• Meet the Mentors

    The Student Success Mentors (SSMs) facilitate the FYS Studio Hour. They are either current students at LaGuardia, or LaGuardia alumni who have transferred to four-year colleges. Learn more about them, their experiences and what motivated them to become mentors by clicking on each mentor’s biography below. You can also contact them via email.

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    Abdoulie Ceesay


    Abdoulie is from Dakar, Senegal, where he resided for nearly eight years before moving to The Gambia. He grew up in The Gambia, where he learned about faith, dedication, and compassion in a small community. These characteristics shaped his youth and have brought him to where he is now. He has always valued his educational experiences as a Computer Science major and first-generation college student, knowing that they will lead him to a brighter future. In the face of adversity, he recognizes the significance of resilience. Despite the challenges he has faced, Abdoulie encourages himself and his peers that a brighter future is possible if one is willing to fbe passionate and empathetic. As an SSM, he strives to help students enjoy their time without worrying in order to focus on learning to help secure their future and understanding school as a friendly place full of opportunities.
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    Adrian Gray

    Adrian Gray has been a LaGuardia student since the Fall 2019 semester. He is currently studying to earn an A.S. in Fine Arts Design Studies from LaGuardia Community College. Upon graduating, he hopes to continue his education at The Pratt Institute. Although it took a while for him to return to college, he supports the pursuit of higher education. It is this affinity for academia that has guided him to the SSM program, where he seeks to help first-year peers navigate college life.
    Agim Hoti

    Agim Hoti

    Agim Hoti is an international student from Kosovo, a country in South-Eastern Europe. He started studying at LaGuardia in March 2020, right before the pandemic. He studies Computer Science and is in the process of four year colleges to continue in that field. One day he hopes to be a software developer and work for one of the greatest tech companies or even create one of his own. Agim loves watching historical documentaries, cooking, and reading. He is motivated by international students and the struggles they go through in moving to America. Agim looks forward to providing support for all new students; but especially ones that just came from abroad. Agim is eager to share his own experience with students (no matter how hard or easy they were). Additionally, Agim looks forward to working with students in-person and feeling the energy of in-person interactions.
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    Akiana Smith

    Akiana Smith was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. A single mother of two, she is passionate about social justice and is majoring in Criminal Justice. At LaGuardia, she is a member of PTK, HSAC, and a Student Success Mentor. She is also a part of the Student Senate, serving as chairperson for student senators and is a part of the executive committee. She is now a President’s Society alum. Akiana intends to transfer to John Jay College to study Human Services and Community Justice and aspires to become a detention center case manager or forensic pathologist.

    Ali was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan where he completed his General Certificate of Education- Ordinary Level awarded by the Cambridge International Examinations in Pure Sciences. He then came to the United States to pursue higher education.

    Ali enrolled at LaGuardia Community College in Spring 2015 where he earned his A.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and graduated in Fall 2017. He then transferred to City College of New York to pursue his B.E. in Mechanical Engineering at the Grove School of Engineering.

    Ali’s relationships with his professors at LaGuardia helped him decide to pursue his ultimate goal, which is to earn his PhD and work as a professor.

    His ambition to help others is what initially drove him to become an SSM. Being an SSM, he expects his students to understand that education is essential, but so is college life, and connecting with one’s college community. Thus, he wants them to learn to enjoy their time as college students and get involved on campus.


    Alvaro Chavarriaga


    Alvaro Chavarriaga was born in Colombia and moved to New York in 2002. His major is Human Services-Mental Health. Alvaro describes himself as an enthusiastic and friendly person. He chose Human Services-Mental Health because he likes to help people and discovered that through this platform, he can do so much for others. He works part-time for a non-profit organization where he found his real vocation. He truly believes that by helping others we can cooperate to make a better world. In his part-time job, Alvaro helps families that are part of a Catholic Church community. Through them, he has learned to respect each culture, be patient and empathetic with each one, and above all, to give each person the importance they deserve. Alvaro says that through the Human Services career, he can change the lives of people in need; those who need someone to advocate for them.

    Anna Steto is half Greek and half Albanian and moved to New York City in 2015. She currently studies at LaGuardia Community College and is majoring in biology.

    After graduating from LaGuardia, she would like to go to Hunter College or Stony Brook University. Anna is a motivated person who likes learning about how the human body works and is passionate about working in a microbiology lab and doing research.

    She realized that she would like to go into the medical field when her grandmother died of unknown reasons. Anna, after finishing medical school, would like to be a doctor.

    She wants to improve the health system in her country and save as many lives as possible.

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    Binisha Chhetri

    Born and raised in Nepal, Binisha always wanted to explore outside Nepal. She decided to pursue her bachelor’s degree in the US where she could explore new cultures while earning a degree. She came to the US in 2018 and graduated with an associate’s degree in Civil Engineering from LaGuardia in Fall 2021. She is currently continuing her education at the City College Of New York to earn a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.

    She says that choosing LaGuardia was one of the best decisions of her life since it not only helped her succeed academically but also explore outside the classes. While at LaGuardia, she received an opportunity to work as an intern for a 10k Small Business Program- organized by Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, she was also a member of the President's Society of Environment.

    She was only able to succeed academically and get involved outside of classes because of the resources available at LaGuardia. It did however take some time for her to learn about those resources. She is immensely grateful and motivated to work as a SSM as she knows how overwhelming a new semester in a new college can be.

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    Biswas Tamang

    Biswas is an international student from Nepal and has been living and studying in New York since fall 2018. Though born in Nepal, he spent most of his life in the mesmerizing hill station of Darjeeling, India, where he did most of his schooling. Raised in the hills, Biswas is a natural adventurer and enjoys exploring places while going on hikes. Never a fan of a stagnant life, he wanted to complete his higher studies in a different place; this brought him to New York and he has been loving the diverse environment of the Big Apple ever since. He graduated from LaGuardia with an associate’s degree in Computer Science in Spring 2021. He is currently in his senior year at John Jay College of Criminal Justice studying Computer Science and Information Security.

    He believes that LaGuardia has provided him with the best student experience in his academic career. Being a freshman himself at one point, and also a former Peer advisor, he is aware of how astounding the first semester at college can be. A part of who he is today is because of LaGuardia and the invaluable experiences and opportunities he gained from there. Being an SSM, he wants to attempt giving back a small percent of all the experiences, opportunities, inclusiveness, and belongingness that he once got from LaGuardia.

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    Bryan Astudillo

    Bryan Astudillo is from Queens Ny, born and raised. His family taught him many things, two of the most important being to love and empower others with all you can. This along with his passion to know all about the body and how humans can become better, is why he is majoring in biology. The goal is to take it further and get into neuroscience. Understanding how the body functions and knowing what makes it stronger is critically important for people to stay healthy and improve their mental and physical health. There is a lot that goes on in people’s everyday lives that they don’t realize has major effects. As an SSM, Bryan is excited to hear different students' stories and lead them in the right direction. Bryan will teach students to go after what they want from life and to stand for something. That way they can get through college with full force. A big piece of advice for students to succeed in person is to stay consistent. Consistency will get you anywhere you want.
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    Cherilene Guzman

    Cherilene Guzman was born in Houston, Texas and moved to New York City in 2019 to attend pastry school. Upon graduating from the Institute of Culinary Education, her priorities shifted, and Cherilene decided to return back to school. She currently attends LaGuardia Community College and will be graduating with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts: Math and Science by the end of the 2022 fall II semester.

    Cherilene hopes to transfer to Hunter College to attain a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, and then further go on to get her doctorate in Physical Therapy. Her passion to help others has led her to pursue physical therapy and to work as a Student Success Mentor. She intends to share her experiences with her students to help guide them towards academic success.

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    Desiree Obando

    Desiree Obando is currently pursuing her associate’s degree In Human Services at LaGuardia. When the pandemic took shape, she saw it as a chance to seize an opportunity and become the best version of herself. She is actively and aggressively pursuing her degree with a 15-credit course load to complete her degree in Fall II 2021.

    Desiree is the mother of a young child and wants to set a good example for her and show her that through hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. This is what she hopes to bring to the SSM program, and to students. It doesn’t matter where or when you start, but the control over every milestone, every pause, and every finish line, begins and ends with you. She hopes the SSM program helps to strengthen her community ties to LaGuardia, sharpens her sense of service, and pay it forward while being a part of the legendary support LaGuardia is known for.
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    Devin McDonald

    Devin McDonald moved to New York City after studying abroad at Roehampton University in London, UK, where she discovered that the city life was exactly where she wanted to be. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. After graduation, she worked as the Creative Services Specialist at the Center for Employment Opportunities, an organization dedicated to assisting formerly incarcerated individuals find employment.  She then worked in the marketing department for a Broadway theatre company. Due to the pandemic, she lost her job and subsequently began her journey at LaGuardia to change to a career in nursing. Looking ahead, Devin aims to combine the entirety of her educational and professional background to work in the communications side of healthcare.

    As an SSM, Devin hopes to learn as much from her diverse peers as they learn from her. Devin’s philosophy is centered around the concept of mutual aid; we all have something to give as well as to gain, many times as unexpected contributions.
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    Farjana Priya

    Farjana Priya, born and raised in Bangladesh, is a South Asian immigrant to the United States. She has lived in New York City since 2018. She is a First-Generation College student and recently graduated from LaGuardia Community College, in Business Administration (Healthcare Management). Now, she is attending Baruch College and majoring in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Farjana wants to become an independent person who eventually can have her own business. Her passion is to do community work and help others to grow along with her.

    She likes to learn. Learning and teaching motivates her as an SSM. As a student, she understands the hardship of becoming familiar with college in the first year. She wants her students to learn to become comfortable with the college environment and get help from the college resources. If students understand time management and ask for help, they can succeed in college.
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    Gabrielle Sarrubbo

    Gabrielle is a lifelong New York State resident, and came back to college as an adult after graduating from an acting conservatory in 2015. She is currently in her final semester at LaGuardia and plans to graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts: Secondary Education, with a concentration in English.

    fter her time at LaGuardia, Gabrielle is planning to attend Queens College, where she will finish her Bachelor’s Degree in English Education for 7-12th grades. Once completed, she plans to get a Master’s Degree in Theater Education and teach English and Drama to high school students. Gabrielle loves to read, write, and analyze literature, and has a knack for connecting with kids after being a nanny for over six years. After working as an actor, Gabrielle decided to switch gears and take to the academic side of the theater craft. Starting with English is her first step, and LaGuardia has been a wonderful place to start this new chapter. Acting and performance will always be a huge part of Gabrielle’s life, and she is excited to take this passion into a classroom and help her future students figure out what they are passionate about, even if it is not literature or theater.

    Gabrielle is very excited to be a part of the SSM team, and is looking forward to using her teaching skills to connect with her peers here at LaGuardia, and help them on their academic journeys in their First Year Seminar.

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    Hazel Ortega

    Hazel Ortega was born an only child in San Salvador, El Salvador and moved to New York City when she was 12 years old. She currently lives with her mother, who she’s very close to. Since a young age, Hazel has been interested in and passionate about technology. She’s currently pursuing her Associate’s in Computer Science at LaGuardia. She plans to continue her studies in Cyber Security at John Jay. She is also interested in teaching, history, and journalism.

    LaGuardia was where Hazel wanted to start her studies. She is a committed student; always willing to help anyone. This is what she wants to bring to the SSM program; a sense of willingness to help new students. Hazel wants to incorporate her past student experiences to help students understand they are not alone in the process and most importantly, that LaGuardia is a place where students can feel like they belong and are supported with numerous college resources. Hazel works hard to be a role model for those students.
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    Ioanna Odysseos

    Ioanna Odysseos was born and raised in Cyprus. She moved to New York City at the age of 18 as an international student at LaGuardia Community College. She is studying at LaGuardia Community College for 1 and a half years and she is planning to graduate with an Associate degree in Psychology in Spring 2021. Since Fall 2020 she was elected as the treasurer of the philosophy club at LaGuardia Community College and she is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.

    After achieving her associate degree, Ioanna is planning to transfer to a four-year college within CUNY in order to achieve her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After that, she is planning to continue her studies and achieve her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Her future plans after her studies are to travel back to her home country and open her own office accepting her own patients.

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    John Griffin

    John Wesley Griffin Jr. was born, buttered, and bred in the Mississippi Delta. He moved to New York at age 5 with his brothers and sister. Growing up, John loved art and video games. As a kid, he chose a dark path and suffered violent consequences for it; never finishing high school. Because of this, he faced hardships, went to court and lost his freedom. Later on, he improved his life and decided to go to LaGuardia to study Human Services/Mental Health, where he is currently pursuing his degree. He wants to give back to the community through this field. His passion is Human Service. John’s motivation as an SSM is to show students by example that past mistakes can turn into positive career choices. As an SSM, he hopes that his students learn from his life experiences and make good decisions.
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    Kaylin Rivera (Kay)

    Kay Rivera is Puerto Rican American, non-binary and was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. They love to read and would finish 700-page books in a day. Their love for the fantasy world pushed them to start writing at 12 years old. Shortly after high school, Kay decided to go to LaGuardia to be able to explore their options. They had multiple passions, from drawing to playing guitar and even wanted to go into psychology. Liberal Arts: Social Sciences and Humanities was the perfect major.

    Due to personal reasons, Kay withdrew from classes, and feared their gap year would be permanent. However, that wasn’t the case, and now they’re soon to become a LaGuardia Alum. With their experience with LaGuardia, they made a vow to guide and help others have a great experience like they did. As an SSM, they seek to help those with resources they didn’t know about during their time at LaGuardia.
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    Kevin Alexis Vayas Torres

    Born in Ecuador, Kevin Vayas moved to New York at the age of 12. After he finished high school he did his first year of college at LaGuardia in the Fall Semester of 2015. He transferred to Queens College in 2016 to pursue a degree in Family, Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences (FNES).

    He graduated with his Bachelor’s in FNES from Queens College in Spring 2020. His original plan was to pursue a career in physical therapy, but the pandemic influenced him to reconsider. He is currently pursuing a career as a Physician’s Associate (PA).

    As a SSM, he strives to use his accumulated experience in the field to mentor new college students. He enjoys helping those with high ambitions, but perhaps have limited guidance. Kevin is ultimately thrilled to bring a new learning dynamic to the classroom.

    Kristina Graham


    Kristina Graham was born and raised in North Carolina and has now lived in Queens, NY, for over 10 years. She is currently studying Film and Television at LaGuardia Community College. Kristina hopes to continue gaining knowledge and experience in media-related fields.

    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 complexities of human emotions in particular. Kristina’s aspirations range across several disciplines, such as media, counseling, and teaching.

    However, no matter what professional directions she pursues, Kristina’s hope as an SSM is to inspire students to be both passionate about discovering one’s own talents and also compassionate about difficult journeys of self-discovery that others take.
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    Latchmie Dookie

    Latchmie Dookie is an international student studying at LaGuardia Community College. She is South Asian by descent but Guyanese by birth. She earned an associate degree in Education from the Cyril Potter College of Education in her home country. Dookie initially started her journey at LaGCC studying Psychology, however, her love for paper inspired her to take a creative risk and change her major. Dookie is currently pursuing an associate degree in Writing and Literature and hopes to complete her bachelor’s degree at Queens College. She believes we were all born with a purpose and intends to find hers.

    Dookie aims to utilize her prerequisite knowledge and experience in academia to maximize her productivity as a Student Success Mentor. She hopes to build a mutually beneficial relationship with her peers while actively enhancing their learning process.


    Latchmie Kundan


    Latchmie was born in Manhattan, however, her parents originated in Guyana. She is currently studying Secondary Education at LaGuardia Community College. She plans to further her education by receiving a scholarship to NYU, or continuing at Hunter College or Queens College. She values education because her mother told her a statement that changed her perspective. “Anyone could take away your house or the clothes on your back. One thing they can’t take away from you is your education”.

    She devoted herself to her studies and took part in the ePortfolio Scholars program, the ePortfolio Showcase and she achieved a position as an SSM. She expects to guide first year college students on the road to success by sharing experiences, tips and teaching them how to expand their horizons. She hopes her students learn as long as they put their mind to it they can make their wildest dreams come true.

    Luis De la Cruz  was born in Venezuela but he was raised in Peru. He studied accounting for about 4 years in Lima, Peru but he wasn't able to complete his major for personal reasons. At the age of 22, he moved to New York City with many aspirations and he decided to study a new major which has become his passion: Civil Engineering.

    He graduated from LaGuardia Community College where he obtained his associate's degree in the Fall 2019. Now, he will start attending City College to pursue his bachelor degree. His dream job is to work for the Department of Transportation.

    As a SSM, his enthusiasm and optimism will be valuable to help, support, and guide new students. Also, he enjoys participating in different programs in and out of LaGuardia to keep learning and meeting new people. Now, he intends to share these experiences and opportunities to make  students succeed in both their professional and personal lives.

    Luz Bueno


    Luz Bueno graduated from the Adult and Continuing Education High School Equivalency Program in Spring 2016. In Fall of 2016, she majored in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality Management. Because Luz was born in South America (Colombia), Spanish was her first language.

    The first obstacle she had to overcome was the language barrier, as well as mastering new computer skills. The first few years of her college career, Luz took all the ESL remedial courses she needed in order to move on to college-level writing. In Summer of 2017, Luz became a recipient of the Peter Jennings Fall scholarship.

    She was highly recommended from HSE Adult Continuing and education Program for her academic efforts and great GPA. In Spring 2018, she became a Student Fellow in the Adult and Continuing Education Program, where she helped educate students about Federal, State and community resources/opportunities at LaGuardia Community College.

    Through the Adult Continuing and Education Program Peer Mentor, Luz gained the necessary experience and skills to support other students. In Summer of 2019, she changed her major to Fine Arts because she wants to follow her passion for Fine Arts and receive an A.S. degree in Fine Arts. As a Student Success Mentor, Luz takes the opportunity to grow as a person, student and professional.

    Also to continue supporting students to connect with college resources and be successful in college. She does this with the hope that the students she mentors may also become peer role models to other students like them.

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    Marko Cvetkovic

    Marko Cvetkovic was born in Serbia in 1980. He moved to New York in 2012 and worked in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. He started his academic journey at LaGuardia Community College in 2021. His major is Travel, Tourism and Hospitality. After getting his associate degree, he will transfer to NY City Tech and pursue a bachelor's degree in hospitality management. His plan is to one day become an Operational Manager in the company he’s working for now.

    Marko is a vegan and is always educating people about the effect of carbon footprint and how to lower it to help the planet. Helping others in achieving their full potential is what made Marko become an SSM which is what he hopes to achieve with his students during the studio hour. “Never doubt yourself” is the one tip he hopes his students will apply in their own journey.
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    Milagros Bellido Guillen

    Milagros was born and raised in Peru. She studied for five years and earned a bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked for over five years as a lead teacher. One day, she realized she loved to work with children, but she wanted to do something else, she wanted to learn more; so, she moved to NY.

    Currently, she studies at LaGuardia and her major is Deaf Studies. She decided on this major because when she was a teacher in Peru, she had a hard-of-hearing student, and this was always interesting for her because it allowed her to see how important accessibility in a hearing world is. Also, Milagros was very excited to learn about the Deaf community.

    As an SSM, Milagros wants to share her experiences and guide new students to success in the hope that they learn during this process.
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    MD Mushfiq Ur Rahman

    MD Mushfiq Ur Rahman was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and moved to the United States at the age of 20. He is currently studying accounting at LaGuardia Community College. Mushfiq hopes that by learning accounting, he will learn many other technical skills such as being able to calculate quickly, as well as soft skills.

    He plans to graduate in Spring 2022 with an associate degree and transfer to a four-year program to complete his bachelor’s degree. He wants to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

    As an SSM, Mushfiq desires to help new students by sharing his own knowledge and experience. Also, he wants to inspire and assist new students in achieving their goals, graduating on time, and transferring to a four-year college.
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    Melisa Morgan

    Melisa Morgan is a born Jamaican who migrated to the United States to fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse. She is an extrovert who enjoys reading, watching television and doing multiple charitable events in her home country. After migrating to the US, she completed multiple certification courses such as CNA, PCT, EKG & Phlebotomy. She never pursued CNA as a career because she felt the CNA was not able to provide the necessary care and attention that the clients deserve.

    Melisa then attended Touro College where she pursued a degree in Childhood/Special Education. After completing her first year at Touro she transferred to LaGuardia where she is now pursuing an associate’s degree in Public/Community Health. Melisa plans to graduate from LaGuardia and transfer to a four year college to complete her degree and fulfill her dream: working in the health industry and helping those in the most challenging neighborhoods access healthcare and health resources to maximize their lifespan.

    Melisa plans to equip students at LaGuardia with the necessary online tools and resources they will need to make their LaGuardia experience fun and intuitive. In doing this, Melisa seeks to help students develop their time management skills and further discover and unravel their strengths and purpose.
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    Min Young Kim

    Min Young often refers to herself as a lifelong student because she has learned from various experiences in her life. One of the experiences that made a huge impact in her life is that she’s lived in different cities. She lived half of her life in Seoul, Korea, Tokyo, a small town near Dallas, TX, and currently she is living in NYC to studyi. These worldly experiences allowed her to meet so many people from different backgrounds that are so different from one another. This made her open-minded, adaptive to any hard situation, and able to learn fast to make herself comfortable in a new environment. With these rich experiences, her life goal is to support other people to thrive in their lives and make them happy.

    She has always liked problem-solving, understanding the logic for her to freely play with it. So, she has always preferred math and science classes to memorizing subjects such as history, or geography. So, after changing her major a few times, she decided on Programming and Systems at LAGCC. She also studied Video Art atBMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College) as well as Game Design at an out-of-state college. Because of this, she is passionate about graphic design as well. Her academic goal is to be a professional in both design and programming.

    Monami Nagai


    After working as a Brand Trainer, Monami realized that she needed a career change in order to fulfill her strong desire to help others. After becoming a Liberal Arts major in Spring 2018, she was able to find success as a student and find her path in life through the guidance of her professors and mentors at LaGuardia, where she graduated with High Honors in Spring 2019.

    She now attends Columbia University where she majors in Urban Studies. Eventually, Monami hopes to work in educational reform, because as a second-generation American who sometimes struggled in an education system that wasn’t made with her in mind and then as a student who thrived at LaGuardia, she knows that success comes readily when a system is designed to support you.

    As an SSM, she hopes to help new students feel supported so that they can reach their goals in the LaGuardia community.

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    Muhammad Faizan Abbasi

    Muhammad Faizan Abbasi, is a LaGuardia Community College student studying Programming and Software development. He was born and raised in Pakistan and has done his O/A-levels from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. After a few years, he moved to New York in 2020 and started his college journey at LaGuardia Community College. New York City has taught him how to be strong,independent, and how to become successful in life. Apart from being a college student, he has worked as an auto electrician and as a team member at Target. He is also part of the CUNY Research Scholar Program and is researching Outlier detection and removal in Wireless Sensor Networks.

    In his current role as an SSM, Muhammad will focus on developing student-mentor relationships to help first year students better understand themselves and become successful in their college journey.

    His goal as an SSM is to motivate students to complete their college education and to become successful individuals who are capable of Inspiring others toward a better future.
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    Nakia Sakinia Cox

    Nakia Cox is an immigrant from the beautiful island of Jamaica. After moving to the United States in 2015 she became more open minded and culturally competent. Attending LaGuardia Community College assisted in this growth as well, and it was a change she welcomed.

    She realized her dream of obtaining her degree, with the assistance of her Union. She is now completing her associate degree in Human Services and intends to pursue her bachelor’s degree in the same area.

    Nakia has always wanted to help others and hopes to effect positive and lasting change that would benefit others. As she pursues these goals, she wants to remain focused, humble and grounded; and she wants her son, and the rest of her family to be proud of the woman that she has become.
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    Nancy Meza-Torres

    Nancy was born and raised in Queens, New York but her nationality is Mexican-American. Nancy is an alum of LaGuardia Community College. She graduated from LaGuardia Community College in June 2020. Currently, she is studying Education at Queens College.

    As a first-generation college student, Nancy knows the importance of having a proper education. Therefore, Nancy wishes to become an elementary school teacher in the future. Being an SSM has given Nancy the teaching experience she needs to become a great and efficient leader to guide and educate future students.

    Nancy’s goal is to guide future students in the right direction and to graduate from LaGuardia Community College just like herself. As she knows how difficult college can be; especially for first-generation students like herself. Nancy hopes to guide as many students as she can toward graduating from LaGuardia Community College and transferring into a 4-year college.

    Rahina Yeasmeen


    Rahina Yeasmeen was born and raised in Bangladesh. She came to New York in October of 2010 with a high expectation of studying in a place where she could explore her intelligence. Being admitted at LaGuardia Community College helped her not only to pursue her ambition, but to survive and flourish.

    She graduated from LaGuardia on January 2015 with an Associate’s Degree in Accounting. She is currently studying at Baruch College to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy. She is greatly motivated to inform students about different resources and options that can help them to be more knowledgeable and skillful.

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    Rodney Ventura

    Rodney was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States when he was 5 years old. He attended LaGuardia and recently graduated with an associate degree in civil engineering. Rodney is Currently Attending City college to complete his bachelor's degree in civil engineering. His goal is to complete a master's degree in structural engineering to be able to design high rises and bridges. He has always been passionate about science, math, and structures. Unlike most students, Rodney’s first year of college wasn't the best experience. As a result of this experience, he decided to give back by becoming an SSM and help first-year students. As an SSM, his goal is to show students that it is okay to not have all the answers; that this is a process where we find our path with hard work and dedication.

    Rosa Guevara was born and raised in The Bronx. After seeing the system fail her family, she decided to become a reporter and shed light on important issues with her journalism skills.

    Currently a Journalism major, Rosa has valued each resource given to her in regards to her major. She is an active staff writer for her student newspaper, a member of LaGuardia’s Honors Internship Program, and had the opportunity to intern in the Spring of 2019 at NBC News - NBC Latino Additionally, she has done freelancing work for local newspapers and hopes to continue that at Baruch College in Business Journalism with a minor in Public Relations.

    As an SSM, she is passionate in providing the same resources that we’re once given to her. Becoming compassionate about each student's journey and using that to identify as herself.
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    Ritu Roy

    Born and raised with 2 Bangladeshi immigrant parents in New York City, Ritu studies Liberal Arts Math and Science at LaGuardia. She is planning to transfer to a 4-year program to study Math and Political Science, then striving for law school to become a lawyer.

    Through her upbringing in NYC, the arts were a dominant force in her life. As she did singing, dancing, writing, some acting in both Bengali and English. She also loves photography and fashion. The time in her high school Civic Leadership Academy, not only made her realize her love for STEM but advocating for social issues as she won the Public Advocate award in 2018.

    As an SSM, Ritu is dedicated to motivating students to realize they can achieve their goals no matter what obstacle. As an SSM, seeing her students succeed motivates her to become a better individual as well.

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    Rubina Rahman

    Rubina Rahman was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She came to the USA in 2015. She initially started her college back in 2013. However, she could not continue for some circumstances. She wants to finish her college and educate herself in order to be a role model for her daughter.

    Rubina has started her college here in LaGuardia in Fall 2018 and hopes to finish her AS in spring 2021. She is a member of the ECLC Board of Directors and Phi Theta Kappa honors society. She wants to become a CPA and wants to open her own business one day.

    When she worked as an Office Assistant in the CUNY/Math Start Program, she got to know more about students and was able to help them. As she started her new journey as an SSM and she is hoping to help students with her knowledge of what she earned as a student.


    Samantha Perez


    Samantha Perez came from the Philippines at the age of 4 and was raised all around New York City.  She is currently a Queens resident and is an avid activist in her community.

    After starting her family she continued her education and graduated with her associates from LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC) in High Honors (2019). She is currently pursuing her secondary degree in Healthcare Management at LAGCC. Doing so, will give her the opportunity to open a Wellness Center as an Art Therapist. The goal will be to have a center catering to the special needs community while being easily accessible to all demographics.

    Samantha strives to give back to her community. She was excited to apply to the SSM Program. Being an SSM will  allow her to help students access resources to better excel in their academic journey as well as learn integrative skills needed in future careers.

    Somi Ahmed was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is studying in Liberal Arts; Social Science and Humanities at LaGuardia Community College. She came to the U.S.A. in 2015, went to high school and graduated in 2017. She is a transfer student from a senior college. The reason she transferred colleges is because she did not get the motivation that she expected for the hard work that she was applying to her studies. In other words, she did not get the inspiration to keep her pushing forward. Then, she transferred to LaGuardia Community College. From the beginning to now, she worked hard and participated as much as possible. Somi participated in programs and organizations as the America Needs You Fellowship, Phi Theta Kappa, the CUNY Summer Corps, the e-Portfolio Scholars Program, the LaGuardia Library Research Contest, Asian American Voice Journal, the CUNY Service Corps- Puerto Rico, and was a Futures Initiative Leadership Fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center. Also, she has participated in tabling events for the e-Portfolio showcase and much more.

    English is Somi’s second language but the language difficulty helped her to become who she is right now. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunities she has been offered in America. Coming from Bangladesh, it was difficult for her to meet new people and blend into the community.

    However, through support and help, she was able to become a part of the community. Somi believes in working hard, never giving up and being positive in every situation. Furthermore, she will finish her associate’s degree in Liberal Arts: Social Science and Humanities this Fall 2019, and she wants to transfer to a SUNY or a private university. Finally, at the end of the day her long-term goal to become an entrepreneur in her home country in Bangladesh.

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    Talha Islam

    Born and raised in Bangladesh, Talha moved to the United States at the age of 12 with a small suitcase- full of confusion and high hopes to turn his dreams into reality. At first, adapting to a different environment was challenging for him but as time progressed, he started appreciating the diversity around him and started college at LaGuardia in Spring 2021.

    He plans on graduating with an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and, to transfer to a four-year program to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He further anticipates getting his Master’s Degree in International Marketing.

    Talha believes we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we offer. As an SSM, he desires to not be someone who walks in front of his students to tell them how he did it, but moves close by them to show what they can do.
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    Yanery Peralta

    Yanery Peralta was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. Moved to New York in 2017. She is majoring in Education Bilingual Child at LaGCC. Following her upcoming graduation in Fall 2021, she will continue her education at a four-year college where she will study to become not only a professor, but a Spanish/English interpreter.

    Her passion is service; helping others from the heart and through education. Yanery discovered her passion while attending high school that focuses on serving those most in need. High school was a significant stage in her life where she learned how comforting it is for the soul to be able to positively impact the lives of others. That is why Yanery chose this beautiful and amazing path of education.

    As an SSM, one of Yanery's main objectives is to support and guide her mentees to be successful in their academic processes and in their professional careers.