Major: Forensic Psychology
Hometown: Ridgewood, N.J.
Programs: Honors Program, Ronald E. McNair, Black Student Union
Internships/Fellowships: New York Giants Touchdown Fellowship, Center for Justice Innovation Internship, Propel Impact Investing Fellowship
Mentors: Dr. Emily Haney-Caron, Adrienne Fitzgerald, Dr. Ernest Lee
Career Aspiration: Criminal Justice Advocate
“When I learned I was selected to be a 2023–2024 New York Giants Touchdown Fellow, I was overwhelmed with excitement and immense gratitude. This program and the New York Giants have made it possible for me to continue my John Jay education and reach my educational goals.”
Why John Jay?
I’ve always had a strong desire to work in the criminal justice field, specifically in the forensic psychology realm, and I knew John Jay was the number one college to immerse myself in the intersection of those two worlds. I also could picture myself thriving at the College. I grew up in a predominantly white town, going to schools where few people looked like me. That’s why coming to John Jay was so important. Not only was it my dream college in New York City, but it was also a welcoming educational environment that was both a Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving Institution.
What made you want to apply to the New York Giants Touchdown Fellowship?
I was exploring different programs that could expand my learning experiences, and Ms. Adrienne Fitzgerald in the Honors Program suggested I look into the Fellowship. Being a lifelong New York Giants fan and learning that the team had a strong connection to John Jay through the Fellowship made me happy and excited to look into it further. As I read about the experiences of past fellows and the extraordinary opportunities they had through the Fellowship, I knew I had to apply.
How has the Fellowship transformed your life?
This Fellowship has been life-changing for several reasons. As a first-generation college student and an out-of-state student, it’s been challenging to come up with tuition money each semester. The stipends I received through the Fellowship lifted the financial stress off my shoulders, and it allowed me to breathe a little easier, focus on my studies, and successfully continue my academic journey at John Jay. It also opened my eyes to what I want to do with my career. Through my Fellowship experience, I’ve become more confident in my goal to help system-impacted people and their families reacclimate into society.
What was your New York Giants Touchdown Fellowship experience like?
Through the Fellowship, I was placed at the Center for Justice Innovation’s Manhattan Justice Opportunities (M.J.O.) Program. I attended court hearings at the New York Criminal Court and spoke with M.J.O.-mandated individuals. I saw first-hand how our justice system worked and understood better how it should be improved to create a more equitable and fair system.
One of the court experiences that stuck with me was seeing an individual who was brought up on a number of charges that equaled well over $100,000 in misdemeanor court fines. The person explained to the court that they were homeless and had been in and out of the shelter system. It was clear to me that the individual would never be able to pay those fines. Now, for my M.J.O. end-of-the-year project, I’m helping to develop a funding program for individuals struggling to pay the charges they receive.
What do you want to tell the New York Giants team, leadership, and staff?
Thank you all, first and foremost. Being selected for this prestigious fellowship has been the most amazing, life-changing, and career-affirming opportunity. I’m beyond grateful to be part of this incredible network of people who are dedicated to advancing justice and creating change. I’m forever appreciative of getting the chance to explore the justice field in such a meaningful way.
In 10 years, where do you see yourself?
I see myself earning a Ph.D. in criminal justice and running my own justice-focused practice. I want my organization to focus on providing resources to system-impacted individuals and uplifting people currently in the carceral system. I would also love to teach. It is so important for everyone to understand how our systems work and how working at a community level can produce real change.