2019-2020 Scholars

The word "Value" in a ceramic mosaic

Value: The 2019-2020 LaGuardia Mellon Humanities Scholars Showcase

This year, because of the pandemic, the LaGuardia Mellon Humanities Scholars didn’t have the opportunity to take visitors through a curated exhibition of their student-designed projects around this year’s theme of “Value.” Instead, some of the students who had projects conducive to online display, have submitted their projects for an online showcase. 

by Somi Ahmed

Flashback” is a creative writing piece published in the second issue of Asian American Voices, a student magazine. 

Somi Ahmed is currently in LaGuardia Community College. She is from Bangladesh. From her childhood, she wanted to be a good human being and always wanted to help people by giving money or by giving advice. Therefore, she wanted to be lawyer, and was very passionate about that. However, as time passed she realize that to become a lawyer she need emotional strength. She started her college career from a traditional CUNY four-year college, Queens College. After one year she transferred to a two-year school, LaGuardia Community College. Her major is liberal arts: Social Science and Humanities. Even though she has been chosen STEM major, she also love to design, and create something new. In conclusion, no matter what she will do in her life she do have plans to open a business and she want to help people become entrepreneurs.

“Article of Fitness”
by Khalif Davis

My name is Khalif Davis, and I’m a Film & Television major. This is my last semester at LaGuardia CC, I will be attending Brooklyn College in Fall of 2020. My project is a visual documentation of my fitness and dieting principles from January 1, 2020- April 18 2020. It’s an observation and analysis of myself (through fitness); as well as an exploration with photography, photo-shop, and experimenting with colors and editing. The goal is to maintain consistency and simply live an overall healthier lifestyle.

All the photographs have been taken at the two outdoor locations I exercise at the most. My project has been a great experience for me as a physically active person, and also as an artist. Completion of this project has motivated me to continue my fitness journey. I also would like to complete another fitness project more geared towards the general public, as motivational content.

by Kristina Graham

Kristina Graham is a student at LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC). She is majoring in Liberal Arts: Film and Television. Kristina served as Film Club President at LAGCC, which further inspired her to serve the College as a Student Success Mentor. Kristina was also accepted as a Mellon Humanities Alliance Scholar.One of Kristina’s passions is storytelling; especially storytelling through the visual arts of photography and videography. She applies storytelling to share her interpretations of the world in general and the complexities of human emotions in particular. Kristina’s aspirations range across several disciplines, such as media, counseling, and teaching.

Kristina’s project is a film showcase on the subject of Identity. The premise of the film is based on the notion of how internalizing voices of other people and misconceiving them as our own affects our lives. Kristina’s intent is to communicate through voiceless images that people in our lives have a significant impact on us by leaving a “mark” and shaping our emotions, our perceptions, and even our lives. Kristina hopes that her film evokes thinking about how each of us has been and is being influenced by other people’s words and our own words touch and leave a mark on other people’s lives.

“The Essence of Quarantine”
by Julian Mejía 

Julian Mejía is a current 3rd year year student attending Brooklyn College as a Video Production Major/ Marketing Minor. He has attended LaGuardia Community College as a TV & Film major and has worked as a Videographer and Photographer on the Street Team as a part of the Marketing and Communication at the college. He currently works a brand ambassador for Fresh&Co, the salad company taking NYC by storm with 19 locations. He strives to be a successful videographer whether it be for a production company or a marketing firm.

“The Loop”
by Aldo Ortiz

Aldo Ortiz is a Bronx native and digital storyteller. His focus is on telling stories about the Latinx community and exploring social justice issues through the mediums of theatre and video. He was inspired to pursue film after joining the campus film club.

“The City That Never Sleeps on PAUSE”
by Elysia Padilla

For my project, I was originally going to stage a voter registration drive and create a documentary about the process, but unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this is no longer possible. I have thus decided to draw inspiration from global events and use my love of photography to document the historical events we’re living through.

I want to use a photo series to document the city in hibernation, with a focus on the messages we are sending to one another and the economic impact. I plan on going around the city (alone and with protective equipment on for my safety) and photographing shuttered businesses, pandemic related signs and information, and the ghost town that is currently New York City

Elysia Padilla was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She is currently a student at Brooklyn College, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Film. She previously attended the University of Maine for one year, before taking some time off and later returning to her education at LaGuardia Community College, earning an Associate’s Degree in Film and Television. She has been making films since she was 14 years old, having attended The Cinema School in the Bronx for high school, where she got a top tier film education and where her love for filmmaking was ignited.

However, her lifelong passion for legal scholarship, civic engagement, policy making, and American politics led her to shift her focus to Political Science after LaGuardia, though her devotion to Film and the visual arts remains a major part of who she is. She hopes to complete her Bachelor’s and continue on in her education, ultimately hoping to earn a PhD. Her career goal, while slightly fuzzy at the moment, is to find a way to marry her passions for politics and the visual arts in interesting and creative ways.

In her personal time, her hobbies are photography, watching cheesy teen romance films, listening to legal podcasts, taking road trips with friends, and spending too much money on makeup.

“Food Pantry Recipes” by Katherine Pinzon

The world has had a series of unfortunate events entering 2020; including a pandemic that has caused hardships across the world. Katherine aims to provide relief to one of the many hardships. Her project this year is dedicated to combating food insecurity in New York City. Working with LaGuardia Cares, Katherine will create a booklet and an accessible PDF that will include simple-but delicious recipes that only require ingredients available at food pantries. The recipe book will be available on the LaGuardia Community College website for students to access. To combat food insecurity on a broader spectrum, Katherine has partnered with New York City’s Manhattan Borough President, who helped her reach out to families and individuals who are in need of food and groceries so that she can provide them with $25 Trader Joe’s gift-cards along with a shopping list and recipes.

As a first-generation college student, Katherine Pinzon is passionate about leadership and her academics, where she is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Management at LaGuardia Community College. Katherine is the President of LaGuadia’s Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society (PTK) where she led a project on joy supported by the Dalai Lama. She is a LaGuardia Student Affairs Ambassador, a purchasing intern at Boyce Technologies, a communications intern for NBC News, and a LaGuardia Mellon Humanities Alliance Scholar. As a Mellon Scholar, Katherine was given the tools to create her very own nonprofit fishing program, Pesca NYC, focused on serving children in underserved communities. Because of her passion for public affairs and higher education, Katherine will be transferring to Baruch College where she will major in Public Affairs.

“Our Festival”
by Yaxian Liu

Prezi slides of “Our Festival”

accompanying audio presentation of slides

Yaxian Liu is an international student who is currently studyingat LaGuardia Community College, and major is business administration. Yaxian satisfactory achievements are Humanities program that I am doing, and the summer camp volunteer certificate in 2019. Yaxian Liu hopes to create her own business of We-Media because this is a kind of new entertainment business that is prevailing. Now, she wishes everyone can keep a healthy body.

The project of Yaxian is about traditional festivals from different countries and cultures. A big difference between countries is the difference in traditional culture. She wants to explores traditional festivals because the day of the festival is special and meaningful while many traditional festivals have disappeared because many people especially the younger generation prefers famous and popular festivals, such as Christmas. For many people, the meaning of traditional holidays is just a holiday. Yaxian’s project is to explore four traditional festivals from different countries. I wish that people who see my project can value traditional festaval and feel it seriously.

WileyPlus Guide
by Shefali Parmar

Shefali Parmar is currently a Liberal Arts: Social Sciences and Humanities major at LaGuardia Community College.

Other 2019-2020 LaGuardia Scholars:

Akeem Activille

Akeem Activille is a nursing student at LaGuardia Community College. His project was writing a play about imposter syndrome and psychosis, similar in style to Requiem for a Dream.

Susana Alvis

In her project, Susana sought to create an online platform to help people learn about cultures through food. By creating short videos, she will share about the origin of the food and the country where it comes from, not only covering historical aspects but also creating awareness of countries not so common to the public, more specifically those in South East Asia.

Born and raised in Monteria, Colombia, Susana Alvis moved to the United States in 2011. She is currently pursuing her Associates in Spanish – English Translation at LaGuardia Community College. Susana desires to use her passion for languages and cultures to work in embassy and diplomatic settings under the umbrella of International Relations/ Intercultural Relations. Among the cultures that she is most passionate about is the Chinese Culture; where she plans to focus and work in the area of cross-cultural communication. Susana’s love for languages and cultures translates into her role of Student Success Mentor, through which she has had the opportunity to teach the First Year Seminar studio hour to over one hundred freshmen students per semester; her students are from various parts of the world, in this way, she helps them to acclimate to the college system and culture in order to reach a successful graduation. Susana also serves as a LaGuardia ambassador through President’s Society, representing the college in networking events and meetings with donors; served as the student representative at the Steering Strategic Directions Committee that planned the Strategic Directions Summit to help shape the future of LaGuardia; and is part of the LaGuardia Rising Committee that works towards the safety and protection of student’s rights. She is an ePortfolio Scholar and a New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2018 Scholarship Award Winner. Susana’s passion for cultures and languages has been her vehicle to better serve and understand those around her, and has allowed her to become a better person by taking in the richness and beauty of those around. 

Giovanni Barrett

Giovanni Barrett is a journalism student at LaGuardia Community College, who is interested in pursuing a masters in education.

Daisy Codallos-Silva

Daisy Codallos-Silva is a Liberal Arts major at Laguardia Community College. She is interested in becoming an environmental scientist, and loves to write poetry.

Andre Dunkley

Andre is a 27-year-old native of Queens, New York. He decided to join the Marine Corps after high school to pursue his passion for travel and fulfill his desire to see the world and experience different cultures. He enlisted as a helicopter mechanic and lived in California for the first half of his enlistment, then later worked as a Marine Embassy Security Guard in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Kathmandu, Nepal and Stockholm, Sweden. Six-and-a-half-years and fifteen counties later, Andre decided to resume his educational journey as a mechanical engineering major but has recently switched to liberal arts, to later pursue a career in Technology management. In his free time, he loves to hang out with friends and family, go on long bikes rides, cook and bake, and practice photography.

Maximilius Zachariah Fielder

Maximilius Zachariah Fielder, born in Harlem, raised in the Bronx, is currently attending LaGuardia Community College, as a major in Film and Television. He is primarily looking to be a screenwriter/director, and spends his free time scrawling his thoughts in far too many notebooks. He aspires to one day live and breathe the writers room.

Luca Guidone

Originally born in Cyprus, Luca Guidone grew up and spent the majority of his life in queens. He is a student of LaGuardia Community College currently within the industrial design major.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein is a famous scientist. Just kidding. This Albert Einstein is a senior in LaGuardia College. His current major is Liberal Arts: Math and Science. He hopes to explore more in the world of math in the future. Albert is a shy but friendly person to talk to. He also loves to make new friends!

Albert will talk in depth about “depression”. Why this topic? Many of us, believe it or not, has depression at one point. Some of us live through it and some still dwell on it. In this state, we tend to think more negatively than usual and it is very hazardous. He will talk more about how depression is seen as one of the most dangerous illness.

Rui Huang

Rui Huang is a Childhood Education student at LaGuardia Community College. She hopes to transfer to a senior college to pursue her dream of teaching.

Taehyun Lee

Taehyun Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea. He worked as a stylist after graduating high school for 3 years. He fulfilled his military duties and went to Australia for a working holiday for 2 years. At the age 25 he moved to United States where he is currently majoring in Journalism at Laguardia Community College.In Laguardia he became a Mellon Humanities scholarship student. He aspires to one day be an editor.

Rodney Nelson

Rodney J. Nelson is an aspiring actor who currently studies at LaGuardia Community College. Although he is just at the start of his career, he aspires to be the greatest artist of the world and within that to be an influence in inspiring a light of unity and empathy across the world. His roots of being Dominican and from the Bronx inspires him to strive in telling his own story so that he could speak for those who are misunderstood. His own unique story to not confine him but liberates him in showing the common ground that everyone shares. As an Irene Ryan finalist for KCACTF Region I Festival 51, President of Theater Club, or playing different roles in previous works such as “Van” in Dog See’s God and “The Wiz” in The Wiz; he tries to continue spreading his own impact. All he wants to do is continue exploring his artistic abilities to be the best artist he can be, show others how fun it is to be a performer and to spread a light and message that will resonate with others as honest as possible. Even if it may seem small to him at first glance, he knows it will shift others to think differently, feel differently, and to pass it forward to follow the tradition many others have tried to do in the past in hopes of a better tomorrow.

Susmita Rana

My name is Susmita Rana and I am an international student in the United States. I am currently pursuing my Associate’s degree in Computer Science at LaGuardia Community College. I value adventure, determination, and achievement within teamwork in my life. Later, I want to become an AI software engineer as a result of my studies and develop a futuristic home AI system that can help people in their daily lives.My first interest in Computer Science was from when I was in grade five. I loved computers and admired technology. To further my dreams, I watched Iron Man and I was fascinated by technology like Jarvis. I grew up using various technology and this is what drove me to this major. I want to work hard and be a top AI developer.I have had an interest in coding since I was first exposed to it. I started with QBasic and HTML but I also completed some C, C++ and JAVA courses. For this year my aim is to learn Python and create a firm base for myself. I want to pursue my studies until I get a doctorate’s degree while I intern at some of the well-reputed companies.

Jacqueline Real

Jacqueline Real is a psychology student at LaGuardia Community College. Out of school, she leads rallies for the NYCLU and other organizations. For her, education is activism.

Jonathan Rivera

Jonathan Rivera is a Film and Television student at LaGuardia Community College and the Treasurer of the Film Club. He won the “Audience Favorite” for a short at the Thomson Ave Film Festival in 2019.

Edgar Ricardo Rodriguez

Ricardo’s project aims to create a space where people who are not closely related to art and other people who are, come to create art together, regardless of their experience. This is also designed so that through dance and theater exercises, participants can find a place where they can express themselves freely through their bodies and also connect with their inner energy.

Diego Serrano

Diego Serrano is a Film and Television student at LaGuardia Community College. He is currently focused on developing skills in film editing, creating special effects, and camera functions.

Abel Villamar

Abel Villamar was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He is a current student at LaGuardia Community College, majoring in Latin American studies. Abel came to the United States in 2014. His experience as an immigrant has allowed him to personally feel the barriers of language and culture, but at the same time presented him with an opportunity to foster new ideas in a completely different language. Writing poetry is one of his passions. The creative opportunities that poetry offers has allowed him to explore the creation of a multilingual and multicultural space for the development of art, in which he presents poetry as the genesis of a new communication process, with complex linguistic, cultural, and ideological facets.