Council Member Julie Won and LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams Celebrate the Women of Queens

Photo above shows (from left to right): LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams; Dr. Rhonda Mouton, Director of LaGuardia CARES; Melissa Orlando, Community organizer for victims of the December 20, 2023 Sunnyside fire; Corrine Haynes, President of the NYCHA Queensbridge Houses Resident Association; Laura Rothrock, President of the Long Island City Partnership; Dr. Preethi Radhakrishnan, LaGuardia Biology Professor and Environmental Science Program Director; Dr. Cory Rowe, LaGuardia Criminal Justice Professor and Director of the LaGuardia–Rikers college credit program; Katherine Zink and Fanny Chang, both Community organizers for victims of the December 20, 2023 Sunnyside fire; and Council Member Julie Won.

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (March 22, 2024) — Council Member Julie Won (26th District) and LaGuardia Community College/CUNY President Kenneth Adams co-hosted an event on March 22 honoring nine women from the Queens community for their selfless dedication, commitment to community service, and hard work. The “Celebrating the Women of Queens” event is held annually during Women’s History Month.

“At today’s Women’s History Month celebration, we recognized the achievements of nine amazing women who dedicate their time to serving our neighbors. These nine women from our district have worked to empower our communities—providing them with the resources, tools, and support to thrive,” said Council Member Julie Won. “Now, it’s our turn to honor them during Women’s History Month for their contributions to community organizing, improving public housing, supporting our local businesses, and education. Thank you to our honorees and to LaGuardia Community College for your continued partnership in putting this event together.”

“It’s a great privilege to join Council Member Julie Won in honoring women who truly make a difference here at LaGuardia, in Long Island City and all across our city,” said Kenneth Adams, President of LaGuardia Community College. “Council Member Won has been a powerful advocate and fierce champion on behalf of LaGuardia and our community. Recently, she fought tirelessly for the closing of 29th St. between our C-building and parking lot—to make it a public and open space for the community, particularly our students. She also allocated funding that’s supporting our ‘3,000 Heroes’ initiative by enabling us to upgrade our facilities on campus where we train future nurses, paramedics and other frontline healthcare professionals. She knows how to get things done and we’re grateful for her.”

LaGuardia Community College Faculty and Staff Members Honored by President Adams

Rhonda Mouton, Ed.D.

Rhonda Mouton, Ed.D., Director of LaGuardia CARES, a service that helps students struggling to meet their daily necessities through an on-campus pantry, help signing up for public assistance, support applying for emergency funds to pay rent/utilities/tuition, and more. Under Dr. Mouton’s leadership, LaGuardia CARES has become consistent support, assisting over 10,000 students since its inception. With a commitment to addressing unmet needs, the program has received over $500,000 in grants, awards, and donations collectively to service crucial areas such as housing, utilities, food, childcare, and transportation.

“Many of our LaGuardia students excel academically, but from time to time they face issues such as back rent, food insecurity, housing insecurity, mental health needs, and other challenges that could get in the way and become obstacles to success here at LaGuardia. And that’s what LaGuardia CARES, run by Dr. Mouton, is all about—helping students overcome these challenges so they can stay in school and continue their academic career progress,” said President Adams. “Under Rhonda’s leadership, LaGuardia CARES has become a consistent support for LaGuardia students.”

Cory Rowe, Ph.D.

Cory Rowe, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Criminal Justice (Social Sciences Department) at LaGuardia and Director of the LaGuardia–Rikers college credit program. Dr. Rowe has over twenty years of experience working with people in the criminal justice system. Her experience includes preparing individuals for release from Sing Sing Correctional Facility, coaching safety agents in NYC’s most dangerous public schools, leading anger management groups for people on parole, teaching COs how to use their power responsibly at the NY Tolerance Center, and leading classes and workshops in storytelling and poetry to incarcerated people at Rikers Island and the adolescent youth jails of NYC.

“I wouldn’t be here today, and none of this work would be possible without the help from some remarkable individuals and organizations. These include my College Way family, led by director Kathy Mora, who championed the education that we bring into Rikers Island and other correctional facilities,” said Dr. Rowe. “I also would like to thank the unseen heroes of this work—the women at Rikers Island participating in college–credited coursework, whose stories remind us of the transformative power of education. Not just for the women behind bars, but for our LaGuardia students who come into the facility and interact with these women. Their resilience is a testament to the human spirit and the power of women to overcome even the worst times in adversity.”

Preethi Radhakrishnan, Ph.D.

Preethi Radhakrishnan, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Sciences (Natural Sciences Department), and Director of LaGuardia’s Environmental Science program and Hydroponic Research Lab. Dr. Radhakrishnan is the principal investigator of two major grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In 2023, she was awarded a $4.5 million multi-year grant to create a new Animal Science track in the Environmental Science program. In 2021, she was awarded $250,000 for an initiative to sustain and grow the next generation of Urban STEM agricultural leaders by introducing a Sustainable Urban Agriculture track in the Environmental Science program, one of the first of its kind in NYC.

“I’m standing here today on the shoulders of women and colleagues who allow people like me to get to where I am today. I’m an immigrant; I moved here without any family. My colleagues here are my tribe,” said Dr. Radhakrishnan. “It is awesome to be at LaGuardia, an institution where programs like Environmental Science and Green Jobs are lifted up and exalted for what they are. Because we need to educate a generation of students who are climate forward and who understand the situations that are emerging in our time.

LIC Community Members Honored by Council Member Won

Laura Rothrock


Laura Rothrock, President of the Long Island City Partnership and Executive Director of the Long Island City BID, which is managed by LICP. Laura joined LICP in 2022 with almost 20 years of experience in economic development strategy, policy analysis and advocacy, with a specific focus on enhancing business improvement districts (BIDs). Previously, she was Executive Director of the New York City Department of Small Business Services’ BID Program, overseeing its $100 million contract management portfolio, and serving as Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s representative for nearly 70 BIDs across the five boroughs.

Corrine Haynes


Corrine Haynes, President of the NYCHA Queensbridge Houses Resident Association. Ms. Haynes is a lifelong resident of Queensbridge Houses, where she has spent more than 40 years working to uplift and enrich the lives of her neighbors in the largest housing development in the world. She serves on several community boards—as the Vice President on the PSA9 Community Council, a Vice Chair on the District Council of Presidents, and a Vice Chair on Community Board 1.

Melissa Orlando


Melissa Orlando, Community organizer for victims of the December 20, 2023 Sunnyside fire and Executive Director and Co-Founder of Access Queens, a community advocacy organization. Through Access Queens, Ms. Orlando has worked to improve the public transit experience for residents in Western Queens and has called for responsible development and greater investment in infrastructure. She represented Access Queens on the Sunnyside Yards Master Planning Committee. A dancer since childhood, Ms. Orlando is an American Ballet Theatre-certified teacher who has taught at the Sunnyside Ballet Studio for 15 years.

Katherine Zink


Katherine Zink, Community organizer for victims of the December 20, 2023 Sunnyside fire. “Even though Katherine didn’t live in the apartment building that was impacted by the fire, she has stepped up to help the tenants. She’s helped care for the people, the dogs and the cats and all of the animals, and just everything and beyond,” said Council Member Won. “When we put up an online post asking for people to help move boxes for families being forced to move out of their apartments, she was the first one to show up. And then she proceeded to come help out every time a family moved. We ended up appointing her as manager of the whole moving process. She did this entirely on a volunteer basis.”

Fanny Chang

Fanny Chang. Community organizer for victims of the December 20, 2023 Sunnyside fire. “Fanny is an amazing volunteer, and we are just so grateful for what she has done,” said Council Member Won. “She volunteered her time every day to drive residents of the Sunnyside fire to their storage units and to family members’ apartments, and she helped pick up food for residents and volunteers on days the residents were moving out. We are so amazed by the selfless dedication and the sacrifice of all the women who are always willing to do everything they can and give everything they have. We’re so grateful for Fanny.”

Julie Broad. In December and January, Julie, who was unable to attend the “Celebrating the Women of Queens” event, dedicated her time to supporting residents impacted by the Sunnyside fire. “Not only did she coordinate volunteer drivers to assist with move outs, but she also helped people transport their belongings to their storage units. Julie has been essential in helping our office bring donations to families in need—dropping off necessities at food pantries so that newly arrived families can get winter clothing, socks, and coats,” said Council Member Julie Won. “Julie’s selfless dedication to the community shines through in so many impactful ways.”

This annual tradition began in 2010, when former Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan hosted the first event with LaGuardia Community College. When Assemblywoman Nolan stepped down in 2022 after representing western Queens for 38 years, Council Member Won picked up the torch to recognize women working to empower and enrich their communities.

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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