was bigger than what I was taught in school. So, I packed my bags, left my family, and got on a plane to New York City. I had big ambitions. My vision was clear. I wanted to be an advocate for justice and John Jay was where I needed to be.

When you first came to John Jay, what were some of your biggest challenges? How did you overcome them?
English was a third language for me—after Albanian and Italian—but I was studying International Criminal Justice in English-speaking classes. I had little to no family in New York. I had to work a 50- to 60-hour work week to support myself and take four classes a semester. Sometimes I’d only sleep three hours a day and study on the train. I was hesitant to ask for help, but I started meeting like-minded students and received help from all my professors. John Jay became my home and my sanctuary.

“John Jay became my home and my sanctuary.” —Euxhenia Hoda

If you had to point to one group or person at John Jay that made your experience especially fulfilling, supportive and productive, who would that be and why?
It’s hard to only mention one person or place at John Jay. Everyone who works in this institution has contributed to my success. Student Council is a place that has made me more aware of the power and rights we have as students. The Director of the Human Rights Program, Charlotte Walker-Said, Ph.D., has been incredibly helpful. She is always ready to listen to our concerns, answer emails off hours, and always finds a solution. She’s an incredible woman and has inspired me in many ways. She is always there when you need her the most. She feels like a parent to me.

What’s your most memorable moment with Professor Walker-Said?
Last semester I was working full time at a private company and was planning an event around LGBTQ rights. I needed an experienced speaker in the field as part of the event. Professor Walker-Said prepared a wonderful presentation and dedicated almost three hours to the event just to help me out. This was huge for me, and she did it without thinking twice. At that moment, I realized that she was not only committed to being the best professor in Human Rights, but she also wanted to help us succeed out there in the world. I will forever be grateful.

“Whenever you are facing a challenging personal or financial situation, acknowledge it and talk it out with a person you trust.” —Euxhenia Hodo

Tell us about your role at Student Council and on the Committee on Graduate Students.
I am the graduate representative on the Student Council and the Chair of the Committee on Graduate Students. This position gave me the opportunity to connect with other fellow grad students from different programs. I have been in touch with all of them during this period of distance learning. Everyone is facing new challenges, every day. I want to motivate my peers to embrace the new day, the new way of learning, and our new reality. Accept your thoughts for what they are. It’s part of being human. Whenever you are facing a challenging personal or financial situation, acknowledge it and talk it out with a person you trust.

What do you hope to do after you graduate from John Jay?
I am hoping to work closely with or open my own NGO (non-governmental organization) that works with women. Women’s rights and reducing gender-based violence have always been close to my heart. One of my future goals is to start teaching feminism and women’s rights to undergraduate students. Hopefully, I can gain enough experience at an NGO and in the classroom to start teaching at John Jay.

If all goes well, where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself running my own NGO serving women across the U.S. and in Albania. Being an immigrant woman has made me aware of how vulnerable we are and unfortunately the system does not provide all the necessary tools for us to not be victims of discrimination, stigma, or sexism. Most of the time, as immigrant women, we don’t even know we are getting paid less for the same amount of work. I know that such issues are deeply embedded in our society and can’t be fixed overnight, but I want to do my part.

“When I told my mom there was no graduation ceremony this year, she said: ‘Do you really think that everything you’ve mastered in your studies is now purposeless? Get ready for an epic backyard live video graduation. This only happens once in a lifetime.’” —Euxhenia Hodo

Since this isn’t a traditional semester—and for safety reasons we need to continue to practice social distancing—how do you hope to celebrate graduating from John Jay?
I have been going through a range of emotions. At first, I felt disappointment. Like I lost a big moment in my life and that all the sacrifices I made—staying up late to finish an assignment, not going out because I had a deadline to meet, and running across the Jay Walk because I didn’t want to be late for class—were now pointless. But healing comes through gratefulness, and I am grateful. I am grateful for John Jay’s faculty, staff, directors, professors, and President Mason, all of whom have been scrambling for weeks trying to figure out how to make this work for us. They’ve been reformatting syllabuses and helping students cope with anxiety, all while thinking of creative ways to acknowledge our hard work and accomplishments. We can’t forget, this is new to them too. We have reasons to smile and ideas to celebrate. When I told my mom there was no graduation ceremony this year, she said: ‘Do you really think that everything you’ve mastered in your studies is now purposeless? Get ready for an epic backyard live video graduation. This only happens once in a lifetime.’”